An Alabama recreational fishing license is just one type of permit you can get when planning to fish in state waters. The recreational sport fishing license is designed for fishers who plan to cast their lines for fun. There are two main types of fishing licenses for recreational anglers in Alabama: saltwater and freshwater. The saltwater permit allows you to catch fish like grouper, amberjack and tuna in the ocean. On the other hand, the freshwater license allows you to fish for species like black bass, trout and catfish in rivers, streams and lakes.
A commercial fishing license is required if you plan to fish in Alabama to make money off your catches. Furthermore, there are only freshwater commercial fishing permits available for purchase (saltwater is not an option). In addition to these types of fishing licenses, residents and visitors, alike, have even more choices to consider, like lifetime fishing licenses, spearfishing licenses and fishing permits for disabled persons. To learn more about the different fishing credentials available in Alabama, how to obtain them and the many different species you can fish, review the below sections.
Who needs a fishing license in Alabama?
Either the freshwater fishing license or the saltwater permit is required for most Alabama residents between the ages of 16 and 64. The exception to this rule is if you are fishing from a local bank in your county of residence. For example, if you can provide proof of nearby residency, you are permitted to fish locally without a license. On the other hand, if you are a visitor to Alabama, you must obtain the appropriate fishing license if you are 16 years of age, or older.
In addition, those who need fishing licenses in Alabama include commercial fisherman. Commercial fishing permits for freshwater are required if you plan to fish for profit in lakes, rivers or streams in Alabama. However, currently, there is no commercial saltwater fishing license available to those who want to catch and sell species from the ocean.
What are the requirements to get a fishing license in Alabama?
There are several requirements in place for Alabama fishing licenses. Keep in mind, these factors vary, depending on whether you are a state resident or a visitor. For instance, if you want to get a resident freshwater fishing license in Alabama, or a resident saltwater fishing license, you must provide proof of residency and age via a current Alabama driver’s license or state ID card. If you plan to obtain a commercial license, you must reside in the state for 12 months before purchasing your permit. In both of these cases, you must also prepare to pay the applicable fees.
Note that there are different fishing license requirements for senior citizens, military members and students residing in Alabama. These include the following:
- Senior citizens age 65 and older are not required to obtain residential fishing licenses in AL
- Resident active-duty military members who are home on leave can fish without a license
- Nonresident active-duty military members stationed in Alabama can obtain discounted fishing licenses
- Nonresident college students between 17 and 23 can purchase residential fishing licenses in Alabama
What are the types of fishing licenses in Alabama?
Recreational saltwater licenses and recreational freshwater fishing licenses in Alabama are just two types of fishing permits available to anglers. A list of annual fishing licenses also includes the following:
- Wildlife Heritage Licenses
- Spearfishing Licenses
- Wirebasket Licenses
- Commercial Freshwater Fishing Licenses
In addition, lifetime Alabama fishing licenses are available to dedicated hobbyists who are state residents. These include the below options:
- Lifetime Freshwater Fishing Licenses
- Resident 64 Lifetime Licenses
- Optional 65+ Freshwater Licenses
- Optional Senior Lifetime Freshwater Licenses
What types of fish can I catch with a fishing license in Alabama?
Every recreational fishing license in Alabama provides access to unique species in each location and season. Popular types of Alabama fish include the following saltwater species:
- Black drum
- Blue crab
- Blue marlin
- White trout
On the other hand, Alabama freshwater fishing license holders will have access to different types of fish, in comparison to those swimming in saltwater. With your Alabama freshwater license, you can catch the following freshwater species:
- Black bass
- Bream (sunfish)
- Freshwater eel
- Temperate bass
What types of fish require special fishing permits or tags in Alabama?
While there are no tags associated with Alabama game fishing licenses (note there are tags required for hunting other wildlife species), there are limits on certain species in place. If you are caught taking game fish beyond the legal limits in Alabama, you will be reprimanded by the state. Currently, some legal, daily limits in place, which vary in species and size, include the following:
- Black bass: 10
- White bass: 15
- Walleye: 2
- Sauger: 5
- Crappie: 30
- Bream: 50
- Alligator gar: 1
Additionally, Alabama has no limits on catching yellow perch or catfish under 34 inches. On the other hand, when it comes to closed-season sturgeon fishing, you must immediately return the species to the water upon catching, with the least amount of harm done. And, in regard to paddlefish, you are also required to release these fish with minimal harm, unless you have a special commercial harvesting permit in Alabama.
How long is a fishing license valid in Alabama?
The validity of your Alabama license to fish varies, depending on the type issued. Note the following expirations:
- A recreational fishing license is valid for one year, but all fishing licenses expire annually on August 31
- A special event fishing license in Alabama is only valid for the timeframe allotted
- A lifetime fishing license is valid for the license holder’s lifespan
How much does an Alabama fishing license cost?
Your saltwater or freshwater fishing license cost will vary greatly, according to the type of license, the length of time that it is valid, and whether any discounts apply. A price list of current Alabama fishing licenses is as follows:
- Freshwater Fishing License: $13.30
- Resident 64 Lifetime License: $13.30 for freshwater; $23.35 for saltwater
- Wildlife Heritage License: $11
- Spearfishing: $6
- Wirebasket Fishing: $6 in Coffee County, $2 in all other counties
- Lifetime Freshwater or Saltwater Fishing: Prices vary
- Optional 65+ Freshwater Fishing: $13.30
- 100% Physically Disabled Resident Freshwater Fishing License: $3
- Disabled Freshwater Fishing License Military Veteran’s Appreciation: $3.10
- Disabled Freshwater Fishing 3-Day Event License: $100
- Non-Resident College Student: $13.30
- Non-Resident Annual: Varies by state of residence
- Resident Commercial Freshwater Fishing License: $100 (non-resident prices vary)
- Saltwater Fishing License: Fees vary according to state of residence and type of fishing; prices range from $6 to $90.10
Are fishing license discounts available in Alabama?
Discounted recreational fishing licenses in Alabama are available to disabled individuals and disabled military veterans. In addition, there is an Alabama military discount available for nonresidents stationed in Alabama. However, you must have a copy of your orders of assignment to the state. Or, you can provide your military paperwork that shows AL as your current state of residency. While you cannot obtain this discount online, you can apply for your low-cost military fishing license in person, at:
- Your local probate office.
- The license commissioner’s office.
- The Marine Resource Office.
- The Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Montgomery Office.
- The Authorized Outdoor Recreation Office.
Where can I get a fishing license in Alabama?
There are three, main locations where a recreational freshwater fishing license or saltwater fishing permit in Alabama can be obtained. These include:
- Your county probate office.
- The license commissioner’s office.
- State park locations.
In addition, you can get an AL fishing license through hundreds of participating retailers in the state, including well-known locations like Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Academy Sports and Ace Hardware.
How can I replace my Alabama fishing license?
If you lose your Alabama recreational fishing license, you must replace it in order to continue fishing legally in state waters. To do so, you may visit the Alabama state licensing portal online. However, note that any voided, revoked or suspended recreational fishing licenses cannot be reprinted. And, if you possess a request for a duplicate lifetime fishing license in Alabama, be sure to follow the directions marked “lifetime license replacement.”