National Senior Fishing License proposed

A man who has fished in 49 states and has his 50th, Hawaii, on his upcoming schedule, says he’d like to see the implementation of a National Senior Fishing License. Dennis Miller, a former North Dakotan who claims Livingston, Texas, as his residence, regularly tours the country in an RV with his wife Donna. Both are avid fishermen.

An earlier proposal for nationwide free fishing for seniors died for lack of support at the federal level. The idea has arisen again, this time at the state level with a push for a National Senior Fishing License. The license would cost $50 and be good in all participating states. Fishermen would have to have a resident license from their home state to be eligible for the national license.

Miller has partnered with Ray Fernandez, a Mississippi man who operates a national RV website called Passport America. They currently are encouraging fishermen throughout the U.S. to sign an online petition at


“It’s a real simple petition,” said Miller. “I’m getting about 50 to 100 signatures a week. I’ve never had a negative response in all my travels. We’re being fairly patient with this, probably try to schedule something in Texas and Florida this winter.”

Miller says he hopes to take several thousand petition signatures with him when he meets with various state agencies while pitching the idea of a National Senior Fishing License. The hope is to get a few states to adopt the concept and then see if others will follow.

“I would think five to eight states, probably, to start,” said Miller. “I’m aiming pretty low, to be honest. The path that I’m going to take is to present a letter of intent or agreement. I have no idea whether or not it will succeed. Where this ends up, I don’t know.”

Greg Power, North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries division chief, said he had not yet heard about Miller’s effort when contacted by The Minot Daily News. However, said Power, some obstacles to overcome would be that states have varying ages for senior fishing licenses and different start dates to fishing seasons.

“It’s news to me,” said Power. “It sounds like a logistical challenge.”

In North Dakota a senior resident fishing license, age 65 or older, is $5. A non-resident season fishing license is $45. Like many other states, North Dakota does not have a non-resident senior fishing license.

“States have little or no cost for senior fishing licenses, so they’re really not getting any revenue,” said Miller. “This is a way for them to get money for that. The home state keeps the $50.”

Coastal states have both freshwater and saltwater fishing licenses, another issue that would have to be overcome if the National Senior Fishing License comes to fruition. Miller says his current effort is aimed solely at freshwater fishing.