You’re planning for your next fishing trip to Alabama, and you can’t hold your excitement. But before you can do anything, you’ll have to go through the trouble of getting a fishing license.
Familiar with this feeling? Don’t worry, I’ve got your back.
In this article, I’ll discuss everything related to Alabama and its fishing license, including how and where you can get one, its requirements, and cost.
Read on for more information!
Table of Contents
Why Do You Need a Fishing License?
I know it is annoying to go through the whole process of getting a license to go fishing. Is it not your right to fish in lakes around your area? Yes, you do have the right.
However, when everyone is allowed to fish as much as they want, aquatic life becomes endangered, leading to extinction.
For example, the Chinese Paddlefish was declared extinct in 2019 due to overfishing. Moreover, the Bluefin Tuna is currently on its way to extinction because of this very reason.
This is where fishing licenses come into play. When you go out into the lakes and rivers of Alabama, you can catch and keep a limited number of fishes in a day. If you exceed that limit, you’ll have to pay huge fines (government officials have the right to fine you).
Moreover, a fishing license lets you fish only for certain species. If you catch a different one, you’re supposed to release it back into the water to avoid any fines.
Also, the revenue generated from people buying fishing licenses goes into research about aquatic life in these areas. This can help preserve the different species more effectively.
So, by purchasing a fishing license, you’re contributing and doing your part in preserving aquatic wildlife and preventing poachers from overfishing.
Who Needs a License to Fish in Alabama?
If you’re a resident of Alabama, the law is a bit easier for you. For starters, anyone below 16 or above 65 years doesn’t need a fishing permit. You’re free to head out and fish just about anywhere without worrying about getting a license.
However, you have to show proof of permanent residency within Alabama. This could be in the form of an Alabama driver’s license.
If not that, you’ll have to show an employment certificate, health insurance forms that have your address, or other legal documents that show you’re a permanent resident.
The same goes for military officials and service members who are residents. All you’ll have to do is keep proof of permanent residency, and you’re good to go.
In the case of non-residents, things are a bit stricter. For instance, anyone who’s above 16 years must have an Alabama fishing license at all times. Plus, it’s a bit pricier than it is for residents of Alabama (more on costs later).
Types of Fishing Licenses
Before I dive into how you can get an Alabama fishing permit, let’s understand its different types. It’s a tad bit complicated, but I’ll try to simplify it as much as possible.
The term freshwater refers to lakes, rivers, ponds, streams, and such. Alabama has an abundance of freshwater bodies, with 132000 miles of rivers and streams flowing through it.
The freshwater license in Alabama is purchased annually and includes privileges of the Wildlife Heritage license (permission to fish in waters protected under the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries).
This license lets you fish saltwater species in the Mobile Bay and other coastal bays of Alabama, and typically costs less than a freshwater permit. You can purchase either an annual license or one that lasts for seven days.
Public Fishing Lakes Daily License
Don’t want to spend a ton on an annual license but still want to experience the joy of fishing once or twice a year? Get yourself a PFL daily permit, which allows you to fish in any lake owned by the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.
This allows you to go spearfishing, but you’ll have to purchase either a freshwater or saltwater license along with it, depending on where you’ll do this activity.
For disabled citizens, there is a separate fishing license, for which you’ll have to show certificates of proof for your disability.
There are also other types that include licenses for commercial fishing and freshwater mussel, the latter being exceptionally costly.
How to Get an Alabama Fishing License
Deciding over where you’ll go fishing and what license you should get is the hard part. From here, it’s pretty easy.
To get your license, go ahead to your county’s probate office or license commissioner’s office.
Alternatively, you can go to Walmart (yep, you read that right) or a registered tackle shop near you. And in case you’re wondering, yes, fishing licenses from Walmart and other authorized retailers are 100% authentic and legitimate.
Upon inquiry, you’ll have to let the person in charge know what kind of license you want, the purpose behind purchasing it, and where you’re planning to go fishing.
After this, they’ll ask you to provide the required documents (usually includes your driver’s license, social security number, and proof of residency).
Next, you’ll have to fill some forms and pay the required fee. And voilà, you’re done! You’ll receive your fishing license after a few days (it’s unlikely you’ll get it on your first visit because it takes some time to process your request).
Also, if you don’t want to step outside your house, go ahead and purchase it online. Within a few clicks, you’ll be done with the whole process.
How Much Does an Alabama Fishing License Cost?
As mentioned earlier, fishing licenses in Alabama cost less for residents than for non-residents. At the time of writing, here’s how much you need to pay for different licenses under each category:
- Freshwater annual: $13.85
- Saltwater annual: $24.95
- Saltwater trip: $10.15
- PFL Daily: $6.40
- Spearfishing: $6.00
- Disabled resident freshwater: $3.05
- Disabled resident saltwater: $3.05
- Freshwater annual: $53.30
- Freshwater trip: 29.95
- Saltwater annual: $52.20
- Saltwater trip: $28.85
- PFL Daily: $7.50
- Spearfishing annual: $8.50
- Spearfishing trip: $3.50
Note: annual licenses expire on 31st August each year, and need to be renewed on 1st September. Hence, you may be fined if you’re found fishing with an expired license.
If you find the idea of buying and renewing licenses too fussy, you can get a lifetime freshwater or saltwater license. This means that you’ll have to pay and purchase it only once without renewing it every year.
Plus, it lets you fish in Alabama even if you move out of the state.
But at what cost? Well, the prices vary with age, privilege, and type of water, but I can tell you that it’s not cheap.
Visit the official website of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for more information regarding the varying costs.
Top Fishing Destinations in Alabama
So you’ve got your permit, and now you’re ready for a fun-filled fishing trip with your friends or family. But where to go?
Here are some of the top freshwater and saltwater fishing destinations in Alabama:
For catching Largemouth Bass and Sunfish, give Alabama’s largest lake, Guntersville, a visit. It’s situated between Bridgeport and Guntersville, attracting many for its scenic beauty.
Gulf State Park Pier
This 1540 feet long pier is one of the most convenient places to fish at, and also gives out legitimate fishing licenses. Hence, if you don’t have a fishing license, you can easily get a daily permit on spot and fish for a variety of species.
Here at Perdido Pass, at the mouth of the Perdido River, you can fish for several species like Redfish and Speckled Trout throughout the year. During Summers, you can plan a trip to catch Spanish Mackerel as well.
So if you live near the Florida/Alabama state line, drop by Perdido Pass for a beautiful view while fishing.
Located on the Coosa River, south of Birmingham, you can visit Lay Lake to find solitude and peace. Various sorts of Bass, Catfish, and bluegill are popular species here.
Fort Morgan Peninsula
This peninsula on Dauphin Island is great for catching King and Spanish Mackerel, Flounder, Trout, and much more. Additionally, south of Fort Morgan is Dixey Bar, a popular fishing spot, which is home to some enormous Bull Redfish.
Being Alabama’s second-largest lake, the Wheeler Lake is ideal for catching some delicious Bass and a variety of Catfish. If you happen to live near Morgan County, this is probably the best place to visit.
Issuing licenses is vital to regulate fishing within states. However, if you’re fishing on a private pond or fishing from a bank in your local county using hook and line, you don’t need a fishing license. Just make sure you have proof of residency, your driver’s license, or non-driver’s ID.
Whether you require a permit or not, be sure to follow Alabama’s fishing rules and regulations for a safe and enjoyable fishing trip.