Get Your Alabama Fishing License: Everything You Need to Know

Last Updated on June 8, 2023

Are you ready to catch bass in Alabama water? 

Before you head out, make sure to get a valid Alabama fishing license. 

There are different types of licenses available, and the price range and age requirements vary depending on what kind of license you choose. 

For those who live in Alabama, there’s also an added perk, resident prices. So be sure to check what state your driver’s license or ID was issued.

If it’s starting to seem overwhelming, don’t sweat it.

Here’s all you need to know about acquiring and using a fishing license in Alabama so that your time spent on the water is worry-free and dedicated to finding the biggest bass with the best fish finders.

Who Needs a Fishing License in Alabama

In Alabama, a valid fishing license is required for residents aged 16 to 64 who fish with rod and reel or artificial bait. 

Additionally, a license is necessary when fishing with hook and line (cane pole) outside of their county of legal residence.

This is true for both residents and non-residents. However, Alabama residents over the age of 64 can fish in the state without a license. 

Age Requirements for Alabama Fishing License

License Age RequirementResidentNon-Resident
Freshwater16-64 Years16+ Years
Saltwater16+ Years16+ Years

Alabama Resident

Maybe an image of a kid and a grandfather fishing since the min requirement is centered around age.

The minimum age requirement needed for a fishing license in Alabama is 16. 

Anyone under 16 and over 64 years old can fish without a license as long as they are state residents. 

Those Exempt From Needing an Alabama Fishing License:

  • Residents 65 and older who have a valid proof of residence and age
  • Resident landowners and their immediate family
  • Residents on military leave with adequate ID and paperwork
  • Residents fishing from the bank in their county of residence using a hook and line (live bait restricted)

Alabama Proof of Residency Requirements

  • Valid Alabama driver’s license or valid Alabama non-driver’s ID card
  • Proof of living in the state for at least 90 days
  • Social security number

To obtain a resident fishing license in Alabama, applicants must have resided continuously in the state for 90 days and possess either a valid Alabama driver’s license or valid Alabama non-driver’s ID card. 

In addition, they must provide proof of residency, such as a Social Security number.

Military Discount on Alabama Fishing License

Alabama offers a discount on freshwater and saltwater fishing licenses for military personnel.

In order to qualify for the resident license, the individual must show orders indicating they are stationed in Alabama for at least 30 days or present an Alabama driver’s license. 

Spouses and dependents must either be included on the orders or show proof of residency in Alabama for 90 days before submitting an application. 

Any U.S. Military Veteran with a 20% or greater disability may purchase an annual saltwater fishing license at a reduced rate as well.

All applicants must present a valid driver’s license and a valid military ID when applying.

Non-residents of Alabama

Non-residents of Alabama who are age 16 and older are also required to get an 

Alabama non-resident fishing license. The prices vary from state to state, but Non-residents can anticipate paying anywhere from $50-$70.

Saltwater Alabama Fishing License

saltwater Alabama fishing license

Both residents and non-residents need to obtain saltwater fishing licenses for specific areas in the Mississippi Sound, Mobile Bay, Bon Secour Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico. 

An Alabama Saltwater Fishing License allows anglers to fish in saltwater. However, it is also required to register with the Saltwater Angler Registration.

The Saltwater Angler Registration is a free program that provides crucial data on recreational fishing to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. 

The registration does not provide additional privileges for anglers, but it does help the state manage and protect its aquatic resources.

Alabama Saltwater Fishing License for Residents

The process for obtaining a saltwater fishing license for residents is essentially the same as it is for freshwater fishing.

To obtain an Alabama Saltwater Fishing License for resident anglers, you must provide proof of residency, complete a brief application form, and submit payment. 

Alabama Saltwater Fishing License for Non-residents

Non-residents of Alabama are required to obtain an Alabama Saltwater Fishing License in order to legally fish within the state. 

Saltwater License Exemptions

If you’re fishing off an Alabama saltwater charter, you won’t need to buy a separate fishing license since the boat has a valid license that covers everyone on board. 

How to Buy an Alabama Fishing License

Before you purchase your license, remember annual licenses in Alabama expire on August 31st every year, and it may not be beneficial to purchase an annual license in July, for example.

Thankfully, though there are not only multiple license options, they are also easy to come by, and are available both online to print out instantly, or from popular retailers.  


