Fishing License, Regulations, Requirements, Licensing Process, Fees, and Renewal in Idaho

Fishing in Idaho offers a unique experience for both residents and visitors alike. With its diverse aquatic habitats and abundant fish species, the state is a haven for anglers. However, to ensure sustainable fishing practices and the conservation of fish populations, it’s crucial to have a Fishing License in Idaho. This article provides a comprehensive guide on fishing licenses, regulations, and other essential information for fishing in Idaho. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, understanding these guidelines is vital for a responsible and enjoyable fishing experience.

Fishing is a popular activity in Idaho, with the state boasting 26,000 miles of streams and rivers, more than 3,000 natural lakes, and a quarter-million acres of ponds and reservoirs. Idaho is home to 42 game fish species, including giant white sturgeon, wild trout, catfish, kokanee, smallmouth bass, salmon, and steelhead1.

State of Idaho

In 1991, sport fishermen in Idaho spent nearly $400 million, and the 1992-93 steelhead fishery generated $52 million to $98 million of economic activity2. The fishing industry in Idaho is expected to grow an annualized rate to $15 million over the five years to 2023. There are currently 419 fishing industry establishments in Idaho, employing 237 people3.

Idaho Fish and Game stocks over 30 million fish yearly in rivers, ponds, lakes, reservoirs, and mountain lakes. To fish in Idaho, individuals aged 14 and older need a valid fishing license, which can be purchased online, at a retailer, or by phone4. Anglers younger than 14 do not need a license, but there is a small difference between resident and nonresident youth in terms of fishing limits5.

Idaho has seven Fish and Game regions, each with its own regional fishing report that highlights the monthly stocking schedule. These regions include Panhandle, Clearwater, Southwest, Magic Valley, Southeast, Upper Snake, and Salmon. Anglers must have a current fishing license and are reminded to check the fishing rules brochure for any restrictions and limits6.

Fishing Regulations & Requirements in Idaho

Fishing in Idaho is governed by a set of regulations to ensure sustainable fishing practices and conservation of aquatic resources. Here’s a comprehensive overview of the key regulations and requirements:

Fishing Seasons:

  • General Fishing Season: The general fishing season in Idaho varies depending on the species and water body. It’s essential to consult the official seasons and rules provided by the Idaho Fish and Game Department to determine the specific opening and closing dates for each species and location.

License Requirements:

  • Age Requirement: Anyone 14 years and older is required to have a fishing license in Idaho. For resident anglers under 14, a permit is not required, and each child has their own bag limits.

Types of Fishing Licenses in Idaho

In Idaho, fishing licenses are categorized based on residency. Below is a breakdown:

Resident Licenses:

License TypeFee
Adult Fishing License$30.50
Adult Fishing License (Price Lock)$25.75
Adult Fishing License (3-Year)$73.75
Daily Fishing License (first day)$13.50
Daily Fishing License (first day, Price Lock)$11.50
Junior Fishing License (14-17 yrs)$16.00
Junior Fishing License (14-17 yrs, Price Lock)$13.75
Junior Fishing License (14-17 yrs, 3-Year)$37.75

Non-resident Licenses:

License TypeFee
Adult Fishing License$98.25
Daily Fishing License (first day)$15.75
Three-Day Fishing License$37.75
Junior Fishing License (under 18)$21.75

Special Licenses for Specific Age Groups or Conditions:

License TypeFee
Disabled American Veterans Fishing License$5.75
Disabled American Veterans Fishing License (Price Lock)$5.00
Disabled Persons Fishing License$5.75
Disabled Persons Fishing License (Price Lock)$5.00
Military Furlough Fishing License$20.50
Military Furlough Fishing License (Price Lock)$17.50

Note: The “Price Lock” indicates reduced prices for Idaho residents who have maintained an annual license since 2017 or purchased any 3-year license.

Licensing Process in Idaho

Obtaining a fishing license in Idaho is a straightforward process. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to secure your fishing license:

  1. Determine Your Residency: Before purchasing a license, determine if you qualify as a resident or non-resident. Residents are individuals who have been domiciled in Idaho for the last six months. Non-residents are those who don’t meet the residency requirements.
  2. Choose the Right License: Depending on your age, residency status, and fishing needs, select the appropriate license. Idaho offers various licenses, including daily licenses, annual licenses, and special licenses for specific age groups or conditions.
  3. Purchase Online: One of the most convenient ways to buy a fishing license in Idaho is online. Visit the Go Outdoors Idaho website or the official Idaho Fish and Game website to make your purchase.
  4. Purchase In-Person: If you prefer to buy your license in person, you can visit one of the regional offices of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game or a licensed vendor.
  5. Purchase by Phone: You can also obtain your fishing license over the phone by calling 1-800-554-8685.
  6. Keep Your License Accessible: Once you’ve purchased your license, ensure you have it with you at all times while fishing. Digital copies on your phone are acceptable, but it’s a good idea to have a physical copy as a backup.
  7. Be Aware of Expiry: Most fishing licenses, especially annual ones, have an expiration date. Be sure to renew your license before it expires to continue enjoying fishing in Idaho without any interruptions.
  8. Stay Updated: Fishing regulations can change. It’s essential to stay updated with the latest rules and regulations by regularly checking the Idaho Fish and Game website or consulting with local fishing communities.

