If you’re ready to conquer Tennessee’s lakes and rivers, a Tennessee fishing license is the first step towards having a successful experience.
Tennessee is a very popular state to fish for bass in and even has one of the top 20 bass fishing clubs in the United States at Bethel University.
So if you’re ready to try your hand in Kentucky lake, this guide will take you through everything you need to know about acquiring a fishing license in the Volunteer State – from paperwork requirements to permits for certain waters or gear.
Going fishing in Tennessee? Then give a read to our Best Bass Fishing Lakes in Tennessee review.
Table of Contents
Who Needs a Fishing License in Tennessee
|TN Fishing License Requirements
If you want to fish in Tennessee or help someone else do so, you will need to have a valid fishing license. The only exceptions are children under 13 years old, whether they are a resident or non-residents of the state.
An annual fishing license or permit issued in Tennessee is valid for 365 days from the date of purchase unless otherwise specified.
Certain items such as Migratory Bird Permits will have a set expiration date regardless of when they were purchased.
Licenses must be no more than 10 days past due to be eligible for renewal.
Note that license fees and seasons may vary, but the exceptions to this rule are Captive Wildlife Permits, Migratory Bird Permits, and Federal Duck Stamps – these will expire annually on June 30th.
Beginning in 2023, Slat Basket Tags will also have an expiration date of June 30th each year.
The General Annual Permit, or General Package is available only to residents and it is the minimum license requirement for fishing in Tennessee, excluding trout.
Each Thursday, the City of Gatlinburg operates a trout farm in order to stock its streams with trout year-round. Therefore, fishing inside city limits is prohibited on this day.
Fishing in Gatlinburg requires special permits and licenses, the details of which vary by a person’s residency status and age.
- Non-residents aged 12 and under do not require a fishing license in Gatlinburg.
- Those between the ages of 13 and 15 require either a Gatlinburg One-Day Trout Permit (Type 097) or a combination of the Non-resident Junior Hunt/Fish License (Type 070) plus one of either the Gatlinburg Trout-Daily Permit (Type 099) or the Gatlinburg Three-Day Trout Permit (Type 096).
- Non-residents aged 16 and up need to purchase either a Gatlinburg One-Day Trout Permit (Type 097) or a combination of the Gatlinburg Trout-Daily Permit (Type 099) or Gatlinburg Three-Day Trout Permit (Type 096) plus one of three non-resident licenses: 3-Day Fish All Species (Type 078), 10-Day Fish All Species (Type 080), or Annual Fish All Species(Type081).
- All nonresidents must provide Social Security Number information when purchasing any hunting or fishing license, no exceptions apply for those over 65 years old.
- Fishing permits can be acquired at City Hall, Spur Welcome Center, and online.
To fish in the Tellico-Citico Creeks, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency regulations require:
- A valid fishing license and trout sticker are necessary to fish in the Tellico-Citico Creeks.
- Licenses can be acquired at Sloan’s in Vonore, Walmart in Madisonville or Sweetwater, or online.
- The Tellico-Citico Permit Area is closed on Thursdays and Fridays between March 1 through August 15 with the exception of national holidays.
- From August 16 to February 28 no permit is required and fishing is allowed every day.
- The daily creel limit is 7 trout without size limit, with legal fishing hours from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset.
- Anglers may only use one rod or pole at a time and all equipment must be removed from stream banks during periods outside of legal fishing hours.
- On Free Fishing Days, individuals aged 17 and over are prohibited from fishing the Tellico River upstream of Sourwood Campground until noon.
Anglers ages 13-64 are required to purchase a daily permit ($3.50) or a three-day trout permit ($9.50) in order to fish for trout.
What Age Do You Need a Fishing License in Tennessee
Both residents and non-residents over the age of 13 need a fishing license to be able to fish in Tennessee.
How to Buy a Tennessee Fishing License
You can purchase a Tennessee fishing license online or through local agents. a valid Tennessee driver’s license or proof of age and residency is required.
To purchase a Tennessee fishing license online, go to GoOutdoorsTennessee.com.
You can purchase a Tennessee fishing license through local agents such as Walmart. To do so, check the license vendor section of your state’s wildlife department website for a list of approved vendors in your area.
With the exception of Lifetime Sportsman Licenses and specialty licenses like Wheelchair, Disabled Veteran, Intellectually Disabled, and Blind Fishing Licenses, you can purchase most kinds of permits through the internet, your local county clerk, sporting goods shops, hardware stores, and boat docks, or at any TWRA office.
To obtain a Lifetime Sportsman License, please reach out to the TWRA Nashville Office (615-781-6500) or one of the four regional offices – it is not available through general license agents.
How Much is a Fishing License in Tennessee?
|Resident Annual TWRA Fishing License
|Annual License Title
|Avid Angler Package
|The Avid Angler Package offers all that you need to fish in Tennessee for any species, trout included.
