By Chuck Woodbury
Until a national fishing license is available, it will continue to be inconvenient for RV anglers to fish legally when traveling around the country: A separate license is required for each state, and it’s often difficult finding where to buy one. An annual license can be expensive, but permits for a few days are usually inexpensive.
One solution is to stay at private RV parks where no license is required. Typically, the only requirement to fish these lakes is that you’re a registered guest.
I have fished from coast to coast and in many places in between and never had to buy an out-of-state license. A good number of RV parks have their own private lakes. No streams feed these lakes and no public money goes to stock fish. So an RV park owner can make his or her own fishing rules. Most have a “catch and release” policy: Have fun landing your whopper, but then throw it back to be caught another day. Other parks will allow you to keep a fish, but you’ll either pay per fish or by weight.
The fish may be tiny perch, great for kids’ fishing, or trout and whopper bass. I caught my largest bass ever at a KOA in Florida, and, at age 3, my daughter caught her first fish, a 5-inch perch at an RV park in Dayton, Ohio.
You can find RV parks with no-license fishing by searching Google or by reading ads and descriptions in printed RV campground directories. But be warned: Just because an RV park advertises fishing or a fishing lake, it doesn’t mean you can fish without a license. If a stream feeds the lake or pond or it’s not entirely on the RV park’s property, then a license is probably required. So call first to get the scoop.