How to Getting Your SC Non-Resident Senior Fishing License

Are you a senior angler aged 64 or older planning a fishing trip to the beautiful state of South Carolina? Obtaining the proper fishing license is a crucial step. As a non-resident senior, you have some unique options available. In this ultimate guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to get your SC non-resident senior fishing license hassle-free, so you can confidently cast your line in the state’s premier fishing spots!

Why You Need a Fishing License in South Carolina

South Carolina requires all anglers aged 16 and older, both residents and non-residents, to possess a valid fishing license while fishing in state waters. Fishing licenses serve two key purposes:

  1. To manage and conserve fish populations for current and future generations: By requiring licenses, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) can effectively monitor fishing activities and make data-driven decisions to maintain healthy fish populations. This ensures that the state’s fisheries remain sustainable and productive for years to come.
  2. To fund conservation efforts and improve fishing access and opportunities: Revenue generated from fishing license sales directly supports SCDNR’s conservation programs, such as habitat restoration, fish stocking, and research. These efforts enhance the overall health of South Carolina’s aquatic ecosystems and provide better fishing experiences for anglers of all ages.

By purchasing a license, you directly contribute to the sustainability and enhancement of South Carolina’s fisheries. Plus, fishing without a valid license can result in fines and legal troubles, putting a damper on your fishing adventure.

Types of Non-Resident Senior Fishing Licenses

As a non-resident senior, you have two main fishing license options in South Carolina:

  • Annual Non-Resident Fishing License ($35): This license is valid for a full year from the date of purchase, allowing you to fish in all state waters for 365 days. It’s a great choice if you plan on making multiple fishing trips to South Carolina throughout the year or if you’re staying for an extended period.
  • 14-Day Non-Resident Fishing License ($11): If your South Carolina fishing adventure is more of a short-term getaway, the 14-day license might be the better option. It grants you fishing privileges for 14 consecutive days, starting from the date of purchase. This license is perfect for a single fishing trip or a two-week vacation.

Both licenses cover freshwater and saltwater fishing privileges, giving you the flexibility to explore a variety of fishing environments. It’s important to note that non-residents are not eligible for lifetime licenses in South Carolina, as those are reserved for residents only.

How to Obtain Your Non-Resident Senior Fishing License

Getting your SC non-resident senior fishing license is a breeze, thanks to several convenient options:

  1. Purchase Online: The quickest and easiest method is to buy your license through the official SCDNR website. The user-friendly platform guides you through the process, and you can print your license immediately after purchase. Be sure to save a digital copy for your records.
  2. Visit a License Vendor: If you prefer a more personal touch, SCDNR has authorized license agents throughout the state, including bait & tackle shops, sporting goods stores, and SCDNR regional offices. Use the SCDNR license vendor locator to find a location near you. These knowledgeable vendors can assist you with the purchase process and answer any questions you may have.
  3. Call SCDNR: For those who prefer to handle matters over the phone, you can purchase your license by calling SCDNR directly at 1-866-714-3611. A friendly representative will guide you through the process and ensure you have all the necessary information.

To complete your purchase, you’ll need to provide:

  • Your driver’s license or state-issued ID for proof of age and residency
  • Your Social Security Number (required by state law for license purchases)
  • Payment via credit/debit card or check

Once you have your license, be sure to keep it on you whenever you’re fishing, along with your photo ID. You can print a physical copy or opt for a digital version on your smartphone via the Go Outdoors SC mobile app, which provides convenient access to your license and regulations.

Reciprocal License Agreement with Georgia

If you already have a valid Georgia fishing license, good news! South Carolina has a reciprocal agreement that allows anglers with a GA license to fish in designated border waters between the two states without an additional SC license. These areas include:

  • All channels of the Savannah River from its mouth to the confluence of the Tugaloo and Seneca Rivers
  • The Chattooga River to the GA/NC state line
  • Hartwell Reservoir
  • Russell Reservoir
  • Thurmond Reservoir
  • All tributaries of these waters

This agreement is a fantastic opportunity for Georgia license holders to expand their fishing horizons and enjoy some of South Carolina’s prime fishing spots. However, it’s essential to always check the regulations for the specific body of water you plan to fish, as some may have additional permit requirements or specific restrictions.

