This information relates to Florida freshwater 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– like sporting goods stores, Walmart, or other retailers that sell hunting or fishing equipment. All license, permit and issuance fees are subject to change by the Florida legislature (i.e the prices listed below may change).
- Complete official rules can be found in the Wildlife Code online (see Chapter 68)
- Florida Statutes (for freshwater fishing see Chapter 379, F.S.)
- The Florida Constitution (FWC Article IV, Section 9)
The Best Resource is the PDF Guide here: http://myfwc.com/media/2578893/FWRegSum_Ad_Free.pdf
Recreational freshwater fishing licenses and fees
A fishing license is required to attempt to take native or nonnative freshwater fish in Florida.
Before purchasing a recreational freshwater fishing license or permit, please make sure you understand what qualifies as Florida residency and that you really need a license or permit based on the exemptions.
Annual recreational fishing licenses are valid for 12 months from the date of purchase or the alternate starting date if selected at the time of purchase, unless otherwise specified on the face of the license.
Bag & Length Limit Regulations
Statewide bag and length limits Special bag and length limits apply to some lakes, rivers and Fish Management Areas. Other fishes considered to be non-game fishes have no bag or possession limits, except as noted in individual Fish Management Area regulations.
Possession limit is two days’ bag limit. It is illegal to transport or possess more than two days’ bag limit of fish per licensed angler without a commercial license. Exceptions are fish legally acquired from aquaculturists (fish farmers) for use in aquaria, for brood stock, pond stocking or properly marked for the market. No native freshwater fish or their eggs may be taken or possessed except as permitted by these rules nor shall anyone wantonly or willfully waste the same.
5 Black bass (largemouth, Suwannee, spotted, and shoal bass, individually or in total), only one of which may be 22 inches or longer in total length.
– In south Florida: only one bass may be 14 inches in total length or longer.
– South and east of the Suwannee River: black bass less than 14 inches in total length must be released immediately.
– In the Suwannee River, areas north and west of the Suwannee River, and in any tributary river, creek or stream of the Suwannee River: black bass less than 12 inches in total length must be released immediately.
50 Panfish including bluegill, redear sunfish (shellcracker), flier, longear sunfish, mud sunfish, shadow bass, spotted sunfish (stumpknocker), warmouth and redbreast sunfish, individually or in total.
25 Crappie (speckled perch).
20 Striped bass, white bass, and sunshine bass (individually or in total), of which only 6 may be 24 inches or longer in total length.
– In the Suwannee River, areas north and west of the Suwannee River, and in any tributary, creek or stream of the Suwannee River: the bag limit for striped bass is 3, each of which must be at least 18 inches in total length (20 fish combined bag limit).
2 Butterfly peacock bass, only one of which may be 17 inches or longer in total length.
NOTE: It is illegal to possess grass carp or alligator gar without a permit; these fish must be released immediately. Black bass, striped bass and white bass or their hybrids, peacock bass, or crappie and panfish (for crappie and panfish, only in waters where minimum-length or slot-size limits for these fish apply) may not be filleted, nor their head or tail fin removed, until you are done fishing for the day.
Anglers participating in TrophyCatch, who are in compliance with TrophyCatch rules and fish handling guidelines, may be in temporary possession of one bass 13 pounds or greater over the legal length limit and bag limit while waiting for FWC staff certification. The fish must then be live-released in the water body where it was caught.