Outdoors blog


Do I Need a Fishing License If I Catch and Release in Texas?

Catch and release is considered fishing.

But still needing a fishing license is not a universal requirement to fish in Texas. There are exceptions like age, private property, and being in a state park.

Even the anglers or you can refer to the prospective anglers who are not even willing or capable to cough up the money for a license can also find enough opportunities to legally fish in this state.

A maximum of those best opportunities have been created by the state agency that depends on people buying fishing licenses. 


The exemptions: 

You might be confused about whether to buy a fishing license or not, then you don’t need to bother because not all the Texans have to get the license from the authority for fishing.  A good number of Texan and even non-Texans are exempt from fishing license requirements because of several different reasons such as their age or the place where they fish.

In Texas, if you are a person above the age of 17 years and older fishing in public waters of the state then you require a fishing license. The population below 17 either be residents or nonresidents, are exempt from fishing license requirements. If you are born before the year 1931 then also you do not need to hold a valid fishing license to fish in public water bodies. 

In Texas, the fishing license has to include the part of public waters within it because the anglers who fish privately-owned water bodies are not required to hold a state fishing license. This carries several water bodies such as stock tanks, farm ponds, subdivision lakes, or other impoundments that are wholly owned by private landowners. No any kind of license is required to fish in these water bodies. Apart from this, the fishing rules governing things such as bag limits, minimum lengths or even methods used to catch fish apply do not need to be abided. The private fishes are the property of the landowners so no regulations of the state are applied over here.


Private vs. public licensing system:

If you want to take advantage of the no license requiring policy, you need to first make sure that private waters should be sure the water they fish is privately owned or not. This policy or the exemption does not apply to those fishing in rivers or creeks or other natural waterways running through private property. The natural waterways in Texas are considered public property. To fish in these places you must need the fishing license and must abide by the rules and regulations no matter if the angler is standing on private property.

The license policy remains the same for all the residents of Texas but still, there are some limits made for some anglers. In Texas not all the public water is off-limits to license fewer anglers. Also, you would not be requiring any kind of license to fish some good public waters across the state no matter inland or on the coast.

The Texas parks and wildlife department has also published or executed a new project called family fishing celebration which is a pilot program that has been designed to encourage families to visit and fish in the state parks. It also exempts the people fishing inside the boundaries of a state park from the fishing license requirements.

Such a program is now stated as the “free fishing in state parks’ ‘ which is not exactly what the name states. This program majorly exempt all the anglers fishing within the boundaries of a state park from fishing license requirements. It is not exactly free, actually, you need to pay entry fees and fees to use campsites or other facilities. But make sure you fish in the one score of the lake or whatever the water body it is, within the boundaries of the state park, and you won’t require any fishing license.

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