Florida Fishing Regulations

Below is a brief summary of regulations governing the taking of saltwater species in Florida for personal use. State waters extend to 3 nautical miles on the Atlantic and 9 nautical miles on the Gulf. Federal rules apply beyond state waters. It is not intended or designed to provide specific information on commercial taking of these species.


Atlantic Coast
*Click to enlarge.

Gulf Coast
*Click to enlarge.

Lawsticks and Lawstickers

Florida Sportsman condensed state and federal regulations for Gulf and Atlantic waters into simple lawsticks and lawstickers for easy, on-the-water use. The measuring devices are available at local sporting shops, tackle shops and online at the Florida Sportsman store.

Fishing regulations change periodically. We do our best to keep up, sometimes pestering the fishery management agencies before they have their sites updated. For the most current regulations check the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) and Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Gulf Council).

lawstick_regulations

This Atlantic Coast Lawstick measures an oversize redfish caught from shore. The angler probably didn’t need the lawstick–at least, this time–to realize this fish was overslot and had to be released. Both Atlantic (blue color) and Gulf (green color) Florida Sportsman lawsticks are updated on a regular basis to keep up with ever-changing regulations.


What You Must Know Before You Go

This information relates to recreational hunting and fishing only. Recreational licenses and permits for residents and nonresidents are available at county tax collectors’ offices. In addition, you can buy them from subagents– such as sporting goods stores or other retailers that sell hunting or fishing equipment–and on the Internet or by phone. All license, permit and issuance fees are subject to change by the legislature.

GET YOUR LICENSES HERE

Lifetime licenses

The FWC issues lifetime licenses to Florida residents for hunting, freshwater fishing and saltwater fishing. Funds generated from the sale of these licenses are invested, creating an endowment to support the long-term conservation of Florida’s wildlife and fisheries resources.

For avid sportsmen who want the convenience of securing licensing, once and for all, for all your hunting or fishing activities, the lifetime license is for you. Your lifetime license will remain valid for use in Florida even if you move out of state. For hunters and anglers who like a bargain, the cost of a lifetime license is less than what you would spend on annual licenses, permits and fees. The earlier you make your purchase, the bigger the savings. The lifetime license is for parents, grandparents and family friends who want to pass on the joys of outdoor recreation to young people and help ensure that today’s youth have the natural resources to share hunting, freshwater fishing and saltwater fishing with their children.

The lifetime license is for conservationists who want to contribute to the long-term management of Florida’s natural resources. Only the interest from the trust fund is appropriated. The principal is held in perpetuity to ensure future funding for fish and wildlife programs. This endowment will ensure that Florida’s natural resources are conserved today for the future and that your children can pass on your family’s hunting and fishing tradition to their children.

Florida Residency

For the purposes of hunting or fishing in Florida, a Resident is defined as:

• Any person who has resided in Florida for 6 continuous months prior to the issuance of a license and who claims Florida as his/her primary residence; or

• Any member of the United States Armed Forces who is stationed in Florida (includes spouse and dependent children residing in the household).

Exemptions

You do not need a hunting, freshwater fishing or saltwater fishing license if:

• You are a child under 16 years of age. (Also exempt from federal duck stamp requirements.)

• You are a Florida resident age 65 or older possessing proof of age and residency or possessing a Resident Senior Citizen Hunting and Fishing Certificate. Residents age 65 or older may obtain, at no cost, complimentary hunting and fishing certificates from county tax collectors’ offices.

• You hunt or fish in your county of residence on your homestead or the homestead of your spouse or minor child, or if you are a minor child hunting or fishing on the homestead of your parent.

• You are a Florida resident certified as totally and permanently disabled and you possess a Florida Resident Disabled Person Hunting and Fishing Certificate.

• You are a resident who is a member of the Armed Forces of the United States, you are not stationed in this state, and you are home on leave for 30 days or less, upon submission of orders.

You do not need a freshwater fishing license if:

• You have been accepted as a client for developmental services by the Department of Children and Family Services. The department must furnish proof to such clients.

• You are a resident who is fishing with live or natural bait, using poles or lines that are not equipped with a fishing-line-retrieval mechanism, and you are fishing for noncommercial purposes in your home county. However, you must have a valid fishing license to fish by any method in a fish management area.

• You are fishing in a fish pond of 20 acres or less which is located entirely within the private property of its owner. A fish pond is a manmade pond constructed for the primary purpose of fishing, entirely within the property lines of the owner and with no surface water connection to public waters.

• You are fishing in a fish pond of 20 acres or more, whose owner has purchased a fish pond license at a fee of $3 per surface acre.

• You possess a Resident Freshwater Commercial Fishing License.

• You are fishing in the St. Mary’s River or Lake Seminole (but not including tributary creeks in Florida) and have a valid Georgia fishing license.

• You are freshwater fishing during Free Fishing Weekend.

You do not need a saltwater fishing license if:

• You have been accepted as a client for developmental services by the Department of Children and Family Services. The department must furnish proof to such clients.

• You fish from a for-hire vessel (guide, charter, party boat) that has a valid vessel license.

• You fish from a vessel, the operator of which has a valid vessel license issued in the name of the operator of the vessel.

• You fish for recreational purposes from a pier with a valid pier saltwater fishing license.

• You have a valid saltwater products license.

• You fish for mullet in fresh water and you have a valid Florida freshwater fishing license.