If you’re in Idaho and looking to go fishing, it’s important to get your Idaho Fishing License first.
Idaho is known for having some of the best trout and bass fishing around, so anglers should take advantage of what Idaho offers by getting their licenses before they start casting.
If you’re unsure about what you need to get your license, we’ve broken it down so you’ll have all the information you need to pick the right one.
Going fishing in Idaho? Then give a read to our Best Bass Fishing Lakes in Idaho review.
Table of Contents
Who Needs a Fishing License in Idaho?
|Idaho Fishing License Age Requirements||Residents||Non-residents|
|14+ Years old||14+ Years old|
To fish in Idaho legally, any person 14 years old or older must have a valid fishing license. Those younger than 14 don’t need a license, though there is a slight difference between resident and non-resident youth.
In addition to the regular fishing requirements, Idaho Fish and Game requires special fishing permits for certain activities, such as salmon and steelhead fishing and fishing with two poles – this applies to both residents and non-residents alike.
What Age Do You Need an Idaho Fishing License?
Idaho residents under the age of 14 can purchase a youth fishing license, granting them their own individual bagging limits.
Someone with a valid fishing license must accompany non-resident Non-resident children to include their fish in the license holder’s bag limits. However, they can purchase their own license and have a separate limit if they wish.
Salmon and Steelhead Permit
|Salmon or Steelhead||$15.25|
All anglers fishing for steelhead or salmon in Idaho must have a valid fishing license and a salmon or steelhead permit.
This is applicable even if you are fishing for hatchery salmon or steelhead stocked by Idaho Fish and Game in either the Boise River or Hells Canyon Reservoir.
Two Poles Permit
With this permit, you can fish with two rods at once; one stationary rod to set bait and the other to actively fish lures.
How to Buy an Idaho Fishing License
You can purchase your Idaho fishing license online, at a regional office, from a license vendor, or by calling: 1-800-554-8685. An additional processing fee is associated with applications made via phone or online.
To get your fishing license online, visit the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s official website: Go Outdoors Idaho.
You can purchase your license there and print it out immediately after purchase.
If you want to buy a fishing license in Idaho, one convenient way is to walk into a regional office of the Idaho Fish and Game. Here’s a list of the state’s nine Fish and Game offices:
|Idaho Fish and Game Regional Office|
|Panhandle Region||2885 W. Kathleen Ave. Coeur d’Alene, ID 83815||(208) 769-1414|
|Clearwater Region||3316 16th St. Lewiston, ID 83501||(208) 799-5010|
|Southwest Region North McCall||555 Deinhard Lane McCall, ID 83638||(208) 634-8137|
|Southwest Region South – Nampa||15950 N. Gate Blvd Nampa, ID 83687||(208) 465-8465|
|Magic Valley Region||324 South 417 East – Suite 1 Jerome, ID 83338||(208) 324-4359|
|Southeast Region||1345 Barton Road Pocatello, ID 83204||(208) 232-4703|
|Upper Snake Region||4279 Commerce Circle Idaho Falls, ID 83401||(208) 525-7290|
|Salmon Region||99 Hwy. 93 N. Salmon, ID 83467||(208) 756-2271|
|Headquarters Office||Mailing: P.O. Box 25, Boise, ID 83707||(208) 334-3700|
|Street: 600 S. Walnut, Boise, ID 83712|
How Much is a Fishing License in Idaho
See the table below from Idaho’s government website for current and locked price information for Idaho residents enrolled in the Price Lock program.
If you have maintained an annual Idaho resident fishing license since 2017 or purchased any 3-year license, you’ll get to keep the 2017 prices.
|Resident License Fees|
|License||Price||Locked Price||License Requirements (If applicable)|
|Combination – Adult Hunting License and Fishing||$38.75||$33.50|
|Combination – Adult Hunting License and Fishing – 3 Year||$97.00||$97.00|
|Combination – Junior Hunting and Fishing (14-17 yrs)||$19.00||$17.50|
|Combination – Junior Hunting and Fishing (14-17 yrs) – 3 Year||$49.00||$49.00|
|Combination – Senior Hunting and Fishing (65+ yrs)||$13.75||$11.75||Must have lived in the state for six months before submitting their application for a fishing license.|
|Combination – Senior Hunting and Fishing (65+ yrs) – 3 Year||$33.50||$31.75||Must have lived in the state for six months before submitting their fishing license application.|
|Combination – Sportsman’s Package||$144.60||$124.25||RESIDENTS ONLY – The Sportsman’s Package includes all rights and privileges that come with the Resident Adult Combination License plus tags for:deer elk bear mountain lionwolfturkeySalmonsteelheadArchery and muzzleloader are validated on the license.|
|Disabled Veterans – Fishing||$5.75||$5.00||RESIDENTS ONLY – you must show proof from the Veterans Affairs office in a letter or statement indicating that you have either disability percentage or non-service connected pension with at least 40% disability.|
|Disabled Veterans – Combination Hunting and Fishing||$5.75||$5.00||RESIDENTS ONLY – you must show proof from the Veterans Affairs office in a letter or statement indicating that you have either disability percentage or non-service connected pension with at least 40% disability.|
|Disabled Persons – Fishing||$5.75||$5.00||RESIDENTS ONLY – must be able to show you are both disabled and economically disadvantaged. This can be demonstrated through a letter from SSI, SSDI, or Railroad Retirement board, or a signed and completed Certification of Permanent Disability [PDF, 244 KB] form.|
|Disabled Persons – Combination Hunting and Fishing||$5.75||$5.00||RESIDENTS ONLY – must be able to show you are both disabled and economically disadvantaged. This can be demonstrated through a letter from SSI, SSDI, or Railroad Retirement board or a signed and completed Certification of Permanent Disability [PDF, 244 KB] form.|
|Disabled Persons – Combination Hunting and Fishing – 3 Year||$11.50||$11.50||RESIDENTS ONLY – must be able to show you are both disabled and economically disadvantaged. This can be demonstrated through a letter from SSI, SSDI, or Railroad Retirement board, or a signed and completed Certification of Permanent Disability [PDF, 244 KB] form.|
|Annual Fishing License – Adult||$30.50||$25.75|
|Fishing – Adult – 3 Year||$73.75||$73.75|
|Fishing – Daily (first day)||$13.50||$11.50||+$6.00, (+$5.00 if locked) for each consecutive day after the initial time of purchase.|
|Fishing – Junior (14-17 yrs)||$16.00||$13.75|
|Fishing – Junior (14-17 yrs) – 3 Year||$37.75||$37.75|
|Military Furlough – Combination Hunting and Fishing||$20.50||$17.50||RESIDENTS ONLY – those who are actively serving in the U.S. military and have maintained their official state of residence as indicated on their Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) can purchase a fishing license while they are on leave.|
|Military Furlough – Fishing||$20.50||$17.50||RESIDENTS ONLY – those who are actively serving in the U.S. military and have maintained their official state of residence as indicated on their Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) can purchase a fishing license while they are on leave.|
Idaho Out-of-State Fishing License
Non-residents of Idaho have different prices and fishing regulations than residents.
