To fish in Texas, just like in any other state in the U.S.A., you need a license. There are some differences that set Texas aside from other regions, and one of them consists of the individuals that are exempt from requiring a permit.

If you were born before 1931 or under the age of 17, you do not have to purchase a fishing license, but you do have to carry your ID with you, and you still have to abide by several rules. The same rules apply if you are younger than 17, or older than 65 and live in Louisiana or Oklahoma, which is to say that you do not need a license if you fall into one of these categories.

There are several license packages you may have to consider if you want to make sure that you do not break the law and make the most of your purchase. These range from year packages to one-day all-water fishing licenses. There are also permits categorized depending on the water that you will do your angling in. For example, at the time that this article was written, a saltwater package cost thirty-five dollars while a freshwater one cost thirty.

Any Texas resident on active duty in the Navy, Marines, U.S. Army, Air Force, State or National Guard, Reserves, or Coast Guard can apply for a free all-water fishing package. For more information and find out whether you are eligible for a free package or do not need any license at all, we urge you to go online and check out the official Texas Parks & Wildlife website.

Some of the prohibited acts that you may have to be aware of if you want to play it safe include the following:

  • You are not allowed to enter fish in a freshwater or saltwater fishing tournament if you have altered its length or weight in any way.
  • You cannot and may not disturb any threatened or endangered species. These refer to shovel-nosed sturgeon, paddlefish, smalltooth sawfish, and several others.
  • No marine mammals can be caught or killed.
  • You are not allowed to disturb sea turtles or their eggs. In case you happen to catch one by mistake, you are to call the Texas Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network immediately.
  • All of the fish you have caught has to be consumed or used as bait. Otherwise, it is illegal to dump it in the water or leave it to die without having one of the formerly mentioned intentions.
  • While tagging is allowed, you are prohibited from using any tracking device that can affect the well-being of any other species inhabiting the same aquatic environment.
  • If you own a land where a pond or a lake is located, you do not need a fishing license for that particular angling spot. However, if that location is a public water, you do require a permit. You may not enter privately owned waters or any land that does not belong to you with the intention of landing a catch.

Other angling laws that might be of interest to you are the following:

  • You are not allowed to use any unsecured loaded firearm in the presence of children or store it in a place where they can reach it unsupervised
  • You cannot take any wildlife resource in an amount greater than that specified on the official Texas Parks & Wildlife website
  • You should never drive a motor vehicle in a stream
  • You may not fish in private waters

The penalties for the previously mentioned unlawful acts range from fines of which the value can be from $25 to $10,000, jail time, suspension of license for as many as five years, or the forfeit of any hunting gear, firearms included.


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