You need a recreational fishing license in Arizona to legally go fishing in the state’s rivers, lakes and streams. The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) issues a freshwater fishing permit to residents and non-residents who meet application qualifications. AZ commercial fishing permits are called Aquatic Wildlife Stocking Permits and must be obtained by anyone who fishes, transports or stocks aquatic wildlife in Arizona for commercial or business purposes.

Study the sections below to learn how to get a freshwater fishing license in Arizona, an aquatic wildlife stocking commercial fishing permit and several other types of Arizona fishing licenses. You will also find out how a sport fishing license can help you land a variety of fish from Arizona’s rich waterways.

Who needs a fishing license in Arizona?

AZGFD requires a recreational fishing license for all residents and non-residents 10 years of age or older fishing in any public accessible water in Arizona. Do you need a fishing license for freshwater creatures other than fish? In Arizona, a valid recreational fishing license is also required when you are catching crayfish, frogs, waterdogs and softshell turtles. Youth younger than age 10 and blind residents are not required to purchase an Arizona sport fishing license or other fishing license to fish from public accessible waters. You also do not need a game fishing license or any other Arizona fishing license to fish in a private lake, pond or tank, if you have permission from the property owner.

Other AZ recreational fishing license exemptions include those fishing in public waters on Free Fishing Day, which usually takes place on the first Saturday of National Fishing and Boating week, and anyone who is registered and participating in a fishing clinic sponsored by the AZGFD.

Arizona Fishing License Requirements

While virtually anyone can get a non-resident freshwater fishing license in AZ, residents must meet certain requirements to obtain a resident fishing license. Applicants for a resident freshwater fishing license must claim the state of Arizona as their legal, permanent residence for at least six months before applying for a fishing license. Recreational fishing license applicants who are serving in the U.S. Armed Forces and their family members are only required to be AZ residents for 30 days before applying for a fishing license.

Recreational freshwater fishing license applicants will be required to provide a valid birth date, Social Security Number or AZGFD-provided ID number at the time of application. Before issuing a game fishing license, if the residency is in question, AZGFD will consider other factors such as vehicle registrations, school enrollment and drivers licenses to help determine Arizona residency. Winter residents may not apply for a resident freshwater fishing license in Arizona if they do not meet the six-month residency requirement or if they have a fishing license in another state.

Types of Fishing Licenses in Arizona

Arizona offers recreational fishing licenses and several other types of resident and non-resident fishing licenses. Unless otherwise specified, an AZ game fishing license is valid for one year. Annual fishing licenses and special fishing licenses include:

  • Resident and non-resident general fishing license.
  • Resident and non-resident combination hunting/fishing license.
  • Youth combination hunting/fishing license (ages 10-17).
  • High Achievement Scout License.
  • Short-term combination hunting/fishing license.
  • Community fishing license.
  • Aquatic Wildlife Stocking permit.
  • Disabled veteran’s hunting/fishing combo license.

What types of fish can I catch with a fishing license in Arizona?

Use your AZ recreational fishing license to enjoy catching fish that will vary according to location and season. Popular types of Arizona fish include the following species:

  • Sunfish (redear and green)
  • Pike (walleye and northern)
  • Crappie (black and white)
  • Bass (largemouth, smallmouth, striped, white and yellow)
  • Catfish (channel, flathead, bullhead)
  • Bluegill
  • Yellow perch
  • Carp (common, white amur and grass)
  • Roundtail chub
  • Trout (rainbow, cutthroat, grayling, brown, brook, tiger, Apache and Gila)

Even when caught with a valid game fishing license, the following protected native fish must be released unharmed:

  • Colorado River pikeminnow
  • Razorback sucker
  • Humpback chub
  • Bonytail chub

What types of fish require special fishing permits or tags in Arizona?

Your sport fishing license or game fishing license may include limits on certain fish. Although Arizona used to issue trout stamps, two-pole stamps and others, the privileges of all these stamps are now part of your general fishing license. Recreational fishing license holders are responsible for learning the specific regulations and limits for each location before fishing there.

How long is a fishing license valid in Arizona?

In general, expect your Arizona recreational fishing license to expire one year from the date of issue.Certain recreational fishing licenses are issued for holder’s lifetime, while other types of sport fishing license are valid for just one day.

How much does an Arizona fishing license cost?

How much is a freshwater fishing license in AZ? Your freshwater fishing license cost varies according to your state residency and whether you are eligible for any fishing license discounts. Arizona recreational fishing license costs are as follows:

  • Resident annual general fishing: $37
  • Non-resident annual general fishing: $55
  • Resident annual combo hunting/fishing: $57
  • Non-resident annual combo hunting/fishing: $160
  • Youth annual combo hunting/fishing: $5 (resident or non-resident)
  • Resident short-term combo hunting/fishing: $15/day
  • Non-resident short-term combo hunting/fishing: $20/day
  • Community fishing: $24/day
  • Disabled veteran: $4 (if you want a hard plastic card; otherwise, no charge)
  • High Achievement Scout: $5

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Are fishing license discounts available in Arizona?

Arizona provides a discount on a recreational fishing license to certain individuals outlined on the price list above. Recipients of discounted recreational fishing licenses include 100-percent service-disabled veterans and high-achieving Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. A complimentary recreational fishing license, or Pioneer License, is issued to AZ residents age 70 or older, who have lived in the state for 25 or more consecutive years.

Where can I get a fishing license in Arizona?

You can easily obtain a recreational freshwater fishing license online by visiting the AZGFD’s website, by visiting an AZGFD office or your local fishing license dealer.

How can I replace my Arizona fishing license?

If you lose or destroy an Arizona recreational fishing license, you may replace it for a fee at any AZGFD license dealer after signing an affidavit stating that you purchased an original license. If you obtained your sport fishing license online or through an AZGFD office, you may reprint it online anytime, free of charge.