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Get Your MN Fishing License: Quick and Easy Steps!

Fishing in Minnesota’s bountiful waters is a cherished pastime, but before you cast your line, you need to secure your fishing license. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the quick and easy steps to obtain your Minnesota fishing license, ensuring you’re ready to enjoy the state’s abundant fishing opportunities legally and responsibly.

Why You Need a Minnesota Fishing License

A valid fishing license is required for most anglers in Minnesota. It’s not just a legal formality; your license purchase directly supports conservation efforts, habitat restoration, and fish stocking programs that keep Minnesota’s waters teeming with fish. Here’s a quick overview of who needs a license:

  • Minnesota residents aged 16-89 need a fishing license.
  • All non-residents 16 and older must have a license, regardless of age.
  • Residents 90 and older can fish for free.
  • Children under 16 don’t need a license if they’re residents.

Now, let’s dive into the steps to get your license and start fishing!

Step 1: Determine Your Residency Status

Your residency status affects the type of license you need and its cost. You’re considered a Minnesota resident if you’ve lived in the state for at least 60 consecutive days before applying for a license. Non-residents will need to purchase a different type of license.

For Minnesota Residents:

  • Must have maintained legal residence in Minnesota for at least 60 days
  • Residents 21 or older need a valid Minnesota driver’s license, state ID, or proof of residency

For Non-Residents:

  • Anyone who doesn’t meet the residency requirements
  • Special options available for non-resident students and military personnel

Step 2: Choose Your License Type

Minnesota offers a variety of fishing license options to suit different needs and durations. Here are some popular choices for the 2024-25 season:

Resident Licenses:

  • 24-hour: $12
  • 72-hour: $14
  • Annual individual: $25
  • Married couple combination: $40
  • 3-year individual: $71

Non-Resident Licenses:

  • 24-hour: $14
  • 72-hour: $36
  • 7-day: $43
  • Annual individual: $51

Note: Prices listed do not include the additional $1 agent fee.

Step 3: Decide on Your Purchase Method

Minnesota offers several convenient ways to purchase your fishing license:

  1. Online: Visit the official Minnesota DNR website at for instant access.
  2. By Phone: Call 1-888-665-4236 (available 24/7) to purchase over the phone.
  3. In-Person: Visit a DNR office or licensed retailer like Walmart, sporting goods stores, or local bait shops.

Step 4: Gather Required Information

Before making your purchase, make sure you have the following information ready:

  • Driver’s license or state ID number (if 21 or older)
  • Social Security Number
  • Credit card for payment (if purchasing online or by phone)

Step 5: Complete Your Purchase

Follow these steps to complete your license purchase:

  1. Choose your preferred purchase method (online, phone, or in-person).
  2. Select the appropriate license type based on your residency and fishing plans.
  3. Provide the required personal information and payment details.
  4. Review your selection and confirm the purchase.
  5. For online purchases, print your license or save a digital copy on your mobile device.

Important: Fishing licenses are valid from March 1 to the last day of February of the following year. The current 2024-25 license year is effective until February 28, 2025.

Special Considerations and Add-Ons

When purchasing your license, consider these additional options and requirements:

  • Trout Stamp: Required for trout and salmon fishing in designated waters. Cost: $10
  • Sturgeon Tag: Needed if you plan to harvest lake sturgeon. Cost: $5
  • Walleye Stamp: Voluntary purchase to support walleye stocking efforts. Cost: $5

Conservation Licenses

Minnesota offers Conservation Licenses at a reduced cost for residents. These licenses come with lower possession limits:

  • Conservation individual angling: $17
  • Conservation combination angling (married couple): $27

Keep in mind that daily and possession limits are half of what’s allowed with a standard angling license.

Lifetime Licenses

For avid anglers, Minnesota offers lifetime fishing licenses. While the upfront cost is higher, these can provide significant savings over time:

Resident Lifetime Angling License Fees:

  • Age 3 and under: $344
  • Age 4 to 15: $469
  • Age 16 to 50: $574
  • Age 51 and over: $379

Tips for a Smooth License Purchase

  1. Plan ahead: Don’t wait until the morning of your fishing trip. Purchase your license a few days in advance to avoid any last-minute issues.
  2. Consider a long-term option: If you fish frequently, a 3-year or lifetime license can save you time and potentially money in the long run.
  3. Keep it accessible: Store a digital copy on your phone and keep a physical copy in your tackle box as a backup.
  4. Check for additional requirements: Some waters or species may have special regulations or permits needed.
  5. Verify your information: Ensure all details are correct before finalizing your purchase to avoid any issues on the water.

Fishing Responsibly in Minnesota

Once you have your license, it’s important to fish responsibly and follow Minnesota’s fishing regulations:

  1. Know the limits: Familiarize yourself with daily and possession limits for different species.
  2. Practice catch and release: When possible, release fish carefully to maintain healthy populations.
  3. Use proper gear: Ensure you’re using appropriate tackle and bait for the waters you’re fishing.
  4. Clean your boat: Help prevent the spread of invasive species by cleaning your boat and equipment between water bodies.
  5. Report violations: If you witness illegal fishing activity, report it to the DNR’s Turn In Poachers (TIP) hotline at 1-800-652-9093.

Consequences of Fishing Without a License

Fishing without a valid license in Minnesota can result in serious consequences:

  • Fines ranging from $50 to several hundred dollars
  • Potential court appearances and criminal charges for repeat offenses
  • Possible revocation of fishing privileges
  • Seizure of fishing equipment in some cases

It’s simply not worth the risk – always ensure you have a valid license before heading out to fish.

Additional Resources for Minnesota Anglers

To enhance your fishing experience and stay informed, check out these helpful resources:

  1. Minnesota DNR Fishing Page: Your one-stop shop for regulations, lake information, and more. Visit the DNR Fishing Page
  2. LakeFinder: A fantastic tool for researching specific lakes, including stocking reports and depth maps. Access LakeFinder
  3. Fish Minnesota: Get updates on fishing conditions, events, and educational programs. Explore Fish Minnesota
  4. Minnesota Fishing Regulations Booklet: Available online or at license vendors, this comprehensive guide covers all the rules you need to know. View the Regulations Booklet
  5. Local bait shops: Often the best source for up-to-date fishing reports and tips on local hotspots.


Obtaining your Minnesota fishing license is a quick and easy process that opens the door to incredible angling opportunities across the state. By following these simple steps and fishing responsibly, you’re not just complying with the law – you’re actively contributing to the preservation of Minnesota’s rich fishing heritage.

Remember, whether you’re chasing walleyes on Mille Lacs, battling muskies in the metro, or seeking trout in southeast streams, your license is your ticket to adventure. So grab that license, gear up, and get ready to make some unforgettable memories on Minnesota’s waters. Tight lines, and happy fishing!

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