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Tennessee Fishing License: How to Get One in 2024

Tennessee Fishing License: How to Get One in 2024

Tennessee fishing licenses are mandatory for both residents and nonresidents alike to engage in fishing activities within the state’s rivers, lakes and streams. To get the proper TN fishing license, you must purchase one through the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA). Buying fishing licenses requires applicants to submit a few credentials, such as proof of your state residency status and identification. Prior to completing the fishing license application, consider taking one of several available fishing education courses in TN. Additional support for both novice and experienced anglers is available through various fishing organizations present throughout the state. Read below for more information on certain fishing license topics:

  • TN fishing licenses
  • TN fishing education
  • TN fishing organizations

Types of Fishing Licenses in Tennessee

Both residents of the state and Tennessee visitors can obtain a fishing license as long as they gather the proper documents and have payment ready for select fees. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency offers two main classifications of recreational fishing licenses:

  • Residential fishing licenses
  • Non residential fishing licenses

Residential Fishing Licenses

Residential fishing licenses in Tennessee are issued to any resident of the state who would like to fish in TN public waters. To be considered a resident, you must meet at least one of the residency requirements:

  • Hold a valid Tennessee driver’s license issued within 30 days of establishing residency.
  • Hold a valid out-of-state driver’s license if you are an active-duty military member or student attending an educational institution in Tennessee.
    • Military members must be stationed in the state
    • Students must have enrolled in a TN educational institution for at least six months.
  • Non-drivers may present one of the following documents proving residency after living in Tennessee for at least 90 consecutive days:
    • A current TN voter registration card
    • A current TN car registration/title
    • Form I-94 from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service
    • Current rental/mortgage agreement

When buying fishing licenses, you are required to present your Social Security Number to TWRA officials during the application process. TN fishing licenses can be purchased in various manners, including the following: in person through a TN county clerk, at a sporting goods store, a boat dock, a hardware store or any TWRA office. Licenses can also be purchased online through the Tennessee Online License Center. The fees for residential recreational fishing licenses vary depending on the length of the license’s validity and the applicant’s age:

  • Annual hunting and fishing license: $34
  • Junior trapping, fishing and hunting license (ages 13 through 15): $10
  • County of residence fishing license (valid only in the county you reside in): $11
  • One-day fishing license: $6.50
  • Annual trout fishing license: $22
  • One-day fishing license (all species): $11.50
  • South Holston Lake permit: $22
  • Sportsman license (valid for all hunting, trapping and fishing): $166
  • Lifetime Sportsman license (younger than 3 years of age): $200
  • Lifetime Sportsman license (3 through 6 years of age): $659
  • Lifetime Sportsman license (7 through 12 years of age): $988
  • Lifetime Sportsman license (13 through 50 years of age): $1,976
  • Lifetime Sportsman license (51 through 64 years of age): $1,153
  • Lifetime Sportsman (65 years of age or older): $329
  • Annual senior citizen hunting, fishing and trapping license (65 years of age or older): $5
  • Annual senior citizen Sportsman license: $50

In addition to regular residential hunting licenses, TWRA also offers a variety of permanent fishing licenses with no expiration date for specialized groups of individuals:

  • Permanent sport fishing license for the blind: $10
  • Permanent wheelchair hunting and fishing license: $10
  • Permanent DAV hunting and fishing license: $10
  • Permanent mentally challenged fishing license: $10
  • Permanent senior citizen hunting, fishing and trapping license (65 years of age or older): $50

These fees may change without notice.

Non-Residential Fishing Licenses

Tennessee visitors who do not qualify for residential fishing licenses can purchase out of state fishing licenses through the TWRA. Non-residential fishing licenses are categorized by the applicant’s age and the length of time the license will be valid for:

  • Junior hunting and fishing license (ages 13 through 15): $11
  • Annual fishing license (no trout): $50
  • Three-day fishing license (no trout): $20.50
  • Three-day fishing license (all species): $40.50
  • Ten-day fishing license (no trout): $30.50
  • Ten-day fishing license (all species): $61.50
  • Annual fishing license (all species): $99

Non residential licenses can be purchased in person at local Tennessee county clerk offices, sporting goods stores, boat docks, hardware stores, any TWRA office or online through the Tennessee Online License Center.

Fishing Education in Tennessee

Both novice and advanced anglers in Tennessee are provided with several opportunities to advance their fishing skills by way of fishing education courses. One of the most prevalent courses in the state are considered youth fishing outreach programs. These programs are held around the same time as the TWRA’s Free Fishing Day, a single day in June each year when the state’s general public can enjoy fishing privileges without a fishing license. In addition to youth outreach programs, the TWRA offers programs for adults who would like to expand their skills, as well as educational supplement materials to interested parties.


Certain specialized programs listed below are also sponsored by the TWRA:

  • Becoming an Outdoors-Woman workshops
  • High school environmental studies competitions
  • Backyard “wildscaping” workshops

Fishing programs offered by the TWRA are all free to the public.

Fishing Organizations in Tennessee

A number of fishing organizations in the state allow local anglers to connect with one other. Certain  fishing organizations that have a large presence in the state include:

  • The Tennessee Bass Federation
  • The American Bass Anglers
  • The Middle Tennessee Bass Anglers

The Tennessee Bass Federation (TBF) focuses on supporting bass anglers throughout the state, while also offering political and financial support to the TWRA and other state fishing organizations. The TBF holds an annual Championship Tournament with prize giveaways and it strives to educate anglers about proper wildlife conservation and fishing tactics.

The American Bass Anglers (ABA) holds regular competitions in various areas around Tennessee with prizes made available for anglers who catch the biggest fish. Through educational efforts and a focus on conservation, the ABA aims to improve the angling community one day at a time.

The Middle Tennessee Bass Anglers (MTBA) is a sub-group of the TN Bass Foundation, aiming to build fellowship among anglers through hands-on educational opportunities. In addition to supporting the angling community, the MTBA holds local competitions on a regular basis.