Complete Guide to Fishing License, Fees, and Regulations in Kansas

Fishing in Kansas offers a rich experience for both novice and seasoned anglers. With its diverse aquatic habitats and abundant fish species, the state has become a sought-after destination for fishing enthusiasts. However, to ensure sustainable fishing practices and conservation of aquatic resources, the state of Kansas has established specific regulations and requirements. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of fishing license in Kansas, fees, and regulations in Kansas, ensuring that you have all the necessary information to fish responsibly and legally in the state.

Kansas, with its numerous lakes, rivers, and reservoirs, offers a plethora of opportunities for anglers. Whether you’re looking to catch bass in the serene waters of a local lake or trout in a fast-flowing river, understanding the state’s fishing regulations is crucial. Not only does it ensure that you’re fishing legally, but it also contributes to the conservation efforts of the state, ensuring that future generations can enjoy the same fishing opportunities.

Who Needs a Fishing License in Kansas?

In Kansas, fishing is a popular recreational activity enjoyed by many. However, to ensure the conservation of fish populations and maintain the ecological balance, the state has set forth specific licensing requirements.

Residents Age 16-74: Residents between the ages of 16 and 74 must have a resident fishing license in their possession while fishing in Kansas, unless they are exempt by law.

Non-residents Age 16 and Older: All non-residents aged 16 and above are required to have a valid nonresident fishing license to fish in Kansas. This includes fishing in public waters and does not apply to private ponds not leased for public fishing.


  • Landowners and their immediate family members living with them are exempt from fishing license requirements on waters on their own land.
  • Tenants renting land for agricultural purposes and members of their immediate family living with them are also exempt on waters on their own land.
  • Kansas residents who are at least one-sixteenth American Indian by blood, certified by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, can apply for a free fishing license.
  • Active members of the Kansas Army or Air National Guard are eligible for free fishing licenses.
  • Legal Kansas residents with a disability certified by the Kansas Commission On Veterans Affairs as being service-connected (equal to or greater than 30 percent) can apply for free hunting and fishing licenses.

Special Considerations: Residents who have maintained their primary residence in Kansas for at least 60 days prior to purchasing a license are considered residents. A residency of at least one year is required to purchase lifetime licenses.

Types of Fishing Licenses in Kansas and Their Costs

License/Permit TypeFee
Lifetime Senior Resident Hunt/Fish Combination$42.50
Senior Resident Fish$15.00
Senior Resident Combination Hunt/Fish$25.00
Resident 1-Day Fish License$6.00
Resident Fishing$27.50
Resident Combination Fish & Hunt$47.50
5 Year Resident Fish License$102.50
Lifetime Fishing (Residents only)$502.50
Combo Lifetime Fishing & Hunting (Residents only)$962.50
Nonresident Fishing$52.50
Nonresident Combination Fish & Hunt$137.50
Nonresident Five-Day Fishing$27.50
Nonresident 1-Day Fishing$10.00
Trout Permit (adult)$14.50
Trout Permit (youth)$7.00
Paddlefish Permit$12.50
Youth (15 and younger) Paddlefish Permit$7.50
Hand Fishing Permit$27.50
Bass Pass$14.50
Three Pole Permit$8.50
Duplicates (All Licenses/Permits)$2.50

It’s essential to choose the right license based on your fishing plans and duration. Always ensure that you’re compliant with the state’s regulations to enjoy a hassle-free fishing experience.

Licensing Process: How to Obtain a Fishing License in Kansas

  • Online Purchase: Fishing licenses can be acquired online through the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism website.
  • Licensed Agents: Fishing licenses are available from all licensed agents across the state.
  • KDWP Offices: Visit any Kansas Department Wildlife, Parks and Tourism office.
  • Telephone Purchase: Call 1-833-587-2164.
  • License Validity: All licenses expire 365 days from the date of purchase, except for specific types.
  • Special Licenses: For the National Guard and disabled veterans.
  • Youth License: For anglers aged 16-20.
  • Payment Plans for Lifetime Licenses: Option to divide the total cost into eight quarterly payments.

