Home Fishing Tips & Advice How to Get a Fishing License in Tennessee

How to Get a Fishing License in Tennessee

Are you planning a fishing trip in Tennessee? Are you looking for a day of fishing fun or to find a year-round hobby? With the range of fishing grounds available across Tennessee, you will need one of two things before you cast that line out. Any individual looking to fish in Tennessee will need to obtain a fishing license as well as a separate permit for individual fish to do so.

From annual licenses and day-passes to different ages, these licenses and permits are required to participate in a peaceful day by the water. Don’t worry, purchasing a fishing license, no matter what type, is pretty stress-free to acquire, and the best part, they can be bought online! Here’s all the information about getting our fishing license in Tennessee. 

Why Do I Need a Fishing License? 

In America, long ago, fishing licenses did not exist. State residences had free range to fish or hunt in their counties and states. There was no hassle with state officials about having the proper license, or what permits are needed for specific counties or parks. People had the freedom to fish of their own accord. 

But that all changed drastically. The growth of the population became an issue. Year by year, the population of the country was growing. Families were developing, more babies were being born, and people were migrating into the country from overseas. All the while, people saw differences in each other’s countries, fishing and hunting was a prominent similarity. Laws and regulations were placed to protect everyone.

The government started to realize with the uptick of fishing and hunting with the increasing population, lots of wildlife would be in danger. Species would become extinct. The result was to find a way to protect our wildlife, but also to encourage the sport of hunting. 

States stated to regulate hunting and fishing; because of the protection of our wildlife, it called for licenses. With this process, it was easy to know who was allowed to fish and who wasn’t. 

In Tennessee, there are agencies, like the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, which are there to protect the vast wildlife and create quality hunting and fishing for the public. A lot of these agencies are non-profits and support themselves on donations and the purchases of licenses. 

Fishing is a big sport and hobby in Tennessee. They have fishing events, high-quality fishing spots, parks, classes, kid-friendly fishing spots as well as competitions. With all these resources available, they even have a free fishing day and week. These event days are to allow any residents to fish without a license. 

Fishing in Tennessee – Who Needs a Fishing License? 

Anyone from the ages of 13 and over will need a fishing license. It doesn’t matter if you are a resident or a non-resident or if you want to just fish for the day or all year round, this is what is required. All you need is a valid driver’s license or proof of residence in the state of Tennessee, voter registration card, vehicle registration, or an I-94 record. Every Tennessee Fishing License holder may also have to acquire a permit depending on county lines and parks, or types of fish you are interested in catching. There are many to choose from.

Fishing in Tennessee – Who Doesn’t Need a Fishing License? 

Certain people may not require a fishing license to contribute to the popular past time. Anyone under the age of 13 doesn’t require a license to fish, as well as residences that catch on their land. This only qualifies for spouses and their children. Any tenants that are staying on the said land. They have a rent or free rent residence on the property in question; this also only qualifies for their spouse and children. Active Military personnel who are on official leave do not need a fishing license. These individuals must have their leave papers available if asked to present them. Lastly, any residents that were born before March 1st, 1926.

Charter Boats and Fishing Licenses

All of the charter boats that are running on Tennessee waters require licenses. They should be purchased before attending a fishing trip. The charter operators take all licenses, annual, sportsman, and day/week passes. 

Fishing Licenses for Veterans and Those in the Military

Military personnel and Veterans receive different benefits to obtain fishing licenses. Active military who are on official leave can fish for free. They must have their leave papers on them at all times, just in case a wildlife officer is to ask for them. In contrast, any individual who receives benefits from the Veteran Affairs Department receives a lifetime license for a small fee. The lifetime fishing licenses are also available for any disabled veterans. 

Fishing Licenses for the Disabled

Tennessee allows licenses where people with specific disabilities are eligible for discounted lifetime licenses. They just have to fill out the proper application to obtain their lifetime free license. The fee is a one-time payment of $10. Individuals that might have blindness as well as individuals that use wheelchairs qualify. Individuals that also qualify for the discounted benefit for fishing licenses also include any resident who suffers from any mental challenges. Any individuals that receive DVA also qualify for the lifetime fishing licenses. 

The Fishing License Application Process for Tennessee

There is a wide variety of where to purchase a fishing license in Tennessee. The most popular and easiest way is online. They can be bought on the TWRA (Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency.) There are other websites of agencies or parks that do allow licenses procured on their websites. Licenses can also be purchased through a vendor. The most popular places to apply for fishing licenses are locations like bait and tackle stores, and Walmart is available to accommodate fishing licenses, as well as County clerks.

Specialty Licenses like lifetime and disability licenses may need to be purchased in person. 

Tennessee Fishing License Fees

With all the different types of licenses, the prices vary. The prices are also different for residences, non-residents, and ages. There are many places online to inquire about price information. The best site to find out all the costs is to go to the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency or visit your local bait or Walmart stores. 

Final Thought

Tennessee has made the process of obtaining a fishing license hassle-free. They want any tourists and residences to enjoy and share in the relaxing pastime of fishing. There is a multitude of places to apply for a fishing license. With all the information pouring out of the TWRA website, there shouldn’t be any issues with obtaining a fishing license. There shouldn’t be any reason to not abide by the fishing laws of Tennessee. The TWRA is there to ensure the quality and safety of the fishing public. Be aware that at any time, Tennessee fishing regulation laws are subject to change.