One of the most common questions visitors to the beautiful Alabama Gulf Coast pose is who needs a fishing license to enjoy the abundant fishing opportunities.
The answer is almost everyone will need some form of a license or be on the saltwater registry to fish in coastal waters. The exception is if you take a trip with one of the many inshore, nearshore or offshore charter vessels, which will have a boat license that covers its clients.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Marine Resources Division provides a map to determine the waters where saltwater licenses are required.
Annual and seven-day trip licenses are available for residents and non-residents. This license is also required for cast netting, flounder gigging, and recreational crab traps. Alabama uses a reciprocal license system for non-residents, charging the residents of that state a similar fee an Alabama resident would pay in their state. For instance, a Louisiana resident would pay $129.15 for an annual saltwater fishing license in Alabama. Florida residents would pay $48.15 for the same license. All other states are charged $57 for the yearly license.
If you’re planning to head into the Gulf of Mexico on a private boat to catch the numerous reef fish species, like red snapper, triggerfish, mangrove snapper, or grouper, you will need a Reef Fish Endorsement, which is $10 per individual. Again, charter boats have a vessel endorsement that covers all their clients. You can learn more on the Alabama Outdoor site.