Just like any state in the US, you need a fishing license if you plan on fishing in the state of Alabama. Because Alabama offers both saltwater and freshwater fishing opportunities, you must check the appropriate set of regulations for the area you intend to do the fishing.

Getting a fishing license for Alabama is quite easy. You have two options, depending on your resources. You can either go to the website of the Alabama Department of Conservation or buy a license at a license commissioner or a Department of Conservation office. Just keep in mind that all fishing licenses expire on August 31 of each year. Therefore, you need to renew it if you want to keep on fishing in the waters of Alabama.

Residents aged 16 to 64 need a fishing license while those aged 65 and above don’t need to purchase one unless they want to support the state wildlife and fisheries programs. However, they can fish if they have an Alabama driver’s license or proof of permanent residence.

Depending on your needs, you have the possibility to purchase all time, annual or daily fishing licenses. A basic State of Alabama resident freshwater permit costs $ 13.30. If you want to fish in saltwater areas, you’ll pay $ 23.35. You can save some money if you opt for a lifetime license privilege that includes the privileges of the Wildlife Heritage License.

For saltwater fishing, you’ll need a different license, and there are different types of saltwater permits to choose from. The saltwater license is required for cast netting, flounder gigging, and for recreational crab traps.

There are some prohibited acts that you must be aware of if you want to enjoy your fishing activity in safe conditions:


  • You’re not allowed to fish in public waters or public lands without having the owner’s permission. The same rule applies to private waters.
  • It is illegal to take, catch or kill as well as attempting to take, catch or kill any type of game fish by using other means that the regular ones such as hook and line, artificial lure, live bait, troll or spinner. You are prohibited to use any electrical devices, explosives, poisons or firearms for fishing any species from the public waters of Alabama.
  • Before preparing for fishing, you need to get familiarized with the rules and regulations that apply to the possession limits and size limits. There are different rules for various fish species and not all of them are the same for all public waters. If you have any questions, you can always contact any Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries Division Fisheries Biologist or Conservation Enforcement Officer.
  • It is illegal to use trotlines or snag lines, set lines, commercial fishing nets or wire baskets within one and a half mile below any lock, dam or powerhouse. Moreover, recreational fishermen that use trotlines are limited to 100 hooks in total.
  • In addition to the number of hooks, all trotlines must come with a plastic or a metal tag affixed that specifies the name of the owner, address and fishing license number.



Other fishing laws that might interest you are the following:


  • As far as wire baskets go, you can’t sell the fish taken in them. Also, you need to mark them with a valid wire basket license number and your name. You can’t own more than four wire baskets.
  • It’s illegal to fillet a fish or remove their heads while fishing as well as possessing fillets of fish while fishing in public waters. The rule doesn’t apply to the fish that is being prepared for immediate cooking and consumption if you keep the head attached.

The penalties for this unlawful acts showcased above can be in a form of a fine, jail time or suspension of the fishing license for a certain period of time.


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