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Georgia Fishing Licenses and Regulations

Georgia waters are full of largemouth bass, crappie, king mackerel, and other coveted gamefish. Serious anglers know it’s a great Fishing location. But whether you’re a Georgia resident or just visiting, you’ll need a fishing license. It’s the only way to legally catch and keep fish in a public fishing area (PFA).

The good news? It’s pretty easy to get a license and abide by the rules. Here’s what you need to know about getting your Georgia fishing license. This includes information on the current Georgia fishing regulations.

Let’s start with the basics of fishing licenses in Georgia. Unless you’re exempt, you’ll need a license to fish public freshwater locations. This also goes for South Atlantic Ocean-fishing off the Georgia coast. Before applying for a freshwater, saltwater, or combo fishing license, there are things you’ll need to know.

Let’s look at non-resident licenses first:

  • If you’re not a Georgia resident and are under 16 years old, you don’t need a fishing license.
  • Any non-resident over 16 years old must have a fishing license to fish in public waters. No license is needed to fish in private ponds.
  • If you’re 65 years of age or older, you don’t need a Georgia fishing license.
  • Active military stationed in Georgia and their immediate family can get a resident fishing license.

For everyone else, you’ll likely need a license to fish in Georgia. Here’s a quick way to apply for your fishing license online.

Resident fishing licenses:

  • A Georgia resident is someone who has an established address, and has lived in Georgia for at least 1 year.
  • You must produce proof of residence when buying a fishing license. A driver’s license is required.
  • If you’re over 65 years of age, you can get a Senior Lifetime Fishing License for free.
  • If you’re completely disabled you can get a Disability Honorary Combination License. This includes blind people with a physician’s certification.

Here is a summary of the specific fishing licenses and their price: 

A regular resident Georgia fishing license:

  • $9 per year
  • $16 per 2 years

Resident trot line fishing license:

  • $3.50 per day
  • $5 per year
  • $10 per 2 years

Resident hunting and fishing combo license:

  • $3.50 per day
  • $17 per year
  • $31 per 2 years

Non-resident annual fishing licenses: 

  • $45 per year

Non-resident trout fishing license: 

  • $10 per 3 days
  • $20 per year

Non-resident hunting and fishing combo license:

  • $20 per 3 days
  • $100 for 1 year

Resident and non-resident 24-hour saltwater shore license: 

  • $5 per day

SIP Permits and Saltwater Fishing Licenses 

If you’re 16 years of age or older, you must have a valid Saltwater Information Program (SIP) permit to legally saltwater fish in Georgia. You can obtain a SIP permit at no cost. These permits must be renewed annually. To find instructions on getting your SIP, visit the Georgia Department of Natural Resources online.

Understanding the saltwater demarcation line 

This is an invisible line in the water where highway 17 crosses major bodies of rivers and creeks. It defines where freshwater ends and saltwater begins. It also separates recreational fishing areas from commercial fishing areas.

Saltwater species that are protected in Georgia 

It is illegal to disturb or take protected fish and other wildlife. The list includes fish, salamanders, mussels, and turtles. Nonvenomous snakes are also protected. It’s illegal to kill or sell any of these protected species.

About trout fishing licenses  

You need a trout fishing license to fish in designated trout waters. You must have this license along with your recreational fishing license. Here are some key facts you’ll need to know about getting one:

  • If you’re under the age of 16 or at least 65 years of age, you do not need a trout license.
  • You don’t need a license to fish for trout on private
  • All non-residents over the age of 16 must have a regular fishing license and a trout license

Now let’s look at some important Georgia fishing regulations. There is a set limit to the number of fish you may possess or take home with you. Different fish species have different limitations. These limits apply to public fishing areas, and to commercial and recreational anglers.   

Now let’s look at length limits for Georgia freshwater fresh. In Georgia, there are certain bass that have a minimum length limit. To keep them they must be of legal size. This number varies, depending on the type of bass. For example, the keeping size for a largemouth bass is 12 inches. But striped bass have a minimum keeping length of 22 inches.

Legal freshwater fishing methods in Georgia 

There are many legal ways to catch fish in Georgia. Keep in mind that each method has its own set of specific rules.

The ways you can legally catch gamefish in Georgia:

  • Rod and reels
  • Set hooks and jugs (this method is limited to just a few gamefish)

Here are the legal ways to catch non-game fish in Georgia:

  • Trotlines
  • Spear fishing
  • Seines and cast nets
  • Bowfishing
  • Set hooks and jugs

Georgia regulations for commercial fishermen 

If you’re fishing for gamefish with the purpose of making money from your catch, you must abide by the regulations. This goes for hatcheries and wholesalers alike. To get more information about gamefish and domestic fish regulations, get the facts here.

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