I've done a fair amount of fishing in my life.

I've always been apt to throw a line in the water out to camp, just to see what's shaking. I like to sit right on the end of the dock with a beer and let the white perch do their thing every night after supper. Often, I'll hook enough to have a tasty perch and eggs breakfast the next morning. Or, I get lazy and just throw them back.

Dunbar town beach, Wisconsin, USA
baluzek
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Even though I get a fishing license every year so I can go out in the boat, I'd say I easily do 80% of my summer fishing right off the end of my dock. Lots of folks on our lake do. You'll easily spot a dozen kids or adults around the lake at any given moment, drowning a worm or two. And most of them right from the shore. But

Do you need a fishing license to fish from shore?

There may have been a summer or two in my youth where I didn't bother with a fishing license because I wasn't living up here. But I always felt safe fishing from the dock, because I figured no one would really notice. But here's the thing... It's totally illegal. You absolutely need a fishing license, according to the state.

A police office on the side of the road as he writes a ticket.
aijohn784
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The only exceptions would be the free fishing weekends the state offers a couple times a year. It also doesn't matter what kind of fishing you're doing. You'll need a license for freshwater, saltwater, rivers, etc. You need one for every occasion.

If you're busted doing a little nefarious fishing, you could face charges. It's a $50 fine initially, but they also tack on an additional amount that is twice the fee of the license itself. You likely won't go broke if you get caught, but who wants to deal with all that headache? The safest way, is to probably just get the dang license.

I doubt the fishing license law happened the year you were born...

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