Do Kids Require a License for Fishing in Texas? Here’s What You Need To Know
Fishing is one of those outdoor activities that can be enjoyed year-round. Also, this is a great learning opportunity for kids. That’s why parents should often organize such trips to nearby fishing spots.
But what about the license? We know it’s mandatory for adults in Texas, but is it the case for the kids too? In this article, learn about what the Texas laws have to say about the fishing license for kids.
Fishing License in Texas
Before you go fishing with or without your kids, you need to learn the basics of fishing in Texas and the license requirements. If you’re coming to Texas from outside states, then it becomes even more important since laws vary from state to state.
Anyone who attempts to catch fish, mussels, crayfish, or any other aquatic life in the public waterbodies of Texas must be in possession of a valid Texas fishing license.
Furthermore, this license should be appropriately endorsed. This is mandatory for both residents and non-residents. If you’re going fishing on coastal waters, then you’re required to have a saltwater endorsement.
If it’s done on inland waters, then the license must have a freshwater endorsement.
However, such a fishing license and endorsement is not called for if you’re fishing on the waters of a State Park and the waterbody is completely enclosed by the park.
Likewise, a license is also not required if fishing activities are being carried out on private property. The lakes, and ponds have to be privately owned. But if that’s not the case and the water bodies are located on public property, then you must seek a license.
For fishing on man-made structures inside of a state park like docks or jetties, each person is limited to two poles. In Texas, fishing on such structures is on a pole-and-line basis.
Finally, you should always keep in mind that bow fishing is not permitted inside any state park in Texas. Therefore, you’re advised to refrain from bows and arrows.
Fishing License Exemptions
Fishing is not mandatory for everyone, and there are a few exemptions to the fishing license requirements. The following groups of people are required to obtain a license for fishing in Texan waters:
- Children under the age of 17.
- Residents of Texas who were born before January 1, 1931.
- Louisiana residents who are above the age of 65 years at the time of fishing and hold a Louisiana Recreational Fishing License.
- Oklahoma residents who are above the age of 65.
- Mentally challenged people who take up fishing as part of their mental illness therapy
- Mentally challenged people who are fishing under the direct supervision of an authorized angler. The angler must be either a direct family member of the person or must have written permission from their family members.
Therefore, to answer your question, if children need a license for fishing in Texas, then it depends on their age. If they are under the age of 17 at the time of fishing, then they’re not required to have a fishing license. But if they are above 17, then they must get a license from the Texas state government or an approved retailer.
The license exemption for kids does not mean there are no limitations. They’re not exempt from every stamp and endorsement. Besides that, the catch and size limits apply wherever possible.
For example, they have the same catching limit as an adult, which is 25 crappies.
Fishing With Kids in Texas
Fishing will be a great learning experience for kids. Therefore, you should look for opportunities to take them on a fishing tour. Texas offers many options to go out fishing.
Here are some recommended spots located in Texas:
In Central Texas, there are basically two major places that are ideal for fishing. Those are:
- Bane Park Lake, Houston
- McGovern Lake, Houston
Bane Park Lake is filled year-round with rainbow trout. The lake is located inside a multi-use park that also features a volleyball court, rock climbing wall, and barbecue grill picnic spots. The lake, which is located in the middle of the park, is an ideal fishing spot for both adults and kids.
It is also wheelchair-accessible. So you can take any kid with disabilities along with you. After you’re done with fishing, the kids will definitely love the splash pad that’s present nearby.
McGovern Lake is an 8-acre lake that not only hosts a variety of fish but also scores of migratory bird species. The boating facilities and soothing atmosphere also attract tourists in large numbers.
In the Western part of Texas, the main fishing spots are:
- American Legion Park, Missouri City
- Mary Jo Peckham Park, Katy
- Tom Bass Regional Park, Pearlan
If you’re in Western Texas, then the American Legion Park is the place to be for fishing adventures. It has a total of 9.41 acres of surface water that’s suited for freshwater fishing. Other family members who are not into fishing can take advantage of the golf club that’s present inside the park.
