Fishing Regulations in Florida

Last Updated: 15.07.19

When going on a fishing trip, you need to assess the importance of maintaining the fish and wildlife in a healthy state. In order to such thing, you must learn about the rules and regulations in terms of fishing that are applicable to the region you are doing the outdoor activity. The same principle applies to Florida, where fishing licenses are monitored by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Starting at the age of 16 until 64 years old, anyone that wants to fish in this state will need a fishing license. According to the type of water, there are freshwater and saltwater permits.

For instance, a valid license for a period of one year for fishing in freshwater or saltwater will cost a resident of Florida $17.00 while freshwater and saltwater combo can be bought for $32.50. One great deal is to purchase a license that you can use for five years that you can get for a special price of $79.00. If you want to forget about renewing the permit each year, there are options for lifetime sportsman’s licenses that can go up to more than $1,000.

You purchase the license according to the species of fish you are fishing for, regardless of the water you are fishing. Anglers that want to fish largemouth bass in brackish water need a freshwater license while those that want to catch saltwater species in freshwaters such as spotted sea trout or snook need a saltwater license.

If you decide to buy your license online, you’ll save precious time. You can obtain the license at or by phone. Moreover, there’s an exclusive app available for your smartphone where you can learn all about the fish species and fishing records from the region of Florida.

There are special licenses for charter boats or charter captain that are mandatory for vessels that take passengers for marine fishing trips.

For practicing your fishing in complete safety, you must learn about some of the facts that are prohibited in the waters of Florida:


  • It is prohibited to own fishing tackle in an area that is closed for fishing activities.
  • The possession of nets, fish traps, trotlines, and setlines is illegal unless it is specifically authorized by rules established by the Fish Management Area.
  • People that enter or leave Fish Management Areas that have designated entry points must enter or leave only at such designated points.
  • Vehicles, boats or other transportation devices might be searched when entering or leaving a fishing area in Florida.
  • Some areas designed for fishing may be closed in order to accommodate certain management projects or due to unsafe conditions. You mustn’t get near them if you see the signs that forbid fishing.
  • It is illegal to intentionally release wildlife or freshwater fish in areas protected by the authorities of Florida.



Here are some other angling laws that you should acknowledge:


  • Under no circumstance are you allowed to ransport non-native fishes. Certain fish species such as the Northern black bass are on the conditional non-native species list.
  • The Pure Florida bass may only purchased from permitted hatcheries with stocks certified by the Florida Wildlife Commission.
  • Certain families of freshwater mussels can be collected for personal use but the bag limit is 10 per person or 20 half shells. These mussels shall be taken using the hands only. It is forbidden to use brailes, crowfoot bars, or other mechanical methods.
  • The species of sturgeon found in Florida—Atlantic (Acipenser oxyrinchus), Gulf (A. o. desotoi), and shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) — are protected both federally and in the state of Florida. If, by any accident, you catch one of these species you must immediately release it alive back into the water.



Certain penalties and fines can be used if you don’t respect these rules and regulations. Depending on the nature of your violation, you can end up having your fishing license suspended.



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