Texas Fishing Regulations

To fish in Texas, as in any other state in the United States, you must first obtain a fishing license. There are some distinctions that distinguish Texas from other regions, and one of these is the fact that certain individuals are exempt from the requirement of obtaining a permit.

If you were born before 1931 or are under the age of 17, you are exempt from purchasing a fishing license; however, you must still carry identification with you and adhere to a number of rules. If you are under the age of 17, or if you are over the age of 65, and you live in Louisiana or Oklahoma, the same rules apply, which means that you do not need a driver’s license if you fall into one of these categories.


It is possible that you will need to consider different license packages if you want to make sure that you do not break the law and that you get the most out of your purchase. All-water fishing licenses are available in a variety of packages ranging from a year to a single day. There are also permits that are divided into categories based on the type of water that you will be fishing in. When this article was written, a saltwater package cost $35, whereas a freshwater package cost $30.

An application for a free all-water fishing package is available to any Texas resident who is serving on active duty in the Navy, Marines, United States Army, Air Force, State or National Guard, Reserves, or Coast Guard. We encourage you to visit the official Texas Parks & Wildlife website for more information and to determine whether you are eligible for a free package or whether you do not require a license at all in order to obtain more information.

Listed below are a few examples of prohibited acts that you should be aware of if you want to be extra cautious:

  • In order to enter a fish in a freshwater or saltwater fishing tournament, you must not have altered the length or weight of the fish in any way before entering it.
  • You are not permitted to disturb any threatened or endangered species, and you should avoid doing so. These include the shovel-nosed sturgeon, the paddlefish, the smalltooth sawfish, and a variety of other species.
  • No marine mammals may be caught or killed under any circumstances.
  • You are not permitted to disturb sea turtles or their eggs in any way. If you happen to accidentally catch a sea turtle, you must contact the Texas Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network right away.
  • All of the fish you’ve caught must be consumed or used as bait, regardless of how many you’ve caught. Otherwise, it is illegal to dump it in the water or leave it to die unless you have one of the aforementioned intentions in mind when doing so.
  • While tagging is permitted, you are prohibited from using any tracking device that has the potential to negatively impact the well-being of any other species that shares the same aquatic environment with your animal.
  • If you own property that includes a pond or a lake, you are not required to have a fishing license for that particular angling spot. However, if the location in question is a public water source, you will be required to obtain a permit. With the intent of landing a catch, you are not permitted to enter privately owned waters or to enter any land that does not belong to you.

Other angling laws that may be of interest to you include the ones listed below:

  • You are not permitted to use any unloaded firearm in the presence of children, nor are you permitted to store it in a location where children can access it unsupervised.
  • You are not permitted to take any wildlife resource in excess of the amount specified on the official Texas Parks & Wildlife website.
  • It is never recommended to operate a motor vehicle in a stream.
  • You are not permitted to fish in private waters.

The penalties for the previously mentioned unlawful acts can include fines ranging from $25 to $10,000, imprisonment for up to five years, and the forfeiture of any hunting equipment, including firearms, if the offense continues for a second time.