California Fishing License 2024: How To Get It Easily

California presents several opportunities to go for a spectacular fishing experience. Your holidays can become more exciting as you possess a valid license to fish in all the exotic places. Moreover, the duration of the licenses is varied. Depending on the type, they may give the permit for a short period or a lifetime.

However, if you are fishing at a public site, the need for a license is not there. Therefore, get hold of a California Fishing License if you are above 16 and wish to explore the Golden State for fishing. 

Learn about different situations where you require a license and where you don’t. This content deals with all these fascinating facts about fishing in California with a valid permit.

How can you get a California Fishing License?

We share the details of obtaining the California Fishing License through this step-by-step guide. 

1: Open the official site for Sports Licensing of California here.

Open the official site

2: A new window will open as you click on “Online” from Where to Buy

click on “Online”

3: You will have to add relevant information on the page of Customer Search. If you are not a registered Customer, Create New Customer Record 

Create New Customer Record 

4: If you are a Guest Customer, you will not be required to add any specific detail. 

add any specific detail. 

5: If you are not a Guest, click on Next button after entering your DOB and Last Name. Select Official Document ID Type 

Select Official Document ID Type

6: Give the ID card number, the issuing country and click on Next. 

7: Confirm the details and complete the application process. You will get the License on your registered email id. 

Fee charges for a California fishing license

It is possible to obtain a Fishing License for one day for both residents and non-residents. 

A special 10-day license is available only for Non-Residents. However, the annual License costs less for Residents.

The fees chart for different types of California Fishing Licenses is tabulated as under. 

License TypeNon-ResidentsResidents
1-day License$19.18$19.18
2-day License$29.42$29.42
Annual License$158.25$58.58
10-Day License$58.58
Lifetime License$644.50

The cost of the Lifetime License will not be the same for all residents. It varies as per the angler’s age. 

A child below 9 years can also apply for a California Fishing License

The varied costs of the licenses are mentioned hereunder;-

License TypeCost 
Above 62 Lifetime License$644.50
40 to 61 Years Lifetime License$949.75
10 to 39 Years Lifetime License$1054.25
0 to 9 Years Lifetime License$644.50

The Spot Fishers who claim to be hardcore anglers can also apply for the Fishing Privilege Package priced at $435.50. 

The package will include the following advantages;-

  • Second-Rod stamp
  • Ocean Enhancement Stamp
  • Steelhead Report Card
  • North Coast Salmon Report Card

The state also allows you to get fishing licenses at Reduced Fees if you are 

  • Blind
  • Developmentally Disabled
  • Mobility Impaired
  • Low-income seniors
  • Recovering or Disabled Veterans

The permit allows convenient fishing in saltwater and freshwater bodies. The situations for no licenses are;-

  • Fishing on Free Fishing Days
  • Anglers below 16 years
  • Fishing on Public Piers

Children below 16 can go fishing easily, provided they possess a Report Card.  

Report Cards and Validations

The Reports Cards are of multiple types and facilitate catching some specific species. These unique permission cards are necessary to fish Sturgeon, Steelhead, and Spiny Lobster.

Besides Report Cards, another Fishing permit is in the form of Validations. There are mainly two types of Validations available. They are

Second Rod Validation

The price of this validation is $18.36 approximately. This validation ensures that the anglers get easy access to fish in the inland waters. Moreover, it allows you to use two lines or rods at the same time. 

Ocean Enhancement Validation

This validation costs around $6.74. It also includes 1-Day or 2-Day sportfishing licenses. Furthermore, this permit is valid in the southern ocean waters of Santa Barbara’s Point Arguello. 

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California Fishing License is necessary to make your fishing adventures more exciting. Invest a small amount in the License and get permission to fish as you wish. The state provides equal fishing rights to both Residents and Non-Residents, against different charges. 


From where can I buy a California Fishing License?

You can buy a California Fishing License directly from the official website or physical offices of CDFW (California Department of Fish and Wildlife). It is also available in some local stores and licensed dealers.

Is a license mandatory to possess even if I do not fish?

No, it’s not mandatory although carrying one while accompanying the kids is recommended.

What is the validity period of my fishing license?

The validity period of the fishing license is determined according to the License type. For example, a 1-day license is valid for one day. 

What to do if I lose my fishing license?

Visit the website of CDFW and apply for a replacement of the Fishing License in case of loss or theft. Extra charges are applicable.

Is cash payment acceptable for buying a Fishing License in California?

No. CDFW does not accept cash for issuing the California Fishing License. 

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