The Ultimate Guide to Vermont Fishing Licenses and Regulations (2024 Update)

Fishing in Vermont’s pristine lakes, rivers, and streams is a beloved pastime for locals and visitors alike. However, before you cast your line, it’s crucial to understand the state’s fishing licenses and regulations. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to fish legally and responsibly in Vermont in 2024.

Types of Vermont Fishing Licenses

Vermont offers several types of fishing licenses to cater to different angler needs:

  1. Resident Annual License: For Vermont residents aged 15 and older. Valid for one year from the date of purchase.
  2. Non-Resident Annual License: For non-residents aged 15 and older. Valid for one year from the date of purchase.
  3. Youth License: For both residents and non-residents under 15 years old. Youth licenses are free but required.
  4. Short-Term Licenses: Available for both residents and non-residents, these licenses are valid for 1, 3, or 7 consecutive days.
  5. Permanent License: Available for Vermont residents aged 66 and older or those with a disability. This is a one-time purchase that provides lifetime fishing privileges.

It’s important to note that a fishing license is required for all anglers, regardless of age, to fish in Vermont’s public waters.

How to Get a Fishing License in Vermont

Obtaining a fishing license in Vermont is a straightforward process with multiple options:

  1. Online: Visit the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department website to purchase your license online. You’ll receive a printable license immediately.
  2. In-Person: Licenses are available at authorized license agents throughout the state, including sporting goods stores, bait and tackle shops, and some town clerks’ offices. Find a nearby agent using the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department’s license agent locator.
  3. By Phone: Call the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department at 802-828-1190 to purchase your license over the phone.

When purchasing your license, be prepared to provide personal information such as your name, address, date of birth, and driver’s license or state ID number.

Vermont Fishing License Fees and Costs (2024)

License TypeResident FeeNon-Resident Fee

*Fees are subject to change. Always verify current costs with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.

Fishing Regulations in Vermont

To ensure sustainable fish populations and fair access for all anglers, Vermont enforces various fishing regulations:

Seasons and Limits

Fishing seasons and catch limits vary by species and waterbody. Consult the Vermont Fishing Regulations Guide for detailed information on open seasons, daily bag limits, and length restrictions for each fish species.

Bait and Tackle Restrictions

Some waters have specific bait and tackle restrictions to protect fish populations. For example, only artificial lures and flies may be used in certain trout streams. Check the regulations guide for bait and tackle rules for your target fishing spot.

Catch and Release

Vermont encourages catch and release fishing to maintain healthy fish populations. When releasing fish, handle them gently with wet hands, remove hooks quickly, and avoid touching their gills or eyes. If a fish is deeply hooked, cut the line close to the hook and release the fish with the hook in place.

Invasive Species Prevention

To prevent the spread of invasive species like zebra mussels and Eurasian watermilfoil, Vermont law requires anglers to clean, drain, and dry their boats, trailers, and fishing equipment before moving between waterbodies. Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash, not in the water.

Penalties for Fishing Without a License in Vermont

Fishing without a valid license or violating Vermont’s fishing regulations can result in fines and legal consequences. Penalties may include:

  • Fines ranging from $100 to $1,000, depending on the violation
  • Revocation of fishing privileges for a specified period or permanently
  • Confiscation of fishing equipment and catch
  • Requirement to attend a wildlife education course
  • Possible jail time for repeat or severe offenses

To avoid penalties and preserve Vermont’s fishing resources for future generations, always obtain the proper licenses and follow all regulations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I fish in Vermont state parks without a license?

No, a valid Vermont fishing license is required to fish in all public waters, including state parks. Some parks may offer additional amenities like boat rentals or shore fishing access, but a license is still necessary.

Do I need a separate license for ice fishing in Vermont?

No, your regular Vermont fishing license covers both open water and ice fishing. However, be sure to follow all ice fishing-specific regulations, such as restrictions on the number of lines and tip-ups allowed.

Are there any free fishing days in Vermont?

Yes, Vermont typically offers one or two free fishing days each year, usually in June, during which residents and non-residents can fish without a license. However, all other regulations, such as seasons, limits, and gear restrictions, still apply. Check the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department website for the current year’s free fishing dates.


Fishing in Vermont is a rewarding experience, thanks to the state’s abundant lakes, rivers, and streams teeming with diverse fish species. By understanding and following Vermont’s fishing licenses and regulations, anglers can enjoy their time on the water while contributing to the conservation of these valuable resources. As regulations may change from year to year, always review the current Vermont Fishing Regulations Guide before heading out. Happy fishing!

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