Free Fishing Days in South Carolina

Twice a year, SCDNR offers free fishing days, typically around Memorial Day and July 4th. On these special days, residents and non-residents can fish without a license in all state waters, providing a unique opportunity to introduce someone new to the joys of fishing or simply enjoy a day on the water without the need for a license.

While licenses are not required during free fishing days, all other regulations, such as size and catch limits, still apply. It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with these regulations to ensure a safe and responsible fishing experience.

Key Fishing Regulations in South Carolina

Obtaining a fishing license is just the first step in ensuring a legal and enjoyable fishing experience in South Carolina. Equally important is understanding and following the state’s fishing regulations, which are designed to maintain healthy fish populations and promote fair and ethical angling practices.

SCDNR sets specific rules on:

  • Size limits: Minimum and/or maximum length requirements for keeping certain fish species
  • Catch limits: The number of fish you can legally keep per day or per trip
  • Seasons: Specific times of the year when fishing for certain species is allowed or prohibited
  • Gear restrictions: Limitations on the type of fishing equipment and methods you can use

These regulations can vary depending on the species, body of water, and time of year. For example, largemouth bass in Lake Murray have a different size limit than those in the Santee Cooper Lakes. Similarly, some species may be catch-and-release only during specific months to protect them during spawning seasons.

To stay informed and compliant, always check the SCDNR fishing regulations guide for the most current information before heading out on your fishing trip. The guide is available online and in print at license vendors and SCDNR offices. By following the regulations, you not only avoid potential fines and legal issues but also play a vital role in preserving South Carolina’s fisheries for generations to come.

Top Fishing Spots in South Carolina for Seniors

South Carolina offers a wide array of fishing opportunities for senior anglers, from serene freshwater lakes to exciting coastal adventures. Here are some of the best spots to consider for your next fishing trip:

  1. Lake Murray: Located near Columbia, this 50,000-acre reservoir is a premier destination for largemouth bass, striped bass, and crappie fishing. With numerous boat ramps, marinas, and fishing piers, Lake Murray provides easy access for anglers of all ages and abilities. The lake’s calm waters and scenic shorelines make it a perfect spot for a relaxing day of fishing.
  2. Santee Cooper Lakes: Comprising Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie, these massive lakes are known for their exceptional catfish, largemouth bass, and striped bass fishing. The lakes’ combined 170,000 acres offer ample room for exploration, and the nearby Santee State Park features accessible fishing piers and boat rentals, making it an ideal base for your fishing adventure.
  3. Myrtle Beach: For those seeking saltwater action, the piers along Myrtle Beach are a must-visit. Spots like Apache Pier and Myrtle Beach State Park Pier offer the chance to catch king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, flounder, and more, all while enjoying the ocean breeze and lively atmosphere. Many piers have senior-friendly amenities, such as benches, shelters, and nearby restrooms.
  4. Beaufort: This picturesque coastal town is surrounded by pristine saltwater estuaries and tidal creeks, providing excellent inshore fishing opportunities for redfish, speckled trout, and flounder. Beaufort’s rich history and charming downtown make it an enjoyable destination for non-fishing activities as well. Local fishing guides offer senior-friendly charters that include all necessary gear and licenses, ensuring a hassle-free experience.

When choosing your fishing spot, always prioritize safety and accessibility. Look for locations with amenities like piers, benches, shaded areas, and nearby restrooms to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Don’t hesitate to reach out to local bait shops, marinas, or fishing guides for recommendations tailored to your specific needs and preferences.


Obtaining your SC non-resident senior fishing license is a simple and worthwhile investment that grants you access to some of the finest fishing opportunities in the Southeast. By following the steps outlined in this guide and staying informed on the state’s fishing regulations, you’ll be well-prepared to create unforgettable angling memories in the Palmetto State.

Remember, your license purchase directly supports SCDNR’s conservation efforts, helping to maintain healthy fish populations and enhance fishing access for anglers of all ages. So, not only are you investing in your own fishing enjoyment, but you’re also giving back to the resources that make it all possible.

As you explore South Carolina’s diverse fishing destinations, take a moment to appreciate the natural beauty and rich aquatic life that surrounds you. Share your knowledge and passion with fellow anglers, and consider introducing someone new to the joys of fishing – after all, the only thing better than a day spent fishing is a day spent fishing with good company.

So, grab your gear, purchase your license, and get ready to cast your line in the beautiful waters of South Carolina. Tight lines and happy fishing!

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