Regulations & Requirements

Fishing is not just a recreational activity in Kansas; it’s a tradition that many residents and visitors cherish. However, to ensure the sustainability of fish populations and maintain the ecological balance of Kansas waters, certain regulations and requirements have been set in place. Here’s a comprehensive look at the fishing regulations and requirements in Kansas:

Fishing License Requirements

  1. Residents: Residents aged 16 through 74 must possess a valid fishing license when fishing in Kansas. However, there are exceptions:
    • Landowners and their immediate families are exempt from fishing license requirements on waters on their own land, with certain conditions.
    • Residents aged 65-74 can opt for a senior Lifetime Pass, which is a combination hunting/fishing license valid for their lifetime at $42.50. Alternatively, they can choose half-price 365-day fishing licenses.
    • Kansas residents enrolled as American Indians on a federally recognized tribal membership roll can apply for a free fishing license.
    • Active members of the Kansas Army or Air National Guard are eligible for free fishing and hunting licenses.
    • Residents with a permanent physical disability preventing them from fishing may apply for a Disability Assistance Permit, allowing a designated person to fish on their behalf.
  2. Non-residents: All nonresidents aged 16 and older must have a valid nonresident license to fish in Kansas. Nonresidents on active military duty stationed in Kansas and nonresident students studying in Kansas qualify for resident fishing licenses.

Special Licenses and Permits

  • Three-pole Permit: Anyone, irrespective of age, must purchase a three-pole permit to fish with three poles simultaneously. The cost is $8.50 for both residents and nonresidents.
  • Tournament Black Bass Pass: From September 1 to June 15, anglers participating in bass fishing tournaments possessing a Tournament Black Bass Pass ($14.50) can keep five fish as part of their five-fish limit to be released post weigh-in. These fish must meet the statewide 15-inch minimum length limit but can be under a special length limit for the lake being fished.
  • Handfishing Permit: Handfishing enthusiasts need to purchase a permit priced at $27.50, applicable for both residents and nonresidents.

License Requirements on Private Land

A fishing license is mandatory on all public waters. Additionally, many private lands require a license, including:

  • Private impoundments with a stream or river flowing into or out of them.
  • Private impoundments owned or operated by multiple individuals or groups.
  • Guests of landowners fishing on streams and rivers on solely owned or operated land.
  • Any impoundment stocked by the state within the last decade.

The sole owner of an impoundment or the land through which a stream flows is exempt from having a fishing license. Guests may fish on private land without a fishing license if it’s a private waters fishing impoundment.

Special Event Permit

Special events conducted on KDWP-managed lands and waters might require special event permits under certain conditions, such as charging an entrance fee, selling merchandise, or holding an organized competition. The special event permit fee is negotiated based on the event type, required services, and lost revenue, with a maximum fee of $200.

Important Reminders

  • Always ensure you have the necessary licenses and permits before heading out to fish.
  • Respect the local regulations and guidelines to ensure sustainable fishing practices.
  • Always practice catch and release if you’re unsure about the fish’s size or species.

By adhering to these regulations and requirements, anglers can ensure a sustainable and enjoyable fishing experience in Kansas for generations to come.

Renewal: Process and Requirements for Renewing a Fishing License in Kansas

Renewing your fishing license in Kansas is made convenient with the “auto-renew” feature provided by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. Here’s what you need to know about the renewal process:

  1. Auto-Renew Feature: Hunters, anglers, and state park visitors have the option to “auto-renew” select licenses and permits when purchasing online at
  2. Eligibility for Auto-Renew: Licenses and permits eligible for auto-renew include:
    • Combination Licenses & Permits: Resident Annual Combo (Hunt/Fish), Nonresident Annual Combo (Hunt/Fish), Senior Annual Combo (Hunt/Fish; age 65-74), Resident 5-year Combo (Hunt/Fish).
    • Fishing Licenses & Permits: Resident Annual Fish, Nonresident Annual Fish, Senior Annual Fish (age 65-74), Resident 5-year Fish, Trout Permit, Three-pole Permit, Tournament Black Bass Pass, Hand Fishing Permit.
  3. Auto-Renewal Timing: Enrolled licenses and permits will automatically renew one year from the date of purchase, with the exception of five-year licenses, which expire and renew five years or 1,825 days from the date of purchase.
  4. Enrollment Process: Eligible licenses and permits may be enrolled in auto-renew at any time by logging into your account on and selecting the auto-renew option.
  5. Opting Out: If you change your mind after enrolling, you can opt out of auto-renew at any time.
  6. Notification: You will be notified via e-mail prior to any renewal purchases made on your card, allowing you to confirm your payment information and residency status.
  7. Receiving Renewed Licenses: After your annual purchase is made, you must log on to and print your licenses and permits. Note that you will not receive a mailed copy.
  8. Payment Methods: Both credit and debit cards can be used for the auto-renew feature.
  9. No Additional Fee: There is no additional fee for using the auto-renew feature.

