If you’re going to hit the high seas, it’s crucial that you’re fishing legally. Your Alabama Fishing License isn’t some pointless restriction—the fees you pay are going right back to the Alabama Gulf Coast community. A number of important programs are funded this way, including habitat development and protection, fishery and hatchery management, endangered species programs, fishing and conservation education, artificial reef construction, boat ramps and other boating access facilities, enforcement and various publications like maps and brochures.
The first step is to decide what kind of fishing you want to do and how long you want to do it. You can pick between a Freshwater License, a Saltwater License, or one that covers both areas; you can even combine your fishing license with a hunting license if you’re into that. Then just figure out how long you plan to fish—a week, a year, or a lifetime.
Once you’ve made your decision, getting signed up is easy. As long as you’re 16 years old, you’ve got a valid driver’s license (or two other forms of ID) and you’ve been living in Alabama for at least three months, you’re good to go. All it takes is a bit of information and a small fee (unless you’re older than 64, in which case it’s free after you register annually), and nowadays you can purchase and register for your license online.
If you’re planning on taking a charter boat for your fishing voyage, there are several larger vessels that will provide a valid Alabama Fishing License for you as soon as you get on board. Browse through our Charter Boat Directory if you’re looking to save some time.
When your license is in hand and you’re ready to set sail, make sure you look over the rules and regulations for each species that you plan to pursue. Some fish will be off limits during certain times of the year, and you may have to throw a few back depending on how big they are.
For more information about the licensing process, check out the Alabama Department of Conservation and National Resources for specifics on Freshwater Licenses, Saltwater Licenses and the Rules and Regulations for Alabama Fishing, and then sign up whenever you’ve got everything in order.