Can You Buy a Fishing License at Walmart?

Can You Buy a Fishing License at Walmart?

Before going fishing you need several things. Along with a fishing rod, bait, and hook, one of the most important things you require for a fishing trip is a fishing license. 

Unlike what you may have believed up till now, acquiring a fishing license can be easier than you think. You can easily buy a fishing license from any of the hundreds of Walmart stores across the United States. 

Walmart stores are renowned for having convenient store hours and being present in most of the localities across the nation. This makes them a great place from where many people can easily acquire a fishing license. You simply have to go to the Sports/Outdoor Section at a Walmart store and tell an employee that you wish to get a fishing license. How easy! 

There are some things you need to know that will help you understand what to expect and will make the whole process even more convenient!  

Let’s go and check it out!

Purchasing a Fishing License at a Walmart Store

Since it is feasible to buy a fishing license from many Walmart Stores nationwide, your task isn’t too complicated. However, to speed up the process you should know the following information. 

Before getting a license you need to ask yourself where you intend to fish. Fishing licenses depend on where the fishing takes place. Those with freshwater fishing licenses are only allowed to fish inland, within ponds, lakes, and rivers, whereas having a saltwater fishing license would make you eligible for fishing only in the sea or ocean. 

If you want a license for both saltwater and freshwater fishing, don’t despair. There are some states that offer an all-water fishing license, so you should check to see if your state offers this option. This is usually available for those living in coastal regions where they are near to both water body types. Thus more people in this region require a license that allows them to opt for a dual water body license.    

All-water licenses are more expensive than those for a specific water body. However they are cheaper than buying a freshwater and saltwater license individually.

It is helpful to know that there are licenses that have different term lengths. Options are available to opt for a license that is valid for either 24 hours 5 days, or even a year. There are also states that offer licenses for 5 to 6 years. It should be kept in mind that the longer your license is valid, the more expensive it is.        

To procure a fishing license at Walmart you can go to the Sports/Outdoor section and ask for an employee’s support. The employee will be happy to respond to any questions you may have. 

Why are Fishing Licenses Required? 

Fishing licenses help protect fish populations from imprudent fishing methods or overfishing. The government sanctioned restrictions on the number of fish that can be caught in a day help people understand the importance of sustainable fishing. If anyone crosses the catch limit, they can be turned in to the respected authorities under the charge of ‘poaching’.  

Fishing licenses help create a stronger sense of obligation towards a system which can fine you large sums of money if you are caught violating their regulations. This check and balance system help ensure that fishermen don’t indulge in overfishing practices.

Additionally, fishing licenses provide funding to marine life research and different wildlife departments. They also finance the management aspects such as the number of fish maintained in a lake or fishery. 

Who Should Buy a Fishing License?  

Anyone who wants to do fishing in the United States is required to purchase a fishing license as it is illegal to fish without a license across the country. 

With that said, there are however certain exceptions to who need a fishing license. These licenses are not required to those over the age of 65, and under the age of 17 (though in some states, the minimum age for a license is 16). Additionally, veterans or those with disabilities don’t need a license to fish. 

It is interesting to know that there are three free fishing days each year where even those who don’t have licenses are allowed to fish. 

The Cost of Purchasing a Fishing License at Walmart 

Walmart stores include a processing fee when they offer a price for a fishing license. That’s why the fees they list are about 50 cents higher than the licenses available at other places. 

The price of a fishing license depends on the applicant’s age, location, whether they are a resident of the state, term validity, whether the license is an original or a duplicate, and so on. Here are some estimated figures to get an idea regarding what fishing licenses cost.

  • Residents between 16 to 65 years of age — $19  
  • Residents aged more than 66 years — $10
  • Duplicate license (if original is lost through theft, destruction, misplacement) – $4 
  • Three-day validity for tourists – $19
  • One-day license for residents and non-residents — $11
  • Non-resident yearlong license – $40 

As you can see, the price for fishing licenses varies, but residents can expect to pay from $10 to $50.

How much time does it take to get a Fishing License?

The time taken to process your license request varies based on the particular Walmart store you go to, the staff that are present there, and the type of license that you wish to acquire. It might take a day or two, or maybe even a week or more. There is no way to be absolutely certain. So if you’re planning to take a fishing trip, it would be a good idea that you don’t wait until the last minute to get your license. 

If you have a smaller time frame to get a fishing license, it would be better if you get one from somewhere else. 

Ways to Obtain a Walmart Fishing License

To make the process more accessible and convenient for the population at large, the Walmart stores offer many options for people to get fishing licenses. 

