Obtaining a recreational fishing license in Arkansas opens access to the exciting sport of fishing in Arkansas’ rivers, lakes and streams. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) manages the issuance of an AR freshwater fishing permit to qualifying residents and non-residents. An Arkansas commercial fishing license is available to qualifying individuals who want to fish, sell fish for profit or work as a fishing guide in Arkansas.

Keep reading to learn how to get a freshwater fishing license in Arkansas, obtain a commercial fishing permit and learn about other types of AR fishing licenses. Learn the current freshwater fishing license cost and where to get a license to start fishing in Arkansas today.

Who needs a fishing license in Arkansas?

AGFC requires a recreational fishing license for all residents and non-residents age 16 and older who catch or attempt to catch aquatic wildlife in AR, unless fishing in a licensed “put-and-take” pay lake. Do you need a fishing license for freshwater creatures other than fish? In Arkansas, a valid recreational fishing license is required for the acquisition of all aquatic wildlife, including aquatic snails, turtles, crayfish (also called crawfish or crawdads), frogs, mussels and salamanders.

Arkansas Fishing License Requirements

Nearly anyone can get a non-resident freshwater fishing license in Arkansas, but residents must qualify to obtain a lower-priced resident fishing license. Resident freshwater fishing license applicants must physically inhabit a bona fide residence in the state of Arkansas for at least 60 days before applying for a fishing license. Simply owning property in AR, but not living in it, does not qualify as resident status. Recreational fishing license applicants who fit into one of the following categories may also apply for a resident license after providing proof of full-time college enrollment or military service:

  • Resident foreign exchange students attending school outside of Arkansas.
  • Non-resident foreign exchange students attending school in Arkansas.
  • Residents attending colleges and universities outside of AR full-time.
  • Non-residents attending colleges or universities full-time in Arkansas colleges or universities.
  • Active-duty military personnel assigned to duty stations in AR.
  • Military personnel who were Arkansas residents at the time they entered service, regardless of duty station.

Types of Fishing Licenses in Arkansas

Most applicants request a resident freshwater fishing license in AR, but the state offers many types of resident, non-resident and lifetime fishing licenses. Arkansas personal and commercial fishing license types include:

  • Resident combination sportsman’s license.
  • Resident fisheries conservation license.
  • Non-resident annual fishing license.
  • Resident and non-resident 3-day trip fishing licenses, fishing guide licenses and trout permits.
  • Alligator gar fishing permit and tag.
  • Resident 3-year disability license.
  • White River Border Lakes license.
  • Commercial fisherman’s permit and sport fishing license.
  • Non-expiring lifetime resident hunting and fishing sportsman’s permit.
  • Military retiree and disabled veteran lifetime licenses.

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

An AR recreational fishing license enables you to catch the wide variety of fish in Arkansas’ waters. Contact your local AGFC office to find out which fish you can catch with your game fishing license before heading out to your favorite fishing spots. Common Arkansas fish species include the following:

  • Alligator gar
  • Black bass (largemouth, spotted, smallmouth and hybrids)
  • Smallmouth bass (meanmouth bass)
  • Rock bass (Ozark and shadow)
  • Bream (bluegill, redear, longear, warmouth and other sunfish)
  • Catfish (channel, blue, flathead)
  • Crappie (black and white)
  • Paddlefish
  • Pickerel
  • Sauger
  • Saugeye
  • Shovelnose sturgeon
  • Striped bass (hybrid stripers)
  • Trout (brown, cutthroat, brook)
  • Walleye
  • White bass

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

Your sport fishing license in Arkansas does not provide legal permission to fish for trout. Recreational fishing license holders must also obtain a trout permit to fish for trout in certain waters or to keep trout from any Arkansas body of water. AR sport fishing license trout permits are required for the tailwaters below Beaver Lake, Bull Shoals Lake, Greers Ferry Lake, Norfork Lake, Lake Greeson or areas east of Highway 59 on Spavinaw Creek. Whatever type of Arkansas game and fish fishing license you obtain, youare responsible for learning each location’s specific regulations and limits before fishing there.

How long is a fishing license valid in Arkansas?

Most Arkansas recreational fishing license types are annual licenses valid for one year from the date of purchase. Certain personal and commercial fishing permits are issued for holder’s lifetime, while other sport fishing license types are valid for other time periods.

How much does an Arkansas fishing license cost?

How much is a freshwater fishing license in Arkansas? Your commercial, trip or annual freshwater fishing license cost varies according to residency and your eligibility for fishing license discounts. Arkansas recreational fishing license costs and the commercial fishing license price are as follows:

  • Resident fisheries conservation license: $10.50
  • Combination sportsman’s license: $35.50
  • Non-resident annual fishing license: $50
  • Resident 3-day trip fishing license: $6.50
  • Non-resident 3-day trip fishing license: $16
  • Non-resident7-day trip fishing license: $25
  • Resident fishing guide license: $25
  • Non-resident fishing guide license: $150
  • Resident trout permit: $5
  • Non-resident trout permit: $12
  • Alligator gar fishing permit: Free
  • Alligator gar harvest tag: Free
  • White River Border Lakes license: $10
  • Commercial fisherman’s permit and sport fishing license: $25
  • Non-expiring lifetime resident hunting and fishing sportsman’s permit: $1,000

Related Guides

Are fishing license discounts available in Arkansas?

Arkansas provides several discounted recreational fishing license types to qualified individuals. How much is a sport fishing license if you are disabled, military or elderly? Review these sport fishing license types and contact AGFC for qualifying information:

  • Resident 3-year disability license: $10.50
  • Resident 3-year disability combination license: $35.50
  • 65-Plus Lifetime fishing license: $10.50
  • 65-Plus Lifetime combination sportsman’s license: $35.50
  • 65-Plus Lifetime trout permit: $5
  • Resident military retiree lifetime fishing license: $10.50
  • Resident military retiree lifetime combination hunting/fishing license: $35.50
  • Resident military retiree lifetime trout stamp: $5
  • Resident disabled military veteran lifetime fishing license: $1.50
  • Resident disabled military veteran lifetime combination hunting/fishing license: $3
  • Resident disabled military veteran lifetime trout stamp: $5

Where can I get a fishing license in Arkansas?

Obtain a recreational freshwater fishing license at AGFC regional offices or nature centers, some discount stores and sporting goods stores and some boat docks. You may also get your recreational fishing license by phone or online.

How can I replace my Arkansas fishing license?

If you lose or destroy an Arkansas recreational fishing license, you may reprint it online anytime, free of charge or call the numbers listed above.