Do You Need a Fishing License in Tennessee?

Tennessee is a state that is known for its scenic beauty and rich history. It is also known for its abundant fishing opportunities. Fishing is a popular pastime in Tennessee, and many people enjoy taking advantage of the state’s natural resources. However, before you cast your line into the water, knowing whether or not you need a fishing license in Tennessee is essential.

The short answer is yes; you need a Tennessee fishing license if you plan to fish in public waters. Tennessee law requires all anglers, regardless of age, to have a valid fishing license in their possession while fishing in public waters. This includes all rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds that are owned by the state or accessible to the public.

TN Fishing Licenses

Tennessee has several different types of fishing licenses, including annual, 7-day, and 3-day licenses. The cost of the license varies depending on the length of time you want it to be valid, as well as your residency status. Tennessee residents typically pay less for a fishing license than non-residents. The Volunteer State issues electronic licenses that are entirely valid. This makes keeping your license on your person a snap – it is right on your smartphone. Some of the most popular include:

  • County of Residence Fishing $10
  • Avid Angler Package $60
  • Combo Hunt/Fish $39
  • 1 Day Fishing No Trout $6.00
  • 1 Day Fishing (All Species) $11.00
  • Non-resident, 1-, 3, or 10-day Permits are available. Contact TWRA for pricing.

Extra Fishing Endorsements

In addition to a standard fishing license, several other permits and endorsements may be required depending on the type of fishing you plan to do or in specific locations. For example, you may need a special trout stamp if you plan to fish for trout in certain streams.

  • Annual Trout Stamp $21
  • 3-Day Gatlinburg Trout Permit $9
  • 1-Day Gatlinburg Trout Permit $11
  • South Holston Lake Permit $20
  • Land Between the Lakes Permit $25
  • 3-Day Reelfoot Preservation Permit $10
  • 1-Day Reelfoot Preservation Permit $3
  • Annual Reelfoot Preservation Permit $16

It is important to note that fishing regulations and requirements can change yearly, so it is always a good idea to check the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s website for the most up-to-date information.

If you are caught fishing without a valid license or permit in Tennessee, you could face a fine of up to $500 and potential revocation of your fishing privileges. So, it is always better to be safe than sorry and ensure you have all the necessary paperwork before heading out on the water.

East Tennessee Fly Fishing

If you plan to fish in public waters in Tennessee, you will need a valid fishing license. Several different types of licenses are available, so be sure to choose the one that best fits your needs. And remember, always check the current regulations and requirements before you go fishing to ensure that you comply with the law.

East Tennessee Fly Fishing offers guided fishing services in some of the best waters across the Volunteer State. Contact us to learn more about guided fishing services or shuttle services on specific waterways.


The river is calling. Create your memorable experience on the water with our expert guided fly fishing trips.