Minnesota, with its thousands of lakes and extensive river systems, is a paradise for anglers. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, understanding the Minnesota fishing license cost and requirements is essential before you cast your line. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about obtaining a fishing license in Minnesota, including types of licenses, costs, and key regulations.
License Validity And Types
Minnesota fishing licenses
are valid from March 1 to the last day of February the following year. This means that if you purchase a license on March 1, 2023, it will be valid until February 28, 2024. This annual cycle ensures that anglers are fully covered for the prime fishing seasons in the state.
There are several license options available to cater to different fishing needs and circumstances. Here are some of the main types of licenses:
- Individual Angling: This is the standard license for a single person. It costs $25 for residents and $51 for non-residents.
- Combination Angling for Married Couples: This license allows a married couple to fish under one license. It costs $40 for residents.
- Individual Sports Licenses: This license combines fishing and hunting privileges. It costs $41 for residents.
- Combination Sports Licenses: This license combines fishing and hunting privileges for a married couple. It costs $57 for residents.
In addition to these, there are also short-term licenses available for periods of 24 hours, 72 hours, and 7 days, as well as a 3-year individual license. These options provide flexibility for those who may not need a full year’s license.
It’s important to note that all residents of Minnesota, aged 16 to 89, must have a current Minnesota fishing license unless an exemption applies. All non-residents need a license, except those aged 15 and younger, who do not need a license if a parent or guardian is licensed.
License Costs For Residents
Minnesota offers a variety of fishing license options for its residents, catering to different needs and preferences. Whether you’re an avid angler planning frequent fishing trips or a casual fisher who only gets out on the water occasionally, there’s a license tailored for you.
Variety of Options
24-hour Individual License
: This short-term license is perfect for those spontaneous fishing trips. It costs $12 and is valid for 24 hours from the time of purchase. The advantage of a 24-hour license is that it also includes a trot stamp.
3-year individual license: For the committed angler, a 3-year individual license is available at $71. This license is a cost-effective option for those who fish regularly, as it offers a lower annual cost compared to purchasing a new license each year.
Combination Licenses: Minnesota offers combination licenses for married couples who enjoy fishing together. The annual combination license costs $40, while the annual conservation combination license is priced at $27. These licenses allow a married couple to fish individually or together.
: Minnesota appreciates the service of its military personnel. Residents enlisted in the U.S. Armed Forces, stationed outside the state, and home on leave can fish without a license. However, they must carry their leave or furlough papers while fishing or transporting fish. Similarly, residents who have served in federal active service outside the U.S. during the preceding 24 months and are now discharged from overseas duty can fish without a license, provided they carry their discharge papers.
Disability Permits: The state also provides special provisions for residents with disabilities. Residents 16 and older who have a developmental disability or veterans with a 100 percent service-connected disability can obtain a free license. However, these licenses are available only from the DNR by calling a specific number.
Conservation Licenses: Conservation-minded anglers can opt for a conservation license. These licenses are available only to residents of Minnesota and have daily and possession limits that are half of what can be taken with a standard angling license. The annual conservation license costs $17 for an individual and $27 for a married couple.
Remember, all these licenses are effective from March 1 to the last day of February of the following year. So, a fishing license for the current 2023–24 license year is effective until February 29, 2024.
Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, these diverse license options ensure that you can enjoy the rich fishing opportunities that Minnesota offers. So, grab your gear, Get your license, and head out to the water!
License Costs For Non-Residents
Minnesota offers a variety of fishing license options for non-residents, catering to different needs and preferences. Whether you’re visiting for a short trip or planning an extended stay, there’s a license tailored for you.
Variety of Options
- 24-hour individual license: This short-term license is perfect for a quick fishing trip. It costs $14 and is valid for 24 hours from the time of purchase.
- 7-day license: For a week-long fishing adventure, a 7-day license is available for $43.
- 14-day Couple License: This license allows a non-resident couple to fish together for 14 days. It costs $54.
- Annual Individual License: For non-residents planning to fish in Minnesota throughout the year, an annual license is available for $51.
|License Type||Resident Fee||Non-Resident Fee|
|3-year Individual Angling||$71.00||N/A|
|14-day Couple Angling||N/A||$54.00|
|7-day Individual Angling||N/A||$43.00|
Spearing and Shelter Licenses
Non-residents also have options for spearing and ice fishing shelter licenses. An annual shelter license costs $37 for non-residents, not including issuing fees that may be charged. This license is required for non-portable ice shelters and must be readily visible from the exterior of the shelter. A shelter license is valid from March 1 through April 30 of the following year.
Free Fishing Weekends And Special Exemptions
Minnesota offers free fishing weekends and special exemptions for certain groups of people, making it easier for everyone to enjoy the state’s abundant fishing opportunities.
Free Fishing Opportunities
Minnesota hosts several free fishing weekends throughout the year, allowing residents to fish without a license under specific conditions. Some of these events include:
- Take a Kid Ice Fishing Weekend: January 14–16, 2023 When a child under 16 is present, Minnesota residents who are 16 years of age or older can fish without a license.
- Take a Mom Fishing Weekend: May 13–14, 2023 Minnesota-resident moms can fish without a license this weekend.
- Take a Kid Fishing Weekend: June 9–11, 2023. When a child under 16 is present, Minnesota residents who are 16 years of age or older can fish without a license.
