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58 Years Ago in Texas Game and Fish

State unified all fishing licenses in 1949, but the system was still a little confusing.

By Jon Lucksinger

In the early days of fishing on the manmade lakes of Texas, the system for licensing anglers was rather convoluted. With certain lakes, certain counties and the state all requiring different licenses, knowing whether you were fishing legally was not the simplest of tasks. So the Texas Game, Fish and Oyster Commission in-stituted a statewide “universal” license. Oddly, there were still restrictions based on whether your bait was alive or dead.

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From the July 1949 issue of Texas Game and Fish:

A Break for Anglers

All special lake fishing licenses, except the special license for Lake Texoma, are invalidated by new law which provides for one license good anywhere in the state.

Only one fishing license will be required after September 1 to fish in any of the inland waters of the State. That license, known generally as the universal fishing license, will cost the angler $1.65. It may be obtained in the same manner as the artificial lure license is now obtained.

All residents of the State over 17 years of age must have a universal fishing license if artificial bait is used, or if fishing with live bait outside of the county of residence, or if fishing is done in waters of counties not adjacent to the county of residence. The new law permits residents of a county to fish with dead bait all waters of counties adjacent to the county of residence but when live bait is used in those waters then the angler must be in possession of a universal fishing license.

Citizens under 17 years of age may fish anywhere in the State without a license even if artificial or live bait is used. Also exempt from obtaining a universal fishing license are holders of commercial fishing licenses.

None of the present special fishing licenses needed to fish in the waters of certain counties, or in Possum King-dom, or in Lake Worth and Eagle Mountain Lake, will be required after September 1. The special Medina Lake license already has been repealed.

Residents of counties bordering Lake Texoma will not be required to have a universal fishing license after September 1 when fishing in the Texas waters of the Lake with dead or live bait. But if artificial bait is used then residents of those counties must have a universal license to fish in the Lake Texoma waters lapping the shores of the county of their residence.

A special license, however, will be required of all Texans who fish in the Oklahoma waters of Lake Texoma. Details of that special license are now being worked out.

Editor’s note: This is the third installment in an eight-part series commemorating the 65th anniversary of Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine (formerly Texas Game and Fish).

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