Texas is known for its abundant waters that teem with a variety of fish populations. And since fishing is said to be a fundamental part in every Texan's life, the state is the perfect destination for anglers.

Applying for your very own Texas fishing license can be done easily. You can buy one online or from accredited resellers such as tackle shop or a local athletic store in your area. You may try your luck in the fresh or salt waters that dot the area, just make sure that you get a license for each since stamps differ from area to area. These are required for you to be able to bag a variety of marine life such as fish, clams, and the like from Texas waters.

Local rules and regulations are implemented in order to preserve fish population, marine life, and their respective habitats for future generations. Since some laws change without prior notice, it is important to check for updates regularly. The link below will walk you through everything you need to know before leaving for your trip.

All proceeds from fishing licenses are used to fund local programs that promote conservation and protection for the wildlife in the area. These projects help in the proliferation of marine life and the ecosystem. Your awareness in these efforts will help in preserving the environment for generations to come.

Texas is not only known for its world-class barbecue, but it's also one of a kind fishing destination. Bringing your top-notch tackle to reel at Lake Texoma or the Gulf of Mexico will guarantee you a remarkable and unforgettable fishing experience. All you need to do is to plan your itinerary, bring your fishing game on, and purchase a Texas fishing license. 

There are different types of fishing licenses and permits that you can choose from the state of Texas. Each of these licenses serves a specific purpose, and knowing which one is right for you is very straightforward. We have put together a quick guide for you to read so that you can get the right one for you. 

Here's everything that you need to know: 

The Basics: What permits and licenses do you need to fish in Texas? 

As already mentioned, there are different types of licenses that you can choose from to legally fish in Texas' state waters. But in general, there are only three basic types of licenses that you need: 

  1. Saltwater License - used when fishing marine and saltwater fishes across the state of Texas. 
  2. Freshwater License - used when fishing in lakes, rivers, reservoirs, and other freshwater fishing locations in Texas. 
  3. Red Drum Tag - required to keep one (1) Redfish longer than 28 inches per year. 

Who needs a fishing license in Texas? 

Now that you know what licenses and permits are needed to fish in Texas, it is also important to know who needs them. Different factors affect whether you need one or not. But the general rule is that any person who takes or attempts to take fish, mussels, clams, crayfish, or other aquatic life in the public waters of Texas must have a current Texas fishing license with the appropriate endorsement. A saltwater endorsement is required to fish in coastal waters; a freshwater endorsement is required for inland waters. Nonetheless, some exemptions apply. See below: 


A license is not required for a resident who is: 

  • under the age of 17
  • born before 1 January 1931
  • a resident with mental disabilities who participates as part of medically approved therapy
  • a person with an intellectual disability fishing under the direct supervision of a licensed angler who is either a family member or has permission from the family to take the person fishing
  • fishing during the annual Free Fishing Day (the first Saturday of June)


A license is not required for a non-resident who is: 

  • a child under the age of 17 
  • Louisiana resident 65 years of age or older who possesses a valid Louisiana Recreational Fishing License (includes Senior Fish/Hunt License)
  • Oklahoma resident 65 years of age or older
  • fishing during the annual Free Fishing Day (the first Saturday of June)

Who is considered a Texas resident? 

A Texas resident is: 

  • a person who has lived continuously in Texas for more than six months immediately before buying their license, 
  • officially documented members of the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas 
  • members of the U.S. Armed Forces (and their dependents) on "active duty" anywhere

The following documents can be used to prove a Texas residency: 

  • a current Texas homestead property tax statement
  • the most recent six months of utility bills
  • the most recent six months of paycheck receipts
  • the most recent tax return from the Internal Revenue Service
  • a statement from a parole board or probation officer stating that the person has continuously resided in Texas for the six months immediately preceding the application for a license or permit
  • a valid Texas driver's license
  • a current Texas voter registration certificate
  • a current vehicle registration issued at least six months before license or permit application

Please note that all documents must reflect the applicant's name and a physical address in Texas. Except for a valid driver's license or other state-issued identification cards, additional residency documentation is not required at the time of purchase or while fishing.

Where to buy a Texas Fishing License/Package? 

You can conveniently purchase a Texas fishing license or package from the following vendors: 

Please note that some licenses, such as boat and guide licenses, can only be purchased from the TPWD headquarters in Austin and other Law Enforcement offices. 

