With over 808 lakes and more than 7,000 miles of streams and rivers, Vermont offers first-class fishing opportunities for anglers of all ages, interests and capabilities. There are more than 90 fish species thriving in the waters of Vermont, some of which are varieties of bass, crappies, trout, walleye, salmon and muskies. But before you plan a fishing trip you need to buy a VT fishing license. The fees collected are used for fishery management, protection and conservation education, habitat development and other related programs.
You can always buy a fishing license online through the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department's website. Once paid, you can print the license right away. It is also possible to buy a fishing license from an approved fishing license agent based in a tackle shop or outdoor sporting goods store in your area.
Fishing laws and regulations are in place to protect the fish populations and their habitat. It is quite rewarding to catch a big rainbow trout from a Vermont stream but there are rules relating to these so it is best to read current fishing laws and regulations. Also included in the set of rules are the legal bag limits, size limits and fishing seasons.
It is every angler's responsibility to contribute to the protection and conservation of fish populations and waterways. How? You can always strictly follow fishing rules and regulations, practice correct catch and release methods, catch only the fish that you will eat, mentor new anglers on ethical fishing practices and so on. By adhering to the fishing laws, you are doing your part in protecting and conserving the fish populations and waterways.
A valid fishing license is a requirement to fish in the state of Vermont. The license you purchase helps pay for fishery management efforts, habitat development and protection, fishing conservation education, and other essential state programs. But how do you buy the right one for yourself?
Purchasing a license can be a confusing thing to do. The good thing is that this guide will simplify everything just for you. So get your gears ready, read all the relevant fishing regulations in VT, and purchase a fishing license in the state of Vermont.
Here is everything that you need to know:
Who needs a Vermont Fishing License?
Any person engaged in fishing, hunting, or taking any wild animals must be appropriately licensed, except those that are covered by the state’s exemption policy. The licenses must be exhibited on demand of a state game warden or other enforcement officers, or the owner of the land on which such a person is hunting, fishing, or trapping. An electronic or digital copy of the license is acceptable.
Who is exempted from purchasing a Vermont Fishing License?
The state of Vermont gives some exemptions to specific individuals who qualify in its criteria. You do not need a license if you are:
- A child under 15 years old.
- A resident owner of land in Vermont, his or her spouse, and minor children who will take fish from a private pond within the boundary of that land without a license within a season (except if their right to obtain a permit is under suspension).
- A non-resident owner of land has equal privilege if his or her property is NOT posted (except if their right to obtain a license is under suspension). Please note that “Posted” means any signage that would lead a reasonable person to believe that hunting is prohibited on the land, except for “Safety Zone” signs.
The following persons can obtain a fishing license in the state of Vermont at no cost:
Any resident of Vermont who is serving on active duty in the armed forces of the United States or is performing, or is under orders to perform, a homeland defense or stateside contingency operation for a period of 120 or more consecutive days may obtain at no cost a hunting or fishing license or combination hunting and fishing license.
Any Vermont resident who is 66 or older may apply for and purchase a permanent license on the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department website, at an authorized license agent, at our district offices, or by mail.
Persons with Disability
The following persons with recognized disabilities are afforded privileges and can purchase a permanent license from the state of Vermont:
- A legally blind person who is a Vermont resident may apply for a free, permanent fishing license.
- A Vermont resident who is paraplegic or who is certified by a physician to have permanent severe physical mobility disability may receive free, permanent fishing, hunting, or combination license, if qualified, with the proper proof of disability.
- A Vermont resident who is a veteran of the armed forces of the United States and who is 60 percent disabled due to a service-connected disability may receive a free fishing or combination license, if qualified, upon presentation of a certificate issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Where to buy a Vermont Fishing License?
The state of Vermont offers different ways to purchase a fishing license. You can choose any of the following to purchase one for yourself or as a gift conveniently:
Buy online through the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department website. When purchasing your license online, you need to print the permit for it to be valid. The online licensing system accepts payments via Visa, Discover, or MasterCard.
You can also choose to go to district offices or authorized license agents, or you can call us at (802) 828-1190 for an agent closest to you to buy a fishing license in Vermont. Please see the list of authorized agents through the VFWD website.
What are the requirements to purchase a fishing license in Vermont?
