Obtaining a Texas Saltwater Fishing License: A Comprehensive Guide

Fishing the salty waters of the Texas Gulf Coast offers anglers access to incredible game fish like spotted seatrout, redfish, and flounder. However, to legally fish public saltwater areas in Texas, anglers age 17 and older must have a valid fishing license with a saltwater endorsement from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know, from license types and costs to purchasing options and key regulations.

Overview of Texas Saltwater Fishing Licenses

Texas offers a variety of annual and temporary saltwater fishing licenses for both residents and non-residents.

  • Resident Saltwater Package: $35. Covers fishing in fresh and saltwater.
  • All-Water Package: $63. Allows fishing in fresh and saltwater, plus hunting licenses.
  • Non-resident saltwater package: $58. For those living out of state,.
  • One-Day All-Water License: $16. Temporary 24-hour access.

With any of these base licenses, you’ll also need:

  • Saltwater Endorsement: $10. Required in addition to a fishing license to access coastal waters.
  • Stamps: Additional based on activities like trout fishing or catching tuna.

There are also specialty licenses, including:

  • Year-from-Purchase Licenses: Valid from the day purchased rather than the annual license term.
  • Lifetime Licenses: one-time purchase, no renewal needed. Costs vary based on age.
  • 65+ Licenses: Reduced rates for senior residents. Includes saltwater access.

See the full license options and fees on the TPWD site.

Purchasing a Texas Saltwater Fishing License

Saltwater fishing licenses can be obtained:

Online

The quickest way is to purchase digital licenses on the TPWD website. You’ll gain instant access to a PDF license on your phone or computer.

By Phone

Call 1-800-895-4248 to make a purchase over the phone. TPWD staff can also answer questions on licenses, regulations, and application requirements.

In Person

Visit a local retailer, like bait and tackle shops, sporting goods stores, or large retailers like Walmart and Academy. Some TPWD law enforcement offices also sell licenses.

When purchasing in person, you’ll receive a physical license. For saltwater fishing, you also need to carry a valid ID, like a driver’s license.

Key Saltwater Fishing Regulations

When fishing in Texas coastal waters, key regulations cover:

Species Size and Bag Limits

Limits help conserve fish populations. Regulations cover:

  • Minimum size, e.g. a spotted seatrout, must be 15–20 inches
  • Bag limits: e.g. 5 trout per day

See the full saltwater size and bag limits here.

Required Gear

Some devices aid in conservation. For example, anglers must:

  • Use non-stainless steel circle hooks when fishing for reef fish
  • Carry descending devices to safely release reef fish from depth

See the required gear for saltwater fishing.

Boundary Waters

Special regulations cover “boundary waters” along state borders, like the Sabine River. Common rules include:

  • Reciprocity agreements allowing license usage across state lines
  • Requirements to comply with the regulations of the respective state fished

See boundary water regulations here.

Changes Coming in 2023-2024

Proposed regulation changes for the 2023–2024 season impacting saltwater anglers include:

  • Increased minimum size on Spotted Seatrout (known as Speckled Trout) to 17 inches
  • Potential changes to bag limits for sharks

Follow TPWD news to stay updated.

Assistance and Additional Resources

For licensing assistance or questions on regulations, contact TPWD:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 1-800-792-1112

In person: Visit any of the TPWD law enforcement field offices near coastal regions.

The TPWD website also contains extensive information on Texas fishing, including:

So don’t miss out on amazing saltwater fishing in Texas. Just be sure to get the proper license, know the rules, and help conserve fisheries for the future. Tight lines!

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