  1. A Store Visit: a quick run to a Walmart store can be a fast way to attaining a fishing license. As mentioned before there are many stores around, so you just have to pick the one nearest to you. Don’t forget to take some authentic means of identification and proof of residency! 
  2. Online Application: If you don’t have the time to head over to a store, that’s perfectly fine! Fishing licenses can be obtained from the online Walmart portal. It should be noted that though this is a convenient way to get a license, the online method is a little slow as it needs processing time to verify the authenticity of your documents. You can use your credit or debit cards to make the online payment for your fishing license and get the receipt printed out.
  3. Through the Phone: certain states offer the convenience of procuring a license via phone call. You can share your personal information details along with bank information in a phone call with a Walmart representative.
  4. Via Snail Mail: the postal service conveniently presents the choice of purchasing a fishing license through mail. 

Things Needed to Purchase a Fishing License

Walmart needs some proof of identity before they can sanction your request for a fishing license. Here are some things that you might require for the process:

  • State issued ID
  • Proof of residency (whether you’re a resident or a non-resident)
  • Photo identification

Some Points to Keep in Mind

Before going on a fishing trip, it is important that you remember the following

  • When going fishing in a group, each member of the party must be carrying a valid fishing license.
  • Avoid littering or causing any pollution that would inevitably degrade the surroundings
  • Respect the locals
  • Follow the instructions detailed in the rule booklet that you get during license purchase
  • Always carry a first aid box, and act responsibly to prevent any mishap. It helps to know how to administer first aid if any mishap occurs
  • Refer to the weather forecast before heading out. Fishing in dangerous weather conditions can be life threatening

Owning a fishing license should make you more aware of the potency of your actions, so it is crucial that you follow the guidelines in order to have a safe experience.  

States that Offer Fishing Licenses at Walmart

AlabamaFloridaKentuckyMissouriNorth CarolaSouth Dakota
AlaskaGeorgiaLouisianaMontanaNorth DakotaTennessee
CaliforniaIllinoisMassachusettsNew HampshireOregonVermont
ColoradoIndianaMichiganNew JerseyPennsylvaniaVirginia
ConnecticutIowaMinnesotaNew MexicoRhode IslandWashington
DelawareKansasMississippiNew YorkSouth CarolinaWest Virginia

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I need to clear a test in order to get a fishing license?

No. There is no test requirement to get a fishing license, however it is important that license holders go through the fishing rules and regulations booklet that they will receive on the purchase of a license. The booklet gives detailed instructions on where fishing is permitted, what time is right to fish, how many fish can be caught at one time, and many other rules besides. 

Do I need to renew my Fishing License? 

The law states that fishing licenses expire at the end of each year (on 31st December). Thus, it is important to renew licenses before they are void. Those who fish with expired licenses have to pay a hefty fine, or even risk jail-time.  

Tourist licenses expire after the end of the specified time duration and don’t need to be renewed.

Walmart offers renewal services to customers. To get your license renewed, you simply have to go to a Walmart store with your expired permit and a valid ID in order to get your request processed by the staff. 

Where can I fish without a license?

There are three instances where you don’t need a fishing license while going fishing:

  1. While fishing in a licensed preserve
  2. Native Americans who live on reservation land don’t need licenses to fish on them
  3. On the annual free fishing weekend

Which state has the lowest Fishing License Price?

The state of Delaware has the lowest rate, where it offers non-residents an annual fishing license that costs around $22.50. Alaska has the highest rate, as the same fishing license has to be purchased for $145. 

What to do if you don’t have a Social Security Number?  

For those who don’t have an SSN, in order to obtain a fishing license they must hand in a statement by the social security administration asserting the same.   

Can I get a fishing license at any time of the day?

Not necessarily. Though Walmart stores have convenient opening timings, you still need to make sure you visit a store when you know there will be a Sports/Outdoors section employee available. Due to limited staff availability there is no guarantee that you’ll be able to obtain a fishing license at late hours. 

Since you need a Walmart employee to get a fishing license, it is best that you go at a time when you know there is one present at the Outdoors department. 


Fishing is one of the most exciting recreational sports and there are thousands of people who go to different water bodies across the nation to enjoy this sport. In order to maximize their enjoyment, and go about fishing in a responsible and sustainable way, it is important to purchase a valid fishing license. 

The task of obtaining such a license has been made significantly easier in recent years as Walmart stores across different states offer to sell licenses in exchange for a nominal fee. Walmart has made fishing licenses readily available and significantly more accessible to fishing fanatics across the nation, though it is always a good idea to check the time and store you choose to go.  

I hope this guide helps you purchase a fishing license, so you too can frequent the fishing spot nearest to you! 

Happy catching!   

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