Can You Buy a Fishing License for Someone Else?

Do you want to buy a fishing license for your family, but don’t know about the purchasing process? Are you planning to gift a fishing license voucher to your parents as a surprise this Easter? Do you want to buy a fishing license for your spouse and kids before your next family vacation?

Well, luckily, you can buy a fishing license for someone else!

There’ll be many times in your life when you’ll want to buy a fishing license for a loved one. It could be before a vacation or when someone’s coming to visit you. If you don’t know how to buy a fishing license for another person, don’t worry! This guide will provide you with all the necessary information about purchasing a fishing license for someone else.

When it comes to buying a fishing license, you come across a lot of questions regarding the types of fishing license, the respective fee, and a particular state’s fishing license validity in other states. The process becomes even more complicated when you need to purchase a permit for someone else. All 50 states of the U.S have strict rules about issuing fishing licenses to residents and non-residents. 

You can learn more about fishing licenses and how to buy them for your friends and family in the following guide.

Why Do We Need Fishing Licenses? 

Before we move ahead with the discussion of purchasing a fishing license for someone else, you may be wondering why we even need a fishing license in the first place. Well, here’s why!

A fishing license is necessary to protect the fish population, identify poachers, and restrict illegal fishing. Fishing licenses are essential because they allow for many different things, such as the following.

  • Different states use the money generated by fishing license sales to get supplemental stocks of fish in lakes, ponds, and rivers where fish are scarce.
  • The funds are utilized to support fish habitat programs, such as cleaning ponds and lakes and removing trash from the waters.
  • A part of the fishing license sales supports research and fish surveys that determine fish health and population growth.
  • The money is also used to conduct multiple educational programs, workshops, and clinics to improve fishery skills and create awareness about sustainable fishing.
  • A large percentage of the money is used to preserve the fishing tradition by purchasing new boats to enhance your fishing experience.

Types of Fishing Licenses

There’s quite a variety of fishing licenses to choose from. Many U.S states issue licenses that allow people to catch fish and then release it back to the water. This is known as a fishing license. A permit that will enable people to hunt fish is known as a hunting license or a fish/hunt license. You can also either fish in freshwater or saltwater. Both fishing licenses are separate, which implies that you cannot use a saltwater license to fish in freshwater and vice versa. 

All states have different rules and regulations, which means that you must have that state’s fishing license in order to fish there. However, there are some states, particularly those that share water bodies, which allow you to use another state’s permit. For instance, you can use a saltwater fishing license issued in Virginia in Maryland as well.

You can pick and choose from a range of fishing licenses according to your needs. The six most popular types of permits are:

  • Annual License – requires yearly renewal.
  • 10-day License – limited to 10 days of recreational fishing.
  • One-day License – a single day tourist license primarily for non-resident individuals.
  • Three-day or Five-day License – a customized license for recreational fishing primarily for non-resident individuals on vacation. 
  • Lifetime License – available in a variety of sub-categories that include youth, adult, senior, disabled resident, and non-resident.
  • Sports License – comes as both an annual unified (yearly renewal) or a lifetime unified hunting and fishing licenses. It is designed especially for fishing sports enthusiasts. 

Can I Buy A Fishing License for Someone Else?

Yes, you can!

Now that we know the importance of a fishing license, the question under discussion is whether you can purchase a license for someone else. Almost all U.S states, barring a few exceptions which we will discuss later, allow you to buy a fishing license for someone else in the following three conditions:

  • Non-resident
  • Spouse
  • Children above 16 years

How to Buy a Fishing License as a gift for someone else

There are two methods of buying a fishing license for someone else. You can buy a fishing license either online or from any Walmart store. Online purchase of a fishing license is quite convenient, and you can buy a permit on behalf of your family and a non-resident person by providing the following personal information:

  • Licensee Name
  • Residence Address and status
  • Identification (ID, passport, green card, car license, etc.)
  • Date of birth
  • Height, weight, hair color, and eye color

Please keep in mind that you cannot buy a fishing license for someone who is a resident of the same state as you, other than your spouse and kids. As we discussed earlier, you are required to provide the residence address and status, so the online system can identify if the person is from the same state or not.

You can also buy a gift voucher for someone else instead of buying a fishing license itself. All you need to do is to provide the name of the gift’s recipient to buy a fishing license voucher.

A gift voucher isn’t an original fishing license, but it is redeemable. This means that you gift the voucher to the recipient, and they can redeem it to get a fishing license from the issuing agent. Many people prefer to buy gift vouchers for friends and family as opposed to purchasing a license for them. However, these gift vouchers are non-refundable and redeemable before their expiration date. The recipient must provide the same personal information, as discussed above, to avail a fishing license.

You can also get a free fishing license for partially disabled people (who are eligible) via an online portal or Walmart outlet.

How Much Will a Fishing License Cost?

The cost of a fishing license depends on the type of license, and it varies from one state to another. A majority of states issue licenses to residents 16 years and above, and the average cost is:

  • Individual residents between age 16 to 65 – $19
  • Discounted fee for individual residents of 66 years and above – $10
  • Single-day fishing license for both resident and non-resident – $11
  • One-year fishing license for non-resident – $40
  • Three-day tourist fishing license – $19

States Where You Can Buy A Fishing License For Someone Else

The good news is that all 50 U.S states allow you to buy a fishing license on behalf of your friends or family. However, you must fulfill a specific criterion before purchasing a license for someone else.

Here is a list of the major fishing states and their fishing license requirements:

  • Maine – If you have a freshwater fishing license for Maine, you don’t need to buy another saltwater fishing permit.
  • Massachusetts – You can buy a fishing license for both residents and non-residents for $10 only.
  • Rhode Island – The cost of a freshwater fishing license is $35 for a non-resident, which doesn’t include trout hunting. You need to pay an extra fee of $5.50 to catch a trout.
  • New Jersey and Maryland – You first need to register with a no-fee recreational marine fishing registry to fish in marine water, then you can buy a year-long freshwater license.
  • Delaware – If you are operating a boat with a valid Delaware surf fishing vehicle permit parked in the designated area, then you don’t need a fishing license. Otherwise, the fishing license costs $8.50 for residents and $20 for non-residents.


To sum up, all states require a fishing license for fishing in both freshwater and saltwater. The aim of a fishing license is to conserve the aquatic population by preventing overfishing.

If you wish to buy a fishing license for someone else, that person must be a non-resident of your state. The exception to this rule is if you want to purchase for your spouse and children. The license issuing authorities verify the address of the licensee to ensure that the individual is a non-resident. If you know all the required information, you can buy a fishing license on someone else’s behalf in just a few clicks, if you opt for online payment.

If you are traveling from Maryland to California, then you can purchase a fishing license for yourself and your family online or from the respective fishing license issuing point of contact (POC). Different categories of fishing licenses provide you the freedom to select a fishing license of your own choice according to your travel duration.  

The other option is to purchase a fishing license for someone else as a gift voucher. You can buy a fishing license gift voucher without worrying about providing all the personal information of the recipient. This saves you a lot of hassle and gives more flexibility to the recipient as well!

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