Fees & Regulations


Who Needs One?

Almost everyone 16 and over must have a license to fish in freshwater. Some New York residents may apply for free licenses. They include the blind, some Native Americans living in New York, resident patients at U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs hospitals or state-funded facilities, New York State residents who are active members of the National Guard or U.S. Reserve Forces and New York State residents who are on full time active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces stationed out-of-state, and are in New York for no longer than 30 days.

To qualify for a resident license, you must have a permanent domicile in the state for at least 30 days immediately preceding your application.

For detailed fishing regulations information, visit the New York Freshwater Fishing website, or consult the NYS Official Regulations Guide online or from any license issuing agent.

Persons fishing on Native American lands, such as the Seneca or Mohawk nations need to purchase a license to fish their respective territories. To find out more information on license cost and issuing agents, call (716) 945-1790 or (716) 532-4900 for Seneca Nation lands (Allegany River, Cattaraugus Creek), and (518) 358-2272 for Mohawk Nation land (St. Regis River).  

Where to Get One?

DEC Regional offices, Town and County clerks, many bait and tackle shops, local sporting goods stores and some State campsites sell licenses, and those that do not can usually direct you to a license agent.

Save time and effort by purchasing licenses online through DEC's Automated Licensing System (DECALS), by phone by calling 1-86-NY-DECALS (1-866-933-2257), or by mailing your payment and completed license application to Verizon, PO Box 36985, Phoenix, AZ 85067 – 6985. Visa and MasterCard accepted. The online purchasing system, license applications and further information are available on the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation's website.


Before fishing, Anglers are advised to consult the current regulations guide. A New York State fishing guide booklet, which includes the Great Lakes regulations, will accompany your license when you purchase it. Seasons are listed in the WHEN TO FISH chart. For the most part, the Statewide Regulations apply, but there are significant exceptions.

For example...

  • Special Great Lakes Regulations apply to the St. Lawrence River because this flow is directly connected to Lake Ontario.
  • Also, special bass and muskie regulations are in effect for the county’s small rivers.
  • Black Lake, too, has special regulations for its bass as well as walleyes.
  • Other exceptions include a number of catch-and-release, artificial-lure-only waters, and there are various waters open to year-round trout fishing.

Please be a law-abiding and ethical angler by consulting and following the regulations listed in the current guide.

To view the regulations online, simply go to - http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/fishing.html.