The most important one to remember is that youth under 14 years old who want their own fish limit (not tied to an accompanying adult) must buy a junior fishing license.
|Idaho Non-resident Fishing License|
|Fishing – Adult||$108.00|
|Fishing – Adult – 3 Year||$320.50|
|Fishing – Daily (first day)||$22.75|
|Salmon/Steelhead – 3-Day||$44.75|
|Fishing – Junior (14-17 yrs)||$67.75|
All Idaho residents are eligible to purchase a lifetime fishing license, granting them the same privileges as an annual license.
These licenses never expire, lasting the duration of the license holder’s life, and can only be purchased at IDFG offices.
|Lifetime Fishing Lienses|
|Ages 2 – 50||$841.75|
|Ages 0 – 1||$601.75|
Idaho Fishing Seasons
Idaho is divided into seven fish and game regions that all have their own regulations and restrictions that need to be followed.
Idaho’s seven regions are:
- Clearwater Region
- Panhandle Region
- Salmon Region
- Upper Snake Region
- Magic Valley Region
- Southeast Region
- Southwest Region
In the Clearwater Region, all waters are open for fishing year-round. However, fishing is subject to Idaho’s fish and game laws on the Snake River, where it forms the boundary between Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
Fishing from the shoreline, sloughs, or tributaries on the Oregon or Washington side is prohibited.
Any angler with an Oregon or Washington license has the same rights and restrictions as those with an Idaho license.
In the Panhandle Region, all waters are open for fishing year-round.
Most bodies of water in the Panhandle region limit fishing from December 1st-Memorial Day. Most of these areas only allow two trout to be harvested per day per person.
Finally, some rivers like Trestle Creek and its branches are closed to fishing all year round.
Limits and regulations depending on the species of fish:
- Bass (Largemouth and Smallmouth): 6, both species combined
- Brook Trout: 25
- Bull Trout: 0, catch-and-release only
- Burbot: 6
- Chinook Salmon (land-locked): 2, none under 20 inches
- Kokanee: 15
- Sturgeon: 0; Fishing for or targeting sturgeon in the Kootenai River is illegal
- Tiger Muskie: 2, none under 40 inches
- Trout includes Brown Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Golden Trout, Lake trout, Rainbow Trout, Splake and Arctic Grayling but not Bull Trout or Brook Trout; 6 all species combined
- Whitefish: 25
- All Other Fish Species including bullfrogs and crayfish have no bag, size or possession limits.
In the Salmon Region, all fish species can be fished except for Sturgeon. However, each destination has unique rules and regulations about when fishing is allowed and how much can be harvested.
Upper Snake Region
The Upper Snake Region offers anglers a wide range of fish species to fish all year round with minimal restrictions. However, Cutthroat trout may not be harvested at Beaver Creek, Fish Creek, Fall River, and Henry Fork.
Certain lakes like Henrys Lake and Golden Lake almost always remain open throughout the year.
In addition, Rainbow Trout cannot be harvested from certain fishing spots, such as the Teton River, which is commonly closed for fishing in June.
Magic Valley Region
Fishing of all species is allowed at any time of the year in the Magic Valley Region, so long as anglers stay within their bag limit. Failure to do so may result in penalties.
Fishing any species is allowed in the Southeast Region during its open season, typically year-round. Sturgeon fishing is only permitted with a catch-and-release policy.
Fishing season is open all year round in the Southwest Region, but certain water bodies have limitations. These may include a lowered bag limit for certain species (two or fewer) and a catch-and-release policy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you need a fishing license in Idaho for catch and release?
You do need a fishing license in Idaho for catch and release. Some regions in the state only allow this type of fishing for certain species.
How old do you have to be to buy a fishing license in Idaho?
There is no age limit regarding how old you have to be to buy a fishing license in Idaho. However, anyone under 14 years old does not need a license to fish.
When is the best time to buy an Idaho fishing license?
The best time to buy an Idaho fishing license is on January 1st, which expires at the end of each calendar year on December 31st.
It’s important to remember to get your fishing license to fish legally. You can help protect the waters from overfishing, pollution, and other environmental issues with a license.
Obtaining a valid fishing license also supports Idaho’s Department of Fish and Game, which protects the state’s fish resources.
Thankfully getting your fishing license in Idaho is simple, go online or visit a retailer. Once you’ve gotten your Idaho fishing license, download our fishing lures cheatsheet.
It helps you always know the best lure to throw, no matter where you’re fishing.