Florida Fishing License in North Carolina: Everything You Need to Know

Florida Fishing License in North Carolina: Everything You Need to Know

North Carolina is a true angler’s paradise, boasting a diverse range of fishing opportunities from the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains to the pristine Outer Banks. Whether you’re an avid freshwater enthusiast or a saltwater aficionado, the state’s waters offer an abundance of fish species and unforgettable experiences. However, before you can embark on your fishing adventure, it’s crucial to understand the licensing requirements and regulations in place. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about obtaining a fishing license in North Carolina, including specific information for Florida residents.

Do You Need a Fishing License in North Carolina?

The short answer is yes, if you’re 16 years of age or older, you’ll need a valid fishing license to legally fish in North Carolina’s waters. This requirement applies to both residents and non-residents, regardless of whether you’re fishing in inland, coastal, or joint waters.

There are a few exceptions to this rule:

  • Children under 16: Minors are not required to have a fishing license in North Carolina.
  • Free Fishing Day: On July 4th of each year, anyone can fish in public waters without a license, making it the perfect opportunity for families and newcomers to experience the joy of fishing.
  • Military Personnel on Leave: North Carolina residents who are on leave from the military can fish for up to 30 days without a license, provided they carry their military ID and leave papers.
  • Fishing on Private Ponds: If you’re fishing in a privately-owned pond on private property, you don’t need a license.

Types of Fishing Licenses in North Carolina

North Carolina offers two main types of fishing licenses: Inland and Coastal. The license you need depends on where you plan to fish.

Inland Fishing License

An Inland Fishing License is required for fishing in all freshwater bodies, including rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds. This license is valid for both inland and joint waters (areas where freshwater and saltwater meet).

Coastal Recreational Fishing License

If you plan to fish in saltwater along the coast or in joint waters, you’ll need a Coastal Recreational Fishing License. This license covers all coastal and joint waters within the state.

Both Inland and Coastal Recreational Fishing Licenses are available for various durations, ranging from 10 days to a lifetime. Additionally, North Carolina offers combination licenses that cover both inland and coastal fishing, as well as hunting privileges.

Licensing Options for Florida Residents

As a Florida resident, you have several options when it comes to obtaining a fishing license in North Carolina:

1. Non-Resident Licenses

Florida residents are considered non-residents in North Carolina and can purchase the following non-resident licenses:

  • Non-Resident Annual Coastal Recreational Fishing License: $32
  • Non-Resident 10-Day Coastal Recreational Fishing License: $11

These licenses allow you to fish in coastal and joint waters during the specified period.

2. Reciprocal Agreements

North Carolina has reciprocal agreements with certain states, including Florida, which allow anglers to use their home state’s fishing license in specific boundary waters.

For Florida residents, this agreement applies to the following waters:

  • Chatuge Reservoir: Located on the North Carolina-Georgia border, Florida licenses are valid for fishing on this reservoir.

To take advantage of this reciprocal agreement, you’ll need to have a valid Florida fishing license and follow the regulations of both states.

3. Combination Licenses

If you plan to fish in both inland and coastal waters during your visit, you may want to consider purchasing a combination license. North Carolina offers the following options:

  • Unified Coastal Recreational/Inland Fishing License: $41 for residents, not available for non-residents
  • Unified Coastal/Sportsman Recreational Fishing License: $69 for residents, not available for non-residents

These combination licenses provide the convenience of covering all fishing opportunities within the state.

How to Purchase a North Carolina Fishing License

North Carolina offers several convenient ways to obtain your fishing license:

  1. Online: Visit the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission website (ncwildlife.org) and purchase your license online using a credit card. There is a $2 transaction fee for online purchases.
  2. By Phone: Call the Wildlife Resources Commission’s customer service line at 888-248-6834 during business hours (Monday-Friday, 8 AM-5 PM) to purchase your license over the phone.
  3. In Person: Visit any authorized license vendor, such as tackle shops, outdoor retailers, or certain big-box stores like Walmart. These vendors can issue your license instantly.

Remember to carry your fishing license with you whenever you’re fishing in North Carolina. If you lose your license, you can request a replacement by filling out a form and paying a small administrative fee.

North Carolina Fishing Regulations

In addition to obtaining the appropriate license, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with North Carolina’s fishing regulations. These regulations are in place to protect the state’s fish populations and ensure sustainable fishing practices.

Some key regulations to keep in mind include:

  • Size and Bag Limits: Specific fish species have minimum size requirements and daily bag limits (the maximum number of fish you can keep). These limits vary depending on the species and the body of water you’re fishing in.
  • Gear Restrictions: Certain types of fishing gear, such as trotlines and juglines, may be prohibited or restricted in certain areas.
  • Closed Seasons: Some fish species have designated closed seasons when fishing for them is not allowed.
  • Catch and Release: In certain areas or for certain species, catch-and-release practices may be mandatory.

It’s crucial to review the North Carolina Fishing Regulations Digest before your fishing trip to ensure you’re in compliance with all rules and regulations. The digest is available online and at license vendors.

Responsible Fishing Practices

North Carolina is committed to promoting responsible fishing practices to protect its aquatic natural resources. As an angler, you play a vital role in preserving these resources for future generations. Here are some responsible fishing practices to keep in mind:

  • Practice Catch and Release: Consider releasing fish, especially if you don’t plan to consume them. Proper catch-and-release techniques can help ensure the fish’s survival.
  • Respect the Environment: Leave no trace by properly disposing of any litter or waste. Avoid disturbing sensitive habitats or nesting areas.
  • Be Ethical: Follow all regulations and fishing laws, and report any violations you witness.
  • Educate Others: Share your knowledge and passion for responsible fishing with others, especially younger generations.

By embracing these practices, you can help ensure that North Carolina’s fishing opportunities remain abundant and accessible for years to come.


Whether you’re a Florida resident or a visitor from another state, North Carolina offers a wealth of fishing opportunities that cater to anglers of all skill levels and preferences. By understanding the licensing requirements, regulations, and responsible fishing practices, you can embark on an unforgettable fishing adventure while contributing to the preservation of this natural treasure. So, grab your rod, purchase your license, and get ready to experience the thrill of fishing in North Carolina’s diverse waters.

Remember, the key to a successful and enjoyable fishing trip is preparation. Take the time to research the specific regulations and licensing options that apply to your situation, and don’t hesitate to reach out to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission or local fishing communities for additional guidance and tips.

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