To procure a fishing license in the state of Vermont, you must present one of the following:
- A previous or current hunting, combination, archery, or trapping license from Vermont or any state or Canadian province; or
- A certificate or a letter of proof showing satisfactory completion of approved hunter safety, archery, or trapping education course from Vermont or any other state or province; or
- A signed affidavit attesting to having prior hunting, combination, archery, or trapping license from Vermont or any other state or province.
Different Fishing Licenses available in Vermont
There are different licenses that both residents and non-residents can purchase. The cost varies on each license depending on age, duration of validity, and the residency status of the licensee. Here’s a summary:
5 Year Fishing
Youth Fishing (ages 15-17)
1 Day Fishing *
3 Day Fishing *
7 Day Fishing *
Combination (Fishing and Hunting)
5 Year Combination (Fishing and Hunting)
Youth Combination (Fishing and Hunting) (under age 18)
Permanent Licenses (66 or older)
An annual Vermont fishing license could be purchased by both residents and not residents for only $28.00 (residents) and $54.00 (non-residents). This license can be purchased by any angler who is 18 years old and over. The annual fishing license is valid from the date of purchase up until December 31. Furthermore, for hardcore anglers who feel like Vermont is the best place to catch some fish, the state offers a 5-year fishing license for both residents and non-residents. It costs $134.00 (residents) and $254.00 (non-resident).
Anglers who are younger than 18 years old but older than 14 years old can purchase a Youth fishing license for only $8.00 (residents) and $15.00 (non-residents).
If in case you are not very keen on going back to Vermont soon after your weekend trip, you can also opt to purchase one of the short-term licenses. A non-resident can purchase a 1-Day Fishing license for only $21.00. Also, a non-resident can go a week of fishing in Vermont by purchasing a 7-day fishing license for only $31.00. Meanwhile, both residents and non-residents can purchase a 3-day fishing license for only $11.00 (residents) and $23.00 (non-residents). Please note that the date indicated in the license is inclusive and consecutive.
Combination licenses, which can be used to legally participate in both hunting and fishing in the state of Vermont, can also be purchased. Combination licenses come in annual, 5-year, or youth licenses and are available to both residents and non-residents. Fees vary.
The state also sells Lifetime licenses to both resident and non-resident to allow them to fish for a lifetime. You can head to the VFWD for the application, and the fees are as follows:
- for children < 1 year old = 8x
- current adult license price;
- for children 1–15 years old = 16x current adult license price;
- for adults 16–24 years old = 31x current adult license price;
- for adults 25–64 years old = 26x current adult license price.
How to renew Permanent and Lifetime Licenses?
To continue using your permanent or lifetime license, you need to annually update them by reprinting your lifetime, permanent disability, or permanent license regardless of whether or not you used your tags. This updated license will include current year tags. You may update your license at no cost online at the VFWD website. If you are unable to go online, you can call (802) 828-1190 or go to any authorized license agent or Fish & Wildlife office. A license agent may charge you up to $1.50 for a reprint.
Who is considered as a resident in the state of Vermont?
If you have noticed, residents are afforded with discounted rates when they purchase a fishing license in Vermont. To claim residency on Vermont, he/she needs to qualify in the following requisites:
- In order to obtain resident annual licenses, a person must have lived in Vermont for the six months immediately before applying for a license and NOT claimed residence elsewhere for any other reason.
- An applicant for a resident lifetime license must have been a resident for at least 12 months or must be a dependent of a resident.
- A non-resident student who is enrolled in a high school, college, or university within the state is entitled to a resident fishing, hunting, or combination license. Please present an admission card.
Fishing Regulations in Vermont
The state of Vermont strictly implements several fishing regulations to protect its natural resources. Daily limits and possession limits are also set in place to maintain a healthy fish population in its waters. Please read up on all of these regulations in the Vermont Fishing Guide & Regulations website before fishing within the state’s jurisdiction.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the Free Fishing Day schedule in Vermont?
The second Saturday in June and the last Saturday in January are Free Fishing Days in Vermont. Residents and non-residents may fish without a license. All legal fishing methods and limits apply.
Q: Can I take fish outside state borders?
A person with a resident Vermont fishing license may take fish anywhere in the Connecticut River, subject to the regulations of Vermont and New Hampshire.