Penalties for fishing without a license in the United States differ depending on the state, states professional bass angler Aaron Lesieur. As of 2015, the base fine in California is $100, although the exact amount varies based on court fees, previous offenses, and the amount of fish caught and kept.
As of 2015, the penalty for fishing without a license in Texas runs as high as $200, according to the Houston Chronicle. Multiple offenses increase the penalty exponentially, and in some cases, the penalty includes a prison sentence. In Arkansas, repeat offenders face a maximum fine of $1000 or 30 days in jail.