Fishing in Florida

Fishing in Florida is world-class!

There are thousands of miles of coastline and waterways in Florida – lakes, rivers, fresh water, salt water, brackish tidal zones, inland, coastal, offshore and everything in between.

The entire state is filled with fishing spots and a huge variety of conditions and places to catch fish.

Because fishing in Florida is so location-dependent, local site conditions vary dramatically. Fishing offshore in the Florida Keys has almost nothing in common with freshwater fishing in a lake or river.

Saltwater Fishing

There are many options for saltwater fishing in Florida, including the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic coasts. 

Saltwater fishing opportunities are very diverse, ranging from fishing from the beach or shoreline to fishing from a kayak, boat, fishing pier or other method.

Nearshore fishing is often the most accessible form of saltwater fishing. This refers to fishing in waters close to the shore, typically within a few miles. It’s a good option for beginners or those who prefer calmer waters.

Deep sea fishing takes place further offshore, often to target larger game fish like marlin, tuna, or sailfish. This type of fishing usually requires a charter boat or a vessel which is capable of safely venturing offshore into deep water.

Fishing piers are a good option for people who aren’t comfortable on boats, or who prefer to avoid the expensive costs of boating. Many piers in Florida have designated fishing areas with fish cleaning stations, bait and tackle shops and other accommodations. Piers are often great and and can offer easy access to a variety of saltwater fish species.

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Freshwater Fishing

Florida is filled with freshwater lakes, rivers, springs and other freshwater bodies of water. Common freshwater fishing species include bass, catfish, crappie and others.

Florida Fishing License Requirements

A fishing license is required in Florida for most people who attempt to catch a fish, including catch and release. Fishing license requirements apply for freshwater and saltwater fish species. 

Some people are exempt from needing a fishing license in Florida, including: 

  • Young people under 16 years of age
  • Florida residents who are 65+ years old
  • Disabled Florida residents
  • And others

There are other special situations which may apply, as well. For example, passengers on a paid fishing charter vessel may not require licenses if the charter captain’s license covers passengers. Fishing piers also have specific license requirements which vary based on the location. For details its’ always best to check with the specific site representatives or the Florida FWC at 

There are some designated license-free fishing days throughout the year when fishing license requirements are waived state-wide for both visitors and residents. 

Florida FWC also has online mobile applications to buy, renew and manage fishing licenses. There are apps for iPhone and Android.


The Florida FWC license page can be frustrating to navigate. Here are useful shortcuts to relevant pages:

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