Get Your Michigan Fishing License Online: A Step-by-Step Guide

Fishing is a beloved pastime in Michigan, with its abundance of lakes, rivers, and access to four of the Great Lakes. However, before you can cast your line, you need to obtain a valid fishing license. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of getting your Michigan fishing license online, ensuring you’re fully prepared to enjoy the state’s world-class fishing opportunities.


Michigan is a true angler’s paradise, boasting over 11,000 inland lakes, 3,000 miles of rivers, and a vast Great Lakes coastline teeming with diverse fish species. From the renowned trout streams of the Upper Peninsula to the walleye-rich waters of Lake Erie, Michigan offers something for every type of angler. However, to legally fish in these waters, you must have a valid fishing license, as mandated by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Obtaining a fishing license not only ensures compliance with state regulations but also contributes to the conservation and management of Michigan’s aquatic resources. The revenue generated from license sales funds critical efforts such as fish hatcheries, habitat restoration projects, and the enforcement of fishing regulations, ensuring a sustainable and thriving fishing ecosystem for generations to come.

Eligibility Requirements

Before diving into the licensing process, it’s essential to understand who needs a fishing license in Michigan:

  • Age Requirement: All individuals aged 17 and older must possess a valid fishing license to fish in Michigan’s waters.
  • Residency Status: License fees and requirements vary for residents and non-residents. Residents are individuals who have maintained continuous residency in Michigan for at least six months.
  • Exceptions: Children under 17 can fish without a license, but they must still follow all fishing regulations. Additionally, certain groups, such as active-duty military personnel and disabled veterans, may be eligible for discounted or free licenses.

License Options and Fees

Michigan offers several fishing license options to cater to different needs and preferences. Here are the most common license types and their associated fees:


  • Annual All-Species License: $26
  • 24-Hour License: $10
  • Senior Annual License (65+): $11
  • Youth Annual License (16 and under): $2


  • Annual All-Species License: $76
  • 24-Hour License: $10

Additionally, all non-residents must purchase a $1 DNR Sportcard along with their fishing license.

Step 1: Create an Account

The first step in obtaining your Michigan fishing license online is to visit the official DNR eLicense website at Click on the “Purchase a License” button and follow the prompts to create a new account or log in if you already have one.

Step 2: Select License Type

Once logged in, you’ll be presented with various license options. Select the appropriate fishing license type based on your residency status, age, and desired duration (annual or daily). Review the license details carefully and add the selected option to your cart.

Step 3: Make Payment

Proceed to the checkout process and enter your personal and payment information. The DNR accepts major credit cards and debit cards for online transactions. Double-check your order details before confirming the purchase.

Step 4: Print/Download License

Upon successful payment, you’ll receive a confirmation email with your fishing license attached as a PDF file. You can either print a physical copy or save the digital version on your mobile device for easy access while fishing.

Note: If you’re a non-resident or don’t have a valid Michigan driver’s license or state ID, you’ll need to purchase a $1 DNR Sportcard during the checkout process.

Additional Tips

  • Free Fishing Weekends: Michigan offers two free fishing weekends each year, typically during the summer and winter months. During these designated periods, residents and non-residents can fish without a license, providing an excellent opportunity for newcomers to experience the joy of fishing.
  • Combo Hunt/Fish Licenses: For those interested in both hunting and fishing, Michigan offers combo licenses that bundle an annual fishing license with hunting licenses and deer tags, providing a cost-effective solution for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Reporting Harvests: Some fish species, such as muskellunge and sturgeon, require anglers to report their harvests through the DNR’s online reporting system or mobile app. Be sure to familiarize yourself with these requirements before your fishing trip.
  • Regulation Summaries: The DNR publishes an annual Fishing Guide that outlines all the rules, regulations, and season dates for various fish species. It’s essential to review this guide before heading out to ensure you’re in compliance with the latest regulations.


Obtaining your Michigan fishing license online is a straightforward and convenient process that ensures you’re legally prepared to enjoy the state’s world-class fishing opportunities. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you’ll not only comply with regulations but also contribute to the conservation and management of Michigan’s aquatic resources for future generations.

Remember, responsible and ethical fishing practices are crucial for maintaining a healthy and sustainable fishing ecosystem. So, grab your rod, secure your license, and get ready to experience the thrill of casting your line in Michigan’s pristine waters. Tight lines and happy fishing!

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