Fishing Licenses and Permits in St Petersburg, Florida

St Petersburg in Florida is known for its beautiful beaches and warm climate, but perhaps most of all, it is known for its fantastic fishing! You can fish in St. Petersburg and the surroundings on the many local rivers, creeks, lakes, ponds, but also in the bays, estuaries, intercostal water ways, and the Gulf of Mexico.

Find out what you need to know about Florida fishing licenses and permits in the blog below!

A man sitting on a boat holding two large red snapper fish, displaying his catch with a valid fishing license, with the ocean in the background.

Do you need a Fishing License in St Petersburg, Florida?

Fishing Licenses are required for fishing in all of Florida's fresh and saltwater. To fish in St Petersburg, you will need a fishing license.

There are a few exceptions when you don’t need a fishing license, including:

  • If you get aboard a for-hire boat whose operator has a fishing license.
  • If you fish from a vessel whose operator has a fishing license.
  • If you're under 16 years of age.
  • If you're a resident senior over 65 years of age.
  • If you are a resident who is a member of the armed forces, is not stationed in Florida, and is home for 30 days or less.
  • If you fish on a Free Fishing Day.
  • If you are observing or filming someone fishing but not assisting in the catch.
  • If you fish for leisure from a pier and hold a pier fishing license.
  • If you hold a saltwater products license or an FWC charter captain license.
Otherwise, you need to request your fishing license before fishing trips.

Note that if you are fishing with a legal fishing company, like Reel Coquina Fishing, you do not need a license as this is the company's responsibility.

If you are going on a charter past 9 miles you are fishing in federal waters and the boat must be licensed with federal permits these should be displayed the port side of the vessel and regulations can differ from state and federal waters
A man standing on a boat holding a large fish, with fishing rods in the background and displaying his catch with a valid fishing license. 

Florida Fishing Licenses

There are many different kinds of fishing licenses available in St Petersburg. The type of license required depends on what kind of fish you want to catch and in which body of water.

Residents can get a one- or five-year license, while non-residents can apply for a 3-days, 7-days, or a year license. The cost for a license varies between $17 and $79.

Freshwater Fishing Licenses

A freshwater license is needed to fish in lakes, ponds, or rivers, but not the ocean. You need to request a Freshwater Fishing License if you want to fish for one of the following:

Slipmouth, Catfish, Bowfin, Burbot (Ling), Sucker, Carp, Threadfin Shad, Gar, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Bluegill Sunfish, Redear Sunfish, Crappie (White perch), Sunfish aka bream, or Hybrid Striped Bass.

Saltwater Fishing Licenses

A saltwater license is needed to fish in St Petersburg’s waters, either in the Gulf of Mexico or the Bay. You need to request a saltwater license if you want to fish for one of the following:

Tarpon, King Mackerel, Sailfish, Cobia, Red Snapper, Sea Trout, Drum aka Goatfish, Sheepshead, Spanish Mackerel, Black Sea Bass, Cobia, Grouper (including Scamp, Black Grouper, Red Hind, Coney, Jewfish), Flounder (including Sand-, Saw-, School- and Flathead), Snook, Black Drum aka Channel Bass, Spotted Seatrout, Grunts (including Porkfish), Pinfish, Scup (Porgy), Jacks, Wahoo, Tuna, Shark, Kingfish.

Stay current on the Florida saltwater fishing regulations 2023 before heading out onto the water.

Two images of men holding large fish on a boat, with the ocean in the background. Both men display their catch along with their valid fishing licenses.

Florida Fishing Permits

Most fish can be caught with a regular salt or freshwater license, as long as they're legal to target. However, in Florida, there are three species for which an extra tag or permit is required:
Anglers in private boats also need a special permit to fish for popular reef species like Snappers and Groupers.
Those permits ensure better regulation of the fish populations. Reel Coquina Fishing is fully licensed and up to date.
Where to Get a Fishing License in Florida?
There are four options to get your St Petersburg Fishing Licenses:
  1. by calling toll-free 888-FISH-FLORIDA (888-347-4356).
  2. through the Fish/Hunt FL app available on Apple and Android devices.
  3. in person with a licensed agent, tax collector's office, or at the marina.

A man standing on a boat holding a large red snapper fish, with fishing rods and the ocean in the background, and displaying his catch along with a valid fishing license.