Here’s when you can fish free, without a license in Texas

June 5 is Free Fishing Day

SAN ANTONIO – Every year on the first Saturday in June, anyone can fish recreationally without a license in Texas.

This year, Free Fishing Day falls on June 5.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said Free Fishing Day is meant to encourage more people to try fishing.

More than 70 state parks offer free fishing year-round, although entry fees still apply as well as length and bag limits.

“Free Fishing Day is a wonderful opportunity for anglers to share their knowledge, skills, equipment, and love for fishing with a new participant, yet it’s also more than that,” TPWD inland fisheries director Craig Bonds said last year. “We hope those trying fishing on this special day will also learn that purchasing a license is an act of conservation. A fishing license purchase is one of the simplest and most effective ways people can support fisheries science and management.”

A fishing license is normally required for adults and can be purchased starting at $11 for a one-day, all-water access license for Texas residents. Children aged 16 and younger fish for free, in addition to anyone born before Jan. 1, 1931. You can purchase a license at local retailers or online here.

A non-resident fishing license is required of all non-residents who fish in the public waters of Texas, according to TPWD, with a few exceptions.

Anglers no longer need to carry their paper fishing license. A legible digital photo, emailed receipt, online purchase record or digital copy of your fishing license is also acceptable.

Additionally, certain disabled veterans qualify for free fishing year-round. The TPWD offers a super combo hunting and all-water fishing package to disabled veterans who have lost the use of a foot or leg, or have a disability rating of 50% or more. Full details can be found here.

For more information about fishing license requirements and rules, visit

Related: 18 places to fish near San Antonio

TPWD sent previously sent a press release with the following resources for anglers of all skill levels:

  • Fishing 101 - Learn the basics of fishing with tips and a variety of videos. Resources for how to get started, safety, supplies and gear, casting and baiting, and cleaning and storing fish can be found on the TPWD Learn to Fish webpage.
  • Find a Place to Fish close to Home – Texas offers numerous lakes and rivers that the public can access to fish throughout the state. Check out the May issue of Fish Texas to learn more about how you can find the perfect spot nearby! Included in this issue is the Lake Finder where anglers can Search by region or alphabetically if you have a specific lake already in mind. Access to information and fishing tips on more than 150 lakes are available. Also, check out community fishing lakes which can be great options as well.
  • Saltwater Fishing from a Pier – There are numerous fishing piers that are wheelchair accessible and available for public use up and down the coast. Piers are a great place for the entire family to try saltwater fishing without the need for a boat. Public access sites can be found in every bay system.
  • Help the Conservation Effort with your License Purchase – Did you know that 100% of your fishing license fees go to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for on-the-ground conservation efforts such as fish stocking, which help make Texas one of the best places in the country to fish? For more information on licensing, visit the TPWD licenses page.

About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.