The Ultimate Guide to Getting a Pennsylvania Fishing License

Last Updated on June 2, 2023

If you’re looking to enjoy some recreational fishing in the Keystone State, then getting a Pennsylvania Fishing License is the place to start. 

With both resident and non-resident licenses available, anglers of all ages will be able to get out on the water and try their hand at catching Bass, Trout, Walleye, Catfish and other species found in Pennsylvania’s waters.

Going fishing in Pennsylvania? Then give a read to our Best Bass Fishing Lakes in Pennsylvania review.

Who Needs a Pennsylvania Fishing License 

Fishing License Pennsylvania
16+ Years Old16+ Years old

Everyone aged 16 and over who wants to fish or angle in Pennsylvania must have a valid fishing license. This license must be carried on your person while you’re fishing, and it should be presented upon request by an officer. 

Fish for Free days are the only days where you don’t need a fishing license in PA – but all other fishing regulations still apply.

Trout Permit

A Pennsylvania Trout Permit is required to fish for trout in Pennsylvania waters:

  • Taking, killing, or possessing trout from any PA or boundary waters. 
  • fishing in waters with special trout regulations.
  • fishing in Class A Wild Trout Waters and Wilderness Trout Streams, as well as their tributaries.
  • fishing in streams and rivers designated as Stocked Trout Waters between March 1st and May 31st.

Trout Season

Pennsylvania has a single opening day for Trout Season on the first Saturday in April of each year. 

Furthermore, a Mentored Youth Trout Day has been scheduled for March 25 this year.

Lake Erie and Trout/Salmon Permit

Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay, Pennsylvania

Fishing in the Pennsylvania waters of Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay and their tributaries, including the water that flows into those tributaries, requires a valid Lake Erie Permit or Combination Trout/Lake Erie Permit. 

A Combination Trout/Lake Erie Permit is necessary unless you are a lifetime fishing license holder with a valid Trout Permit, then you are exempt from this requirement.

The current Lake Erie stamp program is designed to provide funding for improved fishing access to the lake and its surrounding waterways.


Pennsylvania anglers who hold a valid fishing license are exempt from registering with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to fish in Pennsylvania’s tidal portion of the Delaware River. 

This exemption is due to an agreement between the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) and NOAA, which allows the PFBC to establish its own free registration system for applicable anglers instead. 

Bass Season PA

bass fishing

PA fishing regulations allow for bass fishing, including Largemouth, Smallmouth, and Spotted varieties, which can be fished year-round in Pennsylvania. 

However, during the second Saturday of April to the second Saturday of June, a no-harvest rule is in effect – meaning anglers must immediately release any caught bass back into the water and refrain from casting into spawning beds.

What Age Do You Need a Fishing License in PA?

All anglers over the age of 16 need a valid fishing license to fish in Pennsylvania. 

Pennsylvania Resident

Only bona fide residents are eligible for a Resident, Senior Resident or Senior Resident Lifetime license. 

To qualify as a bona fide resident, you must have a permanent residence in Pennsylvania, maintain the intention of returning here when away, and have a permanent place of abode in this state.

The “permanent home address” measure is typically used to determine residency status – so if your home is located in PA while attending college elsewhere (or vice versa), then you would still be considered a bona fide resident. 

However, when purchasing one of the aforementioned licenses at an issuing agent, proof of legal residency will be required, typically in the form of a valid PA driver’s license.

Military Personnel:

Active duty military personnel may be exempt from Pennsylvania’s fishing license requirement if they meet certain criteria. 

To qualify for the military waiver, a person must be a bona fide resident of Pennsylvania, currently on active duty, stationed outside the state, and present here on authorized leave.

Pennsylvania Non-resident

Non-residents are able to purchase licenses in Pennsylvania, but at higher prices than residents. 

How to Buy a Pennsylvania Fishing License 

Pennsylvania valley

Fishing licenses can be purchased either online or in person. Keep in mind, you will need to provide your social security number to get a license.


You can purchase your Pennsylvania fishing license online by going to, filling out the application and placing your order.

In Person

Pennsylvania has over 700 license-issuing agents where you are able to go in person to purchase your license. 

There is also the option to go into a local county treasurer’s office, or into a fish & boat commission office.

How much is a Fishing License in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Fishing License
Type of Fishing License Price
Resident Fishing License – Annual (Age 16-64)$25.47
Annual Fishing License – Senior Resident (65+)$13.22
Lifetime Senior Resident 76.97
1-Day Resident (not valid March 15–April 30)$13.22
Disabled Veterans Reduced Resident License$2.97
POW Resident Annual License $2.97
Disabled Veterans Reduced Resident LicenseFree
Annual Non-Resident$56.97
Annual Non-Resident PA Student$25.47
1-Day Tourist (not valid March 15–April 30)$29.47
3-Day Tourist $29.47
7-Day Tourist$36.97
Annual Voluntary Youth Fishing License $2.97
Mentored Youth PermitFree
Trout Permit$12.47
3-Year Senior Lifetime Trout Permit$33.47
5-Year Senior Lifetime Trout Permit$54.47
10-Year Senior Lifetime Trout Permit$106.97
Lake Erie Permit$9.97
Senior Lifetime Lake Erie Permit$9.97
Combination Trout Lake Erie Permit$18.47
Multi-Year Licenses
Type of Fishing License Price
1-Year Trout Permit$12.47
1-Year Lake Erie Permit$9.97
1-Year Combo Trout Lake Erie Permit$18.47
3-Year Resident$72.47
3-Year Non-Resident$166.97
3-Year Senior Resident$35.72
3-Year Trout Permit$33.47
3-Year Lake Erie Permit$25.97
3-Year Combo Trout Lake Erie Permit$51.47
5-Year Resident$119.47
5-Year Non-Resident$276.97
5-Year Senior Resident$58.22
5-Year Trout Permit$54.47
5-Year Lake Erie Permit$41.97
5-Year Combo Trout Lake Erie Permit$84.47
10-Year Resident$236.97
10-Year Non-Resident$551.97
10-Year Trout Permit$106.97
10-Year Lake Erie Permit$81.97
10-Year Combo Trout Lake Erie Permit$166.97

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can you fish without a license in PA?

Yes, you can fish without a license in PA if you are under the age of 16 or if it is during a free fishing day.

When can you buy a 2023 fishing license in PA?

You can buy a 2023 fishing license in PA as of December 1st, 2022.

Does Pennsylvania have a 3-day fishing license?

Yes, Pennsylvania does have a 3-day fishing license. It is called a 3-day Tourist License and can be purchased for $29.97.

What is the cost for a PA fishing license for the year?

The cost for a PA fishing license for the year is $25.47 for a resident, $13.22 for a resident senior, and $56.97 for a non-resident. 

Final Thoughts

Getting a Pennsylvania Fishing License is the first step in enjoying the abundance of fishing opportunities available throughout the Keystone State. 

With both resident and non-resident licenses available, anglers can hit the water with confidence knowing that they are following the law and providing valuable support for preserving the state’s fisheries.

Once you’ve purchased your license, be sure to download our bass fishing lures cheat sheet so you always know the best lure to throw no matter where you’re throwing it.