Note that specialty locations may ask for a special permit.
|Sportsman Package (Hunting/fishing combination license)
|The Sportsman Package provides users with all the necessary licenses for both fishing and hunting activities on private property and any areas managed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
Note that some Federal permits may be needed in certain cases.
|General Fishing Package
|The General Fishing Package is the minimal requirement for fishing across Tennessee, excluding trout.
|Reelfoot Angler Package
|The Reelfoot Angler Package provides everything necessary to fish in Reelfoot Lake.
|Non-Resident Annual TWRA Fishing License
|Includes all species.
|Annual Fishing License
|Does not include trout permit.
|10 Day Avid Angler Package
|The minimum license required to fish in Tennessee for a period of 10 consecutive days does not include trout.
|Vacation Outdoorsman Package
|The Vacation Outdoorsman Package contains licenses for fishing and hunting in Tennessee (exempting specialty locations that require a separate permit).
|10 Day General Fishing Package
|The 10-Day General Fishing Package is the minimum license necessary to fish in Tennessee for 10 consecutive days, excluding trout.
|Does Not Include Trout
|Three-Day Reelfoot Angler Package
|This package provides all the essential supplies needed for fishing on Reelfoot Lake for three days.
|For ages 13-15 for fishing and small game hunting only.
|Resident and Nonresident Special Permits
|Non-residents only. The Gatlinburg 1-Day Trout Permit is available to both residents and non-residents who are 13 years old or older.
|Daily Gatlinburg Trout permit is required for both residents and nonresidents between the ages of 13-64.
It is important to have the appropriate fishing licenses as well unless you are a nonresident who has already bought the Type 097 license.
|Gatlinburg 3-Day Trout Permit. This permit is required for both residents and nonresidents aged 13-64, along with the appropriate fishing licenses, unless nonresident anglers have already purchased the Type 097 permit.
|Tellico-Citico Trout-Daily permit. This permit is required seasonally for Tellico River and Citico Creek, and is necessary for year-round fishing on Green Cove Pond.
|To fish in an Agency Lake, anyone above the age of 16, except for residents aged 65 years or older, must obtain the Agency Lake – Daily Permit.
Those under 16 years of age are exempted from needing this permit.
|Annual PermitValid on all Agency lakes, anglers can buy this permit at Agency Lake offices.
|Daily permit for Bedford Lake.
Tennessee residents can apply for Resident Permanent Fishing licenses, which are obtainable only through the TWRA (Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency) Sales Office located in Nashville.
These licenses require a one-time fee and allow the license holder’s lifetime validity, unlike Lifetime Sportsman Licenses.
It’s important to note that additional permits might be required depending on the type of fishing being done.
A trout license is not required for this license.
|Senior Citizen Hunt/Fish/Trap
|Permanent Senior Citizen Hunt/Fish/Trap licenses for those who are 65 years old or above, which can be purchased at all license agents.
This license includes all hunting, fishing, and trapping privileges with no requirement for supplemental licenses.
However, special season and WMA permits must be purchased in addition to this license.
|Annual Resident Hunting & Fishing Disabled Under 18
|Tennessee residents under the age of 18 who meet the requirements of TCA 70-2-104 as amended can apply for the Annual Resident Hunting & Fishing Disabled Under 18 license.
Along with the application form, they must include a certification of total and permanent disability issued by a physician licensed to practice in Tennessee.
This license is renewable annually with the current fee and permits where required. Make sure to have all the necessary documents and permits before participating in hunting and fishing activities.
|Hunt & Fish Intellect Disabled Resident
|The Hunt & Fish Intellect Disabled Resident license is the minimum license required for hunting and/or fishing activities statewide.
Additional supplemental licenses may be required depending on the type of hunting orfishing being done.
This license is valid only as long as the license holder is a resident of Tennessee. Tennessee residents over the age of 10 years can purchase this license.
Additionally, applicants are required to complete the Hunter Education Course.
|Permanent Sport Fishing License for the Blind
|Sport fishing license for blind residents.
|Permanent Wheelchair Hunting and Fishing
|Tennessee offers a Permanent Wheelchair Hunting and Fishing license for residents who are permanently restricted to a wheelchair or have suffered an amputation of 75% or more of a lower limb, in accordance with TCA 70-2-104(a)(4)(a).
|Permanent DAV Hunting and Fishing
|Tennessee offers a Permanent DAV (Disabled American Veteran) Hunting and Fishing license for resident veterans certified by the VA (Department of Veterans Affairs) as 30 percent disabled by reason of war service or 100% service-connected.
|Permanent Mentally Challenged
|Tennessee resident must be able to prove SSI benefits for mental disability to qualify for this license.
- South Carolina Fishing License
- South Dakota Fishing License
- Texas Fishing License
- Utah Fishing License
Frequently Asked Questions
How much is a non-resident Tennessee fishing license?
How much a non-resident Tennessee fishing license depends on the one you choose. The annual all-species non-resident fishing license costs $98.
The other non-resident fishing licenses that Tennessee offers range from $10-$360.
Can you fish without a license in Tennessee?
You can fish without a license in Tennessee if you are under the age of 13, regardless of residency.
Can you buy a TN fishing license at Walmart?
You can buy a TN fishing license at Walmart.
To find out which stores in your state are approved vendors of this service, check the license vendor section of your state’s wildlife department website.
Do you need a fishing license to fish on a private lake in Tennessee?
Yes, you do need a fishing license to fish on a private lake in Tennessee.
Fishing in Tennessee can be an extremely rewarding experience.
However, it is important to remember that obtaining a fishing license is not only a requirement by law but also an important step toward protecting our cherished waterways.
By purchasing a fishing license, you are investing in the conservation and management of Tennessee’s aquatic resources for generations to come.
So, if you haven’t already, take that first step and get your Tennessee fishing license, and once you do be sure to download our bass fishing lures cheatsheet, and always know the best lure to throw no matter where you’re fishing.