Nothing beats the nature in Arizona, where you can spend your morning in the desert down south and your evening in the mountains up north. No matter where you go, you’ll never find anything quite as spectacular as the Grand Canyon State.
Arizona is also an exciting place to fish, where you can expect to catch a wide variety of species including the Apache trout to the green sunfish. Before you can get started, you most likely need to get your Arizona fishing license.
Today, we’re going to talk about where to buy your AZ fishing license. The process is simple as long as you know where to go and what license you want to apply for.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about getting your fishing license before heading out on your boat.
Who Needs an AZ Fishing License
In the state of Arizona, every angler over the age of ten will need to get an Arizona fishing license. Even if you only intend to go fishing a handful of times, you will need to be able to produce your fishing license if asked.
Why do fishing licenses cost money in Arizona? The Arizona Game and Fish Department uses the fees paid for fishing and hunting licenses to boost the state’s conservation and protection efforts. In other words, by investing in a fishing license, you’re helping to keep Arizona’s wildlife abundant and thriving.
Consequences of Fishing in AZ Without a License
What happens if you do go fishing without a license? If the Game and Fish Department happens to do a sweep that day, you could find yourself facing fines between $50 and $350, depending on where you were fishing. Other violations include exceeding the bag limit, having more than two poles per angler, and more.
Types of Fishing Licenses
There are four standard types of fishing licenses in the state of Arizona. These fishing licenses include:
- General fishing license: required for all anglers both local and out-of-state and will allow you to fish for any species throughout the entire state
- Combination license: ideal for any angler who also wants to hunt, as the combination license counts as both a fishing and hunting license
- Youth combination license: ideal for any angler and hunter between the ages of 10 and 17
- Short-term combination license: ideal for any angler and hunter who only intends to fish and/or hunt in Arizona for an established period of time, whether that’s one day or a few weeks; this is a common Arizona fishing license for nonresidents
All but the short-term license are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. Please note that while Arizona once offered a community fishing license, they suspended this program at the beginning of 2022. Now, you must get a general fishing license in place of a community fishing license.
Special Fishing Licenses in AZ
In addition to the four primary types of fishing licenses in AZ, there are a few special fishing licenses that you may want to consider, as well. These include:
- the Honorary Scout combination license: available at a reduced cost to both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts who have achieved the highest level in their scouting organization (Eagle Scouts and Girl Scouts who have received the Gold Award, respectively); the Honorary Scout combination license is valid through the recipient’s 20th birthday
- the lifetime fishing or combination license: valid for the recipient’s lifetime and fees will vary based on age and license type
- the Lifetime Wildlife Benefactor license: valid for the recipient’s lifetime and covers both fishing and hunting; incorporates donations to Arizona’s programs for wildlife conservation, management, and protection
Both lifetime licenses remain valid even if you move out of the state. In other words, you can always come back to Arizona to fish, even if you’ve been a non-resident for years.
Where to Buy Your AZ Fishing License
There are several different places where you can get your AZ fishing license. These include:
- online through the AZGFD website; if you purchase your license online, you will need to print it out, yourself
- in person from a registered agent; there are dozens of participating bait and tackle shops, sporting good stores, and more located throughout the state
- in person from the AZFGD offices
If you’re wondering how to get your AZ fishing license, start by deciding which type of license you’d like to buy. You will then fill out the application for that license and pay any required fees.
Getting a License as a Resident vs. Non-Resident
You are considered a resident of Arizona if:
- you’ve lived in Arizona for a minimum of six months and don’t claim another state as your primary residence
- you or your spouse are active duty in the US armed forces and have been stationed temporarily or permanently in AZ
- you or your spouse are active duty and are stationed in another state but claim AZ as your home of record
With the exception of age-limited licenses, Arizona residents qualify for all AZ fishing licenses.
Non-residents (anyone who does not meet any of the above criteria) qualify only for general or short-term fishing or combination licenses.
Who Can Fish Without a License?
As we mentioned earlier, everyone over the age of 10 will need a fishing license in order to legally fish in Arizona. That includes non-residents and anglers who only intend to fish for a few days in the state of Arizona.
If your child is under the age of 10, they will not need a fishing license to fish in Arizona.
Get Licensed and Registered Before the Next Fishing Season
Whether you’re an Arizona resident or you’re planning a quick fishing trip to our beautiful state, you’re going to need a fishing license. Use this guide to make sure that you know where to buy your AZ fishing license and how to pick the best one for you.