By utilizing the auto-renew feature, anglers can ensure that their fishing licenses remain valid, allowing them to continue enjoying the fishing opportunities that Kansas has to offer without any interruptions. Always remember to check the expiration date of your license and renew it in a timely manner to stay compliant with state regulations.

Additional Fishing Tips for Anglers in Kansas

Fishing is an art, and like any art, it requires a combination of skill, patience, and the right techniques. For those who are passionate about fishing in Kansas, here are some valuable tips to enhance your angling experience:

1. Keeping Cool While Summer Fishing

Summer in Kansas can get pretty hot. It’s essential to stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun. If you’re fishing on a particularly sunny day, make sure to wear a hat, use sunscreen, and drink plenty of water. Remember, the fish can also get affected by the heat. They might go deeper into the water to stay cool, so adjust your fishing techniques accordingly.

2. Teaching Kids to Fish in Kansas

Kansas has numerous well-stocked and easily accessible fisheries, making it an excellent place to introduce children to angling. Ensure they have a fun experience by choosing locations where they are likely to catch fish. It’s not just about the catch; it’s about instilling a love for the sport.

3. Winter Fishing Tips

Many fish become dormant in colder temperatures, making them harder to catch. However, crappie is an exception. They thrive in cooler waters and can be found in deeper parts of the water during summer. In winter, they move to warmer shallow waters. When fishing for crappie, look for underwater structures like brush piles. Using ultralight rods with light line can be effective.

4. Handling Live Fish with Care

If you’re practicing catch and release, it’s crucial to handle the fish with care to ensure their survival after being released. Quick releases, without keeping the fish out of the water for too long, are recommended.

5. Lure Contrasts for Effectiveness

Choosing the right lure can make all the difference. Some anglers believe that lures with contrasting colors are more effective in attracting fish. Experiment with different colors and see what works best in the waters you’re fishing in.

6. Fishing in Smaller Ponds

If you’re not having much luck in larger reservoirs, consider trying out smaller local ponds. These can often be goldmines for bass and other fish. Remember to vary your techniques and lures based on the water body you’re fishing in. Read more

These are just a few tips to help you make the most of your fishing adventures in Kansas. Remember, fishing is as much about the experience as it is about the catch. So, enjoy the process, respect the environment, and happy fishing!

FAQ: Fishing Licenses in Kansas

1. I lost my license. How do I get a new one?

If you’ve misplaced your fishing license, you can request a replacement through the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s official website or at any licensed vendor.

2. I purchased my license online but couldn’t print it. What should I do?

If you encounter printing issues after purchasing your license online, you can log back into your account on the official website and reprint your license.

3. I purchased a second license by mistake. How do I get a refund?

For any issues related to duplicate license purchases, it’s best to contact the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism directly for assistance.

4. Can I purchase a license by phone?

Yes, licenses can be purchased over the phone. You can call the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism for more details.

5. Where can I get a copy of the fishing regulations and license requirements for Kansas?

A comprehensive summary of fishing regulations and license requirements is available on the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s official website.

6. Who needs a license, and where can I get one?

All residents aged 16 through 74 and non-residents aged 16 and older need a fishing license to fish in Kansas, unless exempted. Licenses can be purchased online, by phone, or at licensed vendors.

7. Do I need a license if I’m only helping my kids fish?

If you’re only assisting and not actively fishing yourself, you typically don’t need a license. However, if you engage in fishing, a license is required.

8. I am disabled. Do I need to purchase a fishing license?

Kansas offers certain exemptions and permits for individuals with disabilities. It’s best to check the official guidelines for specific details.

9. Does a person assisting an angler need a license?

If the assisting individual is not actively fishing, they don’t need a license. However, if they participate in the fishing activity, a license is mandatory.

10. Is night fishing allowed in Kansas?

Yes, night fishing is permitted in Kansas. However, anglers should be aware of any specific regulations or restrictions for the water body they’re fishing in.

11. Can I help another person catch his or her limit of fish?

Assisting another angler is allowed, but you must ensure that you’re adhering to the bag limits and regulations set by the state.

12. Is there a law restricting the number of fish I can have in my freezer?

While there are daily bag limits for fishing, there’s no specific regulation about the number of fish you can store in your freezer. However, it’s essential to fish responsibly and sustainably.

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