If you plan on fishing in either the inland or the coastal waters of South Carolina, you are going to need a license.

Fishing licenses can get a little confusing with all of the options and information out there. We have put together a short guide to help you determine if you need a South Carolina fishing license, how to get one, and a general idea of how much it will cost.

What Will I Need To Get A South Carolina Fishing License?

  • Valid drivers license or
  • Valid State Issued Identification card or
  • US Dept of Defense Military Identification or
  • An Unexpired Passport if you are a foreign national

Different Rates And Categories?

When you look at the pricing of the South Carolina fishing license, you will see that it is broken into several different categories.

·         Resident

·         Nonresident

·         Military Personnel

·         Commercial Saltwater License

The rates will vary depending on the type of license you need and which category you fall into.

The Commercial saltwater licenses are a bit of a different category altogether and will be priced higher than the nonresident and resident rates for South Carolina.  

South Carolina License Types

Now that you have determined which category you are in, it is time to figure out which license that you need. There are several types of South Carolina fishing licenses.

·         Freshwater Fishing

·         Nongame Freshwater Fishing

·         Saltwater Fishing License

·         Combination Freshwater and Hunting

What Does Non-Game Mean On A South Carolina Fishing License?

You will notice that South Carolina offers both a freshwater license and a non-game freshwater license. The non-game species are not categorized the same as the game fish. Usually, a non-game fish is not something that people would eat and not something that people would sell.

A non-game fish is usually quite boney or unappetizing. Many non-game fished are used solely for bait, and others are just simply tossed back in. Most of the Non-Game type fish are used as food for the game fish.

What Happens If You Fish Without A License In South Carolina?

Fishing without a license is a bad idea. A fishing license does not cost that much money, and it does not make sense to risk fishing without the license. The fines for fishing without permission in South Carolina can range from $100 to several hundred dollars. Certainly much higher than the cost of a permit.

How Much Does A South Carolina Fishing License Cost?

As we explained above, there are many different categories and license types, so it is hard to give a complete list of all of the pricing. If you want to see all of the rates, you can head to the South Carolina Licensing website and sign up for your license.

To give you a general idea of what the costs might look like, here are a few examples.

  • Resident Annual Freshwater Fishing License: $10.00
  • Resident Annual Saltwater Fishing License: $10.00
  • Resident Annual Combination Freshwater & Hunting: $25.00
  • Nonresident Annual Freshwater Fishing License: $35.00

How Long Is A South Carolina Fishing License Good For?

In the state of South Carolina, you get some options to help you get a license that works for the length of time that you need it. The three options are a fourteen-day license, an annual license, and a three-year license.

There is not a price difference between the one year and the three-year license. The reason to go for the three year is simply just a convenience factor. You will not need to worry about replacing your license each year.

Do I Need A License To Fish From A Public Pier?

Most of the time, the pier that you are fishing from will have a license fee that they pay. When you pay to fish from the pier, that will cover a portion of your license to fish from that pier. This is the case with most public fishing piers.

When you pay your entrance to the pier, and you let them know that you are going to be fishing, make sure you confirm that you are licensed to fish. There will most likely be signs posted letting you know that it is, in fact, legal to fish from the public pier.

If your fishing takes you down off the pier and onto the beach, you will most likely not be covered at this point. Once you start fishing from the shore, you are going to need the saltwater fishing license.

Where Do I Get A South Carolina Fishing License?

You can get a South Carolina fishing license online, and it will be sent to you in the mail. The Department of Natural Resources for the State of South Carolina handles the licensing and helps to make the process much simpler.

If you are a disabled individual, be sure to check the information on the website about discounts and complimentary licenses.

Do Children Need a Fishing License In South Carolina?

Children less than 16 years old do not need a fishing license in the state of South Carolina. This is a very fair system and one that encourages people to bring their children fishing with them. There is no better time to learn how to fish than when you are a child.

Fishing is a lifelong sport, and with all the access in South Carolina, all kids should be taught how to fish.


The bottom line is that you are going to need a fishing license to fish in South Carolina. The entire license process takes just a few minutes, and it will make sure that our natural resources are protected for years to come.

Licensing provides people with the information they need to make sure that our ecosystem stays the way it should. If you want to sign up for your South Carolina fishing license today, you can click here.