How Much Is a Fishing License in Arkansas?

The cost of an Arkansas fishing license varies depending on factors like residency, age, license type, and duration. Here’s a breakdown of the most common license fees for 2024:

Resident Licenses:

  • Annual Fishing License (ages 16-65): $11.00
  • 3-Day Trip Fishing License: $7.00
  • Annual Trout Permit (added to fishing license): $10.00
  • Combination Sportsman’s License (fishing & hunting): $35.50

Non-Resident Licenses:

  • Annual Fishing License: $60.00
  • 3-Day Trip Fishing License: $30.00
  • Annual Trout Permit (added to fishing license): $20.00

Lifetime Licenses (Residents Only):

  • Lifetime Fishing License (ages 0-61): $500.00
  • Lifetime Fishing License (ages 62+): $10.50
  • Lifetime Combination Sportsman’s License: $1,000.00

It’s important to note that these prices are subject to change, so always check the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) website for the most current fees before purchasing your license.

Who Needs an Arkansas Fishing License?

In Arkansas, anyone 16 years of age or older must have a valid fishing license to fish in public waters, with a few exceptions:

  • Residents born before 1944: If you’re a resident born before 1944, you can fish without a license using a cane pole or rod and reel.
  • Fishing in a licensed “put-and-take” pay lake: These privately owned lakes have their own licensing requirements.
  • Free Fishing Days: The AGFC typically designates a few days each year when anyone can fish without a license.

If you’re assisting someone who is exempt from needing a license, like a child under 16, you’ll still need your own valid fishing license.

Types of Arkansas Fishing Licenses

Arkansas offers a variety of fishing licenses tailored to different needs and situations. Here are the main categories:

Resident vs. Non-Resident Licenses

Your residency status determines which type of license you need:

  • Resident License: If you’ve lived in Arkansas for at least 60 days immediately before buying a license, you qualify for a resident license. You’ll need to provide proof of residency, such as a driver’s license or voter registration card.
  • Non-Resident License: If you live outside of Arkansas or haven’t met the 60-day residency requirement, you’ll need a non-resident license.

Short-Term vs. Annual Licenses

Depending on how often and how long you plan to fish, you can choose between short-term and annual licenses:

  • Short-Term Licenses: If you only plan to fish for a few days, consider a 3-day trip fishing license. It’s valid for 3 consecutive days and is a cost-effective option for short fishing trips.
  • Annual Licenses: An annual fishing license is valid for one year from the date of purchase and is the best choice if you plan to fish regularly throughout the year.

Specialty Licenses and Permits

In addition to the standard fishing licenses, Arkansas offers several specialty licenses and permits:

  • Trout Permit: If you plan to fish for trout in certain designated trout waters, you’ll need to purchase a trout permit in addition to your fishing license.
  • Combination Sportsman’s License: This license combines fishing and hunting privileges into one convenient package, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy both activities.
  • Lifetime Licenses: Arkansas residents can invest in a lifetime fishing or combination sportsman’s license, providing a one-time purchase option for lifelong fishing privileges.

Where to Buy an Arkansas Fishing License

You have several convenient options for purchasing your Arkansas fishing license:

  • Online: The quickest and easiest way to get your license is through the AGFC online licensing system. You can print your license immediately after purchase or save a digital copy on your smartphone.
  • Retail Locations: Many sporting goods stores, bait shops, and Walmart locations across Arkansas sell fishing licenses. Use the AGFC license vendor locator to find a store near you.
  • AGFC Offices: You can purchase a license in person at any of the AGFC regional offices located throughout the state.

When buying a license, make sure to have a valid form of identification, like a driver’s license, and proof of residency if applying for a resident license.

Fishing License Formats and Requirements

After purchasing your Arkansas fishing license, you have a few options for carrying proof of your license while fishing:

  • Printed License: You can print a physical copy of your license to carry with you.
  • Digital License: Save a digital copy of your license on your smartphone or tablet to show as proof if requested.
  • Conservation Card: Some licenses come with a durable, credit-card-style conservation card that serves as your official license.

Regardless of the format, you must have your license readily available while fishing and present it to a wildlife officer upon request.

Consequences of Fishing Without a License

Fishing without a valid Arkansas fishing license can result in serious penalties, including:

  • Fines up to $1,000
  • Jail time up to 30 days
  • Suspension of fishing privileges
  • Confiscation of fishing equipment

To avoid these consequences and support conservation efforts, always purchase the appropriate fishing license before casting your line.

Conclusion

By understanding the costs, requirements, and options for Arkansas fishing licenses, you can ensure you’re always fishing legally and responsibly. Whether you’re a resident or visitor, investing in the appropriate license not only grants you access to The Natural State’s incredible fishing opportunities but also supports crucial conservation efforts to keep those fisheries thriving for generations to come.

So, grab your license, gear up, and get ready to make unforgettable memories on Arkansas’s beautiful waters.

Can I buy an Arkansas fishing license online?

Yes, you can easily purchase your fishing license online through the AGFC website. You’ll need a valid form of identification and proof of residency for resident licenses.

Do I need a trout permit to fish for trout in Arkansas?

Yes, if you plan to fish in designated trout waters, you’ll need to purchase a trout permit in addition to your regular fishing license.

How long is an annual fishing license valid?

An annual Arkansas fishing license is valid for one year from the date of purchase.

What happens if I lose my fishing license?

If you lose your license, you can easily reprint it from the AGFC website or visit a license vendor to purchase a replacement.

Can I fish in Arkansas without a license?

In most cases, anyone 16 years or older must have a valid fishing license to fish in Arkansas’s public waters. There are a few exceptions, such as fishing in licensed pay lakes or during Free Fishing Days.

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