Guidelines for Fishing Licenses You must show your license to any police officer or peace officer, as well as the owner, lessee, or other person in authority of the lands or waters where you are fishing. A fishing license does not give you permission to trespass on private land. If you are arrested for fishing without a license, they can charge you with criminal trespassing.
The best way to avoid this problem is by notifying landowners and leaseholders of your intent to fish before you go out there. If you catch something good, it's possible that you could get a permit or even be paid for your catch. But first, you'll have to report your success to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
Licensed anglers are required to carry their licenses with them at all times when fishing. License holders are also expected to know their own license status. If an officer asks you if you have a license, you should say yes. Even if you don't intend to fish that day, it's important to have your license available if asked by an officer. Officers may ask to see your license during a traffic stop or other incident where they need to verify your identity.
Fishing without a license is punishable by a fine of up to $25000 and/or one year in jail. The crime of criminal trespassing applies if you are on someone's property without their consent.
There is no need for a license to fish in such areas. State fishing regulations, such as bag limits, minimum lengths, and even techniques of catching fish, do not apply. Fish caught in private water are considered the landowner's private property. The only legal requirement is that you must keep track of your catch and report it to the local game warden within 24 hours.
However, there are some areas where fishing without a license would be in violation of federal law. If you were to catch a limit of fish (usually two per person) from a federally managed lake or river, you would have to purchase a fishing license. Federal waters include all national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges; most military installations; and almost all large bodies of water in California. There are also some areas where fishing without a license would be in violation of state law. For example, if an area is protected by private ownership laws, fishing without a license is prohibited. Also, if you were to catch a limit of fish (usually two per person) from a lake that does not allow fishing with hooks or nets, you would have to purchase a fishing license. Such lakes include Harbinger Lake in Sonoma County and Sand Harbor Beach in Mendocino County.
Fishing without a license is also illegal if you are trying to catch salmon.
Is a fishing license required to fish in my private pond, which is fully on my property? No, owners or renters (if they live on the land) are not required to have a license to fish in waters on or flowing through their property. This exemption does not apply to lake projects or lakes owned by clubs or organizations. These bodies of water must be licensed.
In addition, persons who possess valid fishing licenses are permitted to keep all fish caught from private ponds. However, if you plan to sell the fish, you will need a commercial fishing license.
The only exception to this rule is if the owner or renter lives in a house on the land but does not want to obtain a fishing license. In this case, they can place "no trespassing" signs at key locations around the property to indicate that people cannot enter their land to fish without a permit. If someone violates these signs, they could be charged with criminal trespass to land.
A fishing license is required for all other waters including lakes, rivers, and streams in Illinois.
Persons 16 years of age or older may purchase recreational fishing licenses. Children 15 years of age or younger may accompany an adult licensee who has been issued a fishing license. An infant fisherman is considered to be a child. In order to fish, he or she must have either a parent's or guardian's license. Licenses can be purchased at any state-approved retailer.