Where to fish without a license around the USA

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By Chuck Woodbury
Until a national fishing license is available (don’t hold your breath), it will continue to be an inconvenience for RVers who travel from state-to-state to fish: A license is required for each state, and it’s often difficult to find a place to buy one. And it can be expensive, even though permits for a few days are usually affordable.

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 five-inch perch, at an RV park in Ohio.


Most parks will charge you for the fish you catch, by the fish or by the pound. Some are more generous and let you keep a fish or two.

You can find RV parks with no-license fishing by searching on the Internet 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.


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Stay in Texas State Parks and no fishing license is required for streams, rivers, ponds and lakes within the park boundaries!