Different Fishing Licenses/Packages in Texas

The state of Texas has a wide array of available fishing licenses and packages that you can choose from, whether as a resident or a non-resident. The matrix below summarizes all the available licenses and packages you can purchase: 



Residents aged 17-64

Fishing package for 1 day in all waters


Freshwater fishing package


Saltwater fishing package


All-water fishing package


Fishing in all waters 1 year after purchase


Freshwater hunting and fishing combo


Saltwater hunting and fishing combo


Combo for hunting and fishing in all waters


"SuperCombo" Package


Residents and non-residents under the age of 17

Belt for exempt fishermen


Residents aged 17-64

Fishing for a day in all waters


Freshwater fishing package


Saltwater fishing package


Fishing package in all waters


65+ Residents

Freshwater fishing package


Freshwater hunting and fishing combo


Saltwater fishing package


Saltwater hunting and fishing combo


Package for fishing in all waters


Combo for hunting and fishing in all waters


"SuperCombo" Package


(not required for persons under 17 years of age)

Freshwater fishing endorsement


Saltwater fishing endorsement


Both residents and non-residents can purchase a Texas fishing license. Annual freshwater fishing, saltwater, and an all-water license are available at varying costs. A resident can buy one of the three for $30.00, $35.00, and $40.00, respectively, while a non-resident can purchase them for $58.00, $63.00, and $68.00. A one-day all-water license can also be purchased for $11.00 (resident) and $16.00 (non-resident). For more information, please read the complete guide here

Where will the money collected from licenses go? 

The money collected from the license sale in the state of Texas goes towards several conservation-related activities such as fishery and hatchery management, habitat development and protection, fish stocking programs, along with fishing and conservation education.

License Validity, Renewal, and Duplications

A Texas fishing license is valid from the date of purchase to August 31 of the same year except for: 

  • Temporary hunting and fishing licenses and packages
  • Year-from-Purchase fishing license
  • Lake Texoma fishing license

Once your license expires, you need to purchase a new one to continue fishing in Texas. If in case you lost or damaged your license, they may be replaced at any license sales location by signing an Application for Replacement License affidavit. Fees vary from $3–$10.

Unlawful Activities

In the state of Texas, the following activities are prohibited and are considered illegal: 

  • hunt or fish without a valid license, permit, and applicable endorsement(s) on your person and available for inspection by a game warden unless exempt by age, program, or a reciprocal agreement with another state.
  • Use another person’s license or tag to hunt or fish.
  • Let someone else hunt or fish with your license or tags.
  • purchase or obtain more than one of the following license types:
    1. Resident Hunting
    2. Texas Resident Active Duty Military “Super Combo” Package
    3. Youth Hunting
    4. Resident Combination Hunting and Fishing Package
    5. Senior Hunting
    6. Senior Resident Combination Hunting and Fishing Package
    7. Disabled Veteran “Super Combo”
    8. Texas Resident Active Duty Military Hunting Package - Resident “Super Combo” Package
    9. General Non-Resident Hunting
    10. Senior Resident “Super Combo” Package
    11. Non-Resident Spring Turkey Hunting

Daily Bag and Possession Limits

Statewide Regulations

The following regulations need to be observed when fishing in Texas: 

  • Statewide rules apply to all fresh public waters except locations noted in the Exceptions to Statewide Freshwater Harvest Regulations.
  • For freshwater fishes not listed, there are no statewide daily bag or length limits.
  • For saltwater finfish species caught in the fresh public waters of this state, saltwater bag, possession, and length limits apply.

Possession Limits

  • Twice the statewide daily bag limit.
  • In waterbodies where daily bag limits are more significant than the statewide daily bag, the possession limits remain twice the statewide daily bag limits: lakes Caddo, Kirby, Livingston, Palestine, Toledo Bend, and the Sabine River below Toledo Bend.
  • Fish stored by a person at their residence does not apply to their possession limit.

Please read the complete guide on the TPWD website for the daily bag limit for each species. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I use my Texas fishing license in Oklahoma?

Only Texas state residents who are 65 and older can fish in Oklahoma without buying an OK license (bring ID).

Q: When is the Free Fishing Day in 2020? 

The Free Fishing Day is scheduled for the first Saturday of June. This year, the Free Fishing Day is on June 6, 2020.

Q: How much is a Lake Texoma License? 

The Lake Texoma License, required to fish in all the waters of this lake, without an additional license, costs $12.00. Texas 65+ residents do not need this license to catch in the Oklahoma portion. This license is valid until December 31.