Tom Bass Lake is another good prospect. The lake spreads across an area of 23 acres that hosts mouth bass, rainbow trout, and catfish in plentiful numbers. Mary Jo Peckham is a community park that’s well-stocked too.
An indoor swimming pool and a miniature golf club might be an interest to you.
The eastern part of Texas has excellent fishing opportunities, primarily in the city of Houston. Those are:
- Sheldon Lake State Park, Houston
- Dwight D. Eisenhower Park, Houston
- Herman Brown Park Pond, Houston
If you’d have to choose one from the above, we’d recommend Sheldon Lake. The fishing and wildlife observation is second to none at this place. There are two fishing ponds where free catch-and-release fishing is permitted.
Alligators and certain wildlife also inhabit the pond.
Ranger programs and tours are organized every now and then where you can take part in with your kids.
The southern section of Texas also presents multiple fishing spots. Some of the well-known ones are:
- Challenger Seven Memorial Park, Webster
- Burke Crenshaw Park, Pasadena
- Clear Lake Park, Seabrook
At Challenger Seven, you’ll be able to catch fish from the bank. Thus, this is ideal for kids aged less than 10 or 12. There’s a large stocked fishing pond where blue catfish and largemouth bass are present in healthy numbers.
Clear Lake Park is another not-to-miss destination in Southern Texas where you can find so much more to explore, fishing being one of them. The 59-acre park has piers and boat launches, thus appealing to a broader fishing preference. The cleanliness and archaeological features are something you should look forward to with your kids.
Types of License You Should Buy
If you plan to go fishing regularly in Texas, then you can opt for a lifetime resident super combo license. This costs $1,800 and is open to residents only. This authorizes you to take part in all types of fishing activities in Texas.
You can avail of the tags and endorsements as well.
The second-best option would be the lifetime hunting and fishing license which is priced at $1,000. This is ideal for non-residents.
You can always upgrade from $1,000 to $1,800 whenever you’re eligible to do so by paying $800 extra.
You can only purchase them at the TPWD headquarters and at authorized retailers.
But if you have a one-off fishing requirement, then license packages start from $30 for Texas residents and $58 for non-Texas residents. This is for fishing in freshwater. Saltwater packages are $35 and $63 for Texas residents and non-Texas residents, respectively.
Free Fishing in Texas
If you want to go fishing for free, then it’s very much possible. In June, Texas hosts a free fishing day for both residents and non-residents. You’re allowed to fish without a license or endorsement at more than 70 state parks present in Texas.
The goal is to encourage more people to take up fishing as a recreational activity. So you shouldn’t be missing out on this fishing opportunity with your kids.
Besides that, there are a few parks that allow catch-and-release. You should check with the park about this facility before you go fishing with your kids.
Fish Species Kids Should Catch
The waters of Texas host a variety of fish species. Crappies are the most common of them all. There are two types of crappies, basically: black and white.
The black crappies will have a silverly-green with black blotches. White crappies, on the other hand, have a silvery-white or silvery-green belly. Their size ranges from 10.8 inches to 19.3 inches, thus are easy to handle for kids.
Texas allows you to catch as many as 25 crappies per child.
Catfish are the next abundant species found in Texas. The flathead, blue, apparently naked species are popular among adults. Because of their large size, adult supervision is highly recommended.
It’s also easy to come across fish species like sunfishes, bullheads, wrasses, and snappers. Whichever species you’re after or you might catch, the main goal is to enjoy the time with your kids.
The licenses you buy support the parks and their development. 100% of the amount goes towards maintenance and to ensure lakes and ponds remain stocked. Therefore, as a consumer, you should always show support by purchasing the necessary ticket.
For kids aged 17 and below, a license is not necessary. But never be hesitant to pay for endorsements or tags if asked by the authorities.
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