Renewal Process for Fishing Licenses in Idaho

Renewing your fishing license in Idaho ensures continued access to the state’s diverse fishing opportunities. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to renew your fishing license:

  1. Determine the Expiry Date: Most fishing licenses in Idaho are valid for a calendar year, expiring on December 31st. However, it’s essential to check the expiration date of your specific license type.
  2. Online Renewal: The most convenient way to renew your fishing license is online. Visit the official Idaho Fish and Game website to access the online licensing system.
  3. In-Person Renewal: Licenses can also be renewed in person at any of the regional offices of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game or at licensed vendors throughout the state.
  4. Phone Renewal: For those who prefer to renew over the phone, call the official hotline at 1-800-554-8685. Note that there might be a processing fee for phone renewals.
  5. Payment: Be prepared with a valid payment method, whether renewing online, in person, or over the phone. The website and regional offices accept most major credit cards.
  6. Keep the Renewed License Accessible: After renewal, ensure you have your license with you at all times while fishing. Digital copies are acceptable, but having a physical copy as a backup is recommended.

Remember, fishing without a valid license in Idaho can lead to penalties. Always ensure your license is up-to-date before heading out.

Fishing Regulations & Requirements in Idaho

Man in red tank top holding fishing rod photo, Fishing in Idaho
Fishing in Idaho

Fishing in Idaho offers a diverse range of opportunities, from freshwater lakes and rivers to unique fishing experiences in pristine locations. However, to ensure sustainable fishing practices and conservation of fish populations, the state has set specific regulations and requirements:

  1. Fishing Seasons: Idaho has specific fishing seasons for different species. It’s essential to check the open season for the fish you intend to catch to ensure you’re fishing legally.
  2. Bag and Size Limits: Depending on the species, there are bag (the number of fish you can keep in a day) and size limits. These limits are set to ensure sustainable fishing and conservation of fish populations.
  3. Special Regulations: Some areas in Idaho might have special fishing regulations due to conservation needs or to provide unique fishing opportunities. Always check for any area-specific rules before fishing.
  4. Catch and Release: Certain areas or species might be catch-and-release only, meaning you must release the fish back into the water after catching.
  5. Bait Restrictions: There might be restrictions on the type of bait you can use in specific areas or for certain species.
  6. Fishing Methods: Idaho has regulations on the fishing methods you can use, such as fly fishing, bait fishing, or using lures.

For detailed and up-to-date information on fishing regulations, seasons, and requirements in Idaho, it’s recommended to refer to the official Idaho Fish and Game website.

Remember, adhering to fishing regulations not only ensures you’re fishing legally but also contributes to the conservation of Idaho’s rich aquatic life.


Fishing in Idaho offers a unique blend of scenic beauty and diverse aquatic life, making it a haven for anglers. From the serene lakes to the rushing rivers, the state promises an unparalleled fishing experience. However, with such privilege comes the responsibility of adhering to regulations and ensuring sustainable fishing practices. By staying informed and following the rules, anglers can ensure that the rich fishing heritage of Idaho is preserved for future generations. Remember, fishing is not just a sport or a hobby; it’s a testament to our commitment to nature and its conservation.


Do I need a fishing license in Idaho?

All anglers in Idaho age 14 and over must purchase a fishing license. Idaho residents under age 14 do not need a fishing license. Non-residents under age 14 do not need a license if they are fishing with an adult who has a valid Idaho fishing license.

Where can I find the fishing rules and seasons for Idaho?

Most Idaho waters have year-round fishing seasons, but some have special rules and limited seasons. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s (IDFG) Fishing Seasons & Rules booklet provides this information. It is available online and at most sporting goods stores statewide.

What gear do I need to start fishing in Idaho?

For beginners, a simple 5- to 6-foot rod and reel combination with 4- to 8-pound monofilament fishing line is recommended. Additionally, pliers, a stringer or bucket, a knife, a ruler, fingernail clippers, and a cooler with ice are essential.

How can I learn to fish in Idaho?

Idaho Fish and Game offers several free events to help novice anglers. The “Take Me Fishing” trailers are set up at local ponds during the summer, stocked with equipment and staffed with knowledgeable individuals.

Where can I find the best fishing spots in Idaho?

The Angler Guide to the Gem State provides information on various fishing locations. IDFG has also identified dozens of choice spots throughout Idaho that are designated Family Fishing Waters, which are ideal for beginners and families.

How can I identify the fish I catch in Idaho?

Idaho boasts 42 species of game fish. The IDFG’s Fishing Seasons & Rules booklet provides illustrations and descriptions to assist anglers in identifying their catch.


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