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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Carson Axtell

Thanks for the article, but staying at a resort that sponsors private fishing doesn’t exactly meet the definition of inexpensive fishing, and it certainly doesn’t meet the criterion of serious fishermen seeking a wilderness experience along with their chance at landing a canny, native bred wild fish… It’s a better bet for the casual fisherman or for introducing kids to the joys of the sport.

Drew

Chuck,

Although the idea sounds nice…just like having reasonable no-frills rv parks around the nation, I think one big reason we see no national fishing licenses is that circumstances are different wherever you go. Each state has it’s own species to protect and manage among many other things.

John

Buy the fishing license for each state you want to fish at – forget fishing at RV parks, to darn expensive and more than likely you are going to need a license since the state is stocking the waters. What do you gain, it still going to cost you money as an out of state fisher person. Stay and boondock near the waters you want to fish.

ken

Easy to purchase a license on line. go to Take me Fishing .com They have links to all state fishing regs and online license and with no additional fees.

Luke

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