Fishing Regulations in Alabama

If you intend to fish in the state of Alabama, you will need a fishing license, just as you would in any other state in the United States. Because Alabama offers both saltwater and freshwater fishing opportunities, you must ensure that you are familiar with the applicable set of regulations for the area in which you intend to go fishing before setting out.

Obtaining an Alabama fishing license is a straightforward process. Depending on your financial situation, you have two options. You can either purchase a license online through the Alabama Department of Conservation’s website or in person at a license commissioner’s office or a Department of Conservation location. It’s important to remember that all fishing licenses expire on August 31st of every year. In order to continue fishing in Alabama’s waters, you must renew your fishing license every two years.


Residents aged 16 to 64 are required to purchase a fishing license, while those aged 65 and older are not required to do so unless they wish to contribute to the state’s wildlife and fisheries programs. They can, however, fish if they have an Alabama driver’s license or other proof of permanent residence in the state.

It is possible to purchase fishing licenses for all time, annually, or on a daily basis, depending on your preferences and requirements. A basic resident freshwater permit from the State of Alabama costs $13.30 USD. If you want to fish in saltwater, you’ll have to pay $ 23.35 per day. A lifetime license privilege that includes the benefits of the Wildlife Heritage License can save you money over the course of your lifetime.

If you want to go saltwater fishing, you’ll need a different license, and there are several different types of saltwater fishing permits available. Cast netting, flounder gigging, and recreational crab trapping are all prohibited without a saltwater fishing license.

If you want to enjoy your fishing activity in safe conditions, you should be aware of the following prohibited acts:


  • You are not permitted to fish in public waters or on public lands unless you have the permission of the landowner. Private waters are subject to the same rules as public waters.
  • It is unlawful to take, catch, or kill any type of game fish, as well as to attempt to take, catch, or kill any type of game fish, using any method other than the traditional ones such as hook and line, artificial lure, live bait, troll, or spinner, as well as to attempt to take, catch, or kill any type of game fish. If you are fishing in Alabama’s public waters, you are not permitted to use any electrical devices, explosives, poisons, or firearms to catch any species.
  • Becoming familiar with the rules and regulations that govern fishing, such as possession limits and size limits, is essential before you begin your fishing expedition. Fishing regulations vary depending on the type of fish being caught, and not all of them are the same across all public bodies of water. Please feel free to contact any Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries Division Fisheries Biologist or conservation enforcement officer if you have any questions or need further information.
  • Within one and a half miles of any lock, dam, or powerhouse, it is illegal to use trotlines or snag lines, set lines, commercial fishing nets, or wire baskets. Furthermore, recreational fishermen who use trotlines are only permitted to use a total of 100 hooks.
  • In addition to the number of hooks, all trotlines must have a plastic or metal tag attached to them that contains the name of the owner, his or her address, and the number of his or her fishing license.


Other fishing regulations that may be of interest to you are as follows:


  • When it comes to wire baskets, you can’t sell the fish that have been caught in them. Additionally, you must label them with a valid wire basket license number as well as your name. You are only permitted to own a total of four wire baskets.
  • It is illegal to fillet or remove the heads of fish while fishing in public waters, and it is also illegal to possess fish fillets while fishing in public waters. The rule does not apply to fish that is being prepared for immediate cooking and consumption if the head is left on the fish while it is being prepared.

These illegal acts are punishable by a fine, imprisonment, or the suspension of one’s fishing license for an extended period of time, depending on the severity of the offense committed.