Use the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources online sales system to instantly purchase and print your hunting and fishing licenses.

Both residents and non-residents are able to purchase all fishing licenses online, in one place.

Local Retailer

If purchasing your license online isn’t an option, you can also purchase a license in person.

You can walk into any license agent, county probate office, license commissioner’s office, any state-registered bait and tackle store, or certified retailer such as: 

  • Walmart 
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods 
  • Academy Sports 
  • Ace Hardware

When buying from a local retailer you must present your driver’s license (if over 16 years of age). 

How Much Does an Alabama Fishing License Cost 

Alabama Residential LicenseFreshwaterSaltwater
Lifetime License$319.65$447.10
Annual License$15.05$26.50
Daily Permit$3.00N/A
7-Day TripN/A$11.00
Reef Fish EndorsementN/A$10

Alabama fishing licenses can either be purchased individually or in a package, with a combination of different licenses included altogether.

One of the most popular packages is the All Access Fishing Package, which includes both a freshwater and saltwater license, as well as a residential Reef Fish Endorsement. 

While you can get individual licenses, Alabama primarily offers packages for anglers to choose from that range from fishing exclusive packages to offering both hunting & fishing licenses.

Current Alabama Resident Fishing License Packages, and what they include:

Fishing License PackagesPriceFeatures
All Access Fishing Package$51.55Annual freshwater license
Annual saltwater license
SW Reef Fish Endorsement
7-Day Trip Saltwater Reef Fish Package$21.00Saltwater 7-day trip 
SW Reef Fish Endorsement
Annual Saltwater Reef Fish Package$35.50Annual saltwater license
SW Reef Fish Endorsement
Annual Saltwater Pier Fishing Package$16.85Saltwater Pier Fishing License 
SW Reef fish endorsement
Saltwater SpearFishing Package$42.50Annual saltwater license
Residential spearfishing license
SW Reef Fish Endorsement

All of the above packages are also available for non-residents to purchase. Again, the prices differ for each individual state but will hover around the prices listed for residents. 

Fishing in Brackish Water

Alabama has a few brackish waterways or areas where fresh and saltwater converge, like Mobile Bay.

If you’re planning to fish in one of these locations, the department advises that you purchase both types of licenses so that you’re properly covered. 

Alabama Commercial Fishing License

  • Resident – $119.00
  • Non-Resident – Prices vary per state. Below are the current prices listed by Outdoor Alabama.
    • Florida $ 119.00
    • Georgia $ 216.00
    • Louisiana $ 541.00
    • Mississippi $ 205.29 + 32.29 per slat box
    • Missouri $ 201.00
    • Tennessee $ 1,465.00

Commercial anglers looking to fish in Alabama need a valid freshwater or saltwater commercial fishing license. Licenses for both residents and non-residents are available. 

Something to keep in mind with commercial fishing is that regulations and restrictions apply and not all public waters are open to the use of commercial fishing gear.

Additionally, this license does not allow the sale of fish. So, if you plan on selling commercial fish from public waters, you must have a wholesale or retail Fish Dealers License.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can you fish in Alabama without a license?

There are some instances where you can fish in Alabama without a license. 

You do not need a license if you are fishing in private lakes or ponds or are fishing from the bank of a body of water in your own county of residence.

Otherwise, Alabama residents aged 16 to 64 are required to have a valid fishing license in order to fish with a rod and reel or artificial bait.

How much is a 3-day non-resident fishing license in Alabama?

A 3-Day Non-Resident Fishing License in Alabama varies from state to state. However, visiting anglers can expect to pay about $33. 

Where can I fish in Alabama without a license?

You can fish in Alabama without a license if you are fishing in private lakes or ponds. You can also fish off the bank of a body of water that is located in your county of residence.

How much is a lifetime fishing license in Alabama?

A lifetime fishing license in Alabama cost $319.65 for a freshwater fishing license and $447.10 for a saltwater fishing license. 

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, getting a fishing license in Alabama is relatively easy and affordable, and it does more good than just keeping you out of trouble. 

By getting a license, you help fund educational programs that teach people how to fish sustainably. 

So do yourself and the state’s fisheries a favor, buy an Alabama fishing license before you hit the water, and download our cheatsheet, so you always know the best bait to throw, no matter what state you’re in.