Certain groups are exempt from needing a fishing license in Minnesota:
- Residents younger than 16 or over 90
- Active military personnel on leave (must carry leave or furlough papers while fishing)
- Residents with developmental disabilities or veterans with a 100% service-connected disability can obtain a free license from the DNR by calling a specific number.
- Residents of Minnesota state institutions, U.S. Veterans Administration hospital patients, and residents of Minnesota licensed nursing or boarding care homes can fish without a license with written consent from the superintendent or chief executive of the institution.
Remember, fishing is a great way to connect with nature, spend time with family and friends, and unwind. Take advantage of these free fishing weekends and special exemptions to enjoy the beautiful lakes and rivers of Minnesota.
Application Process And Electronic Licensing
Applying for a license
in Minnesota is a straightforward process. Licenses can be purchased online, through an authorized agent, or at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) office. There’s a $1 agent fee for each license or stamp sold.
How to Apply
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) offers a variety of licenses, including individual angling, combination angling, individual sports, combination sports, and non-resident individual angling. These licenses are effective from March 1 to the last day of February of the following year.
To apply, you can visit the Minnesota DNR website or an authorized ELS agent. You can also apply in person at the DNR License Center in St. Paul. If you prefer to apply by phone, you can call 1-888-665-4236 (1-MN-LICENSE).
Electronic Licensing System (ELS)
Minnesota offers an Electronic Licensing System (ELS) for easy purchase and validation of licenses and stamps. This system provides options for instant licenses and lifetime licenses.
The ELS offers a variety of services, including the purchase of fishing licenses, hunting licenses, trap licenses, stamps, wild rice harvest permits, and trail passes. It also allows for the renewal of ATV, OHM, ORV, snowmobile, and boat registrations.
When purchasing a license, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:
- Online license purchases should be made only on the DNR website.
- If something doesn’t feel right during an online transaction, stop and call the DNR License Center at (651) 297-1230 or (877) 348-0498.
- Additionally, licenses are available for purchase at authorized vendors across the state or by calling 1-888-665-4236 (1-MN-LICENSE).
- If you suspect you have been a victim of fraud in an online license purchase using a credit card, contact the card issuer immediately. You may also contact your local law enforcement agency.
The fees for licenses vary depending on the type of license and whether the applicant is a resident or non-resident. For example, an individual angling license for a resident costs $25.00, while the same license for a non-resident costs $54.00.
Who needs a license?
All residents of Minnesota, age 16 to 89, must have a current Minnesota fishing license unless an exemption applies. All non-residents need a license, except those age 15 and younger, who do not need a license if a parent or guardian is licensed.
Who doesn’t need a license?
Residents age 15 and younger are allowed to take their own limit of fish without purchasing a license. Non-residents under the age of 16 do not need a license if the parent or guardian is licensed.
For additional information, you may refer to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources or call the DNR License Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367.
Additional Stamps And Tags
When it comes to fishing, there’s more to it than just casting a line. In many states, including Minnesota, anglers may need to purchase additional stamps or tags for certain species. These not only grant you the right to fish for these species but also contribute to conservation and stocking efforts.
Trout and Walleye Stamps
If you’re an angler with a penchant for trout or walleye, you might want to consider purchasing additional stamps. In Minnesota, a trout stamp is required for most anglers who fish for trout or salmon in lakes, streams, or Lake Superior. A trout stamp validation on an angler’s license costs $10. For an additional 75 cents, the angler can have the actual trout stamp mailed to their home. However, anglers younger than 19 or who are 65 or older do not need a trout stamp, nor do anglers fishing with a 24-hour or 72-hour license.
On the other hand, the walleye stamp, costing $5, is a voluntary purchase. It’s not required for fishing, but the revenue from the sale of walleye stamps is used for walleye stocking and related activities. For an additional 75 cents, you can request the actual pictorial stamp.
When you add the $5 walleye validation to your fishing license, those dollars flow into a dedicated account for walleye stocking. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources stocks walleye in about 1,000 lakes that cover roughly 1 million acres. This effort costs more than $3 million per year. Your purchase of a walleye stamp supports the purchase of fish from certified private providers.
For those who fancy a bit of sturgeon fishing, a specific tag is required. The sturgeon tag costs $5.00 for non-residents.
Why purchase these stamps and tags?
These stamps and tags are more than just a permit to fish; they’re a contribution to the conservation and enhancement of these species. The funds raised from these purchases are used to maintain and enhance the respective species’ populations, ensuring that future generations can also enjoy the thrill of fishing for trout, walleye, and sturgeon.
Regulations and Compliance
In the state of Minnesota, it’s mandatory for anglers aged 16 through 89 to carry their licenses while fishing. This requirement applies to both residents and non-residents, with specific licensing requirements for each group. For instance, non-residents aged 15 and younger do not need a license if a parent or guardian is licensed.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) offers a variety of fishing licenses, with fees varying based on the type of license and the residency status of the angler. For example, a 24-hour resident angling license costs $12.00, while a 3-year individual resident angling license is priced at $71.00. Non-residents also have a range of options, such as a 14-day couple angling license for $54.00 or a 7-day individual angling license for $43.00.
Consequences of Non-Compliance
Violating fishing laws can lead to serious consequences. In Minnesota, unless a different penalty is prescribed, a person convicted of violating a provision of the game and fish laws that is defined as a gross misdemeanor is subject to a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $3,000 and imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 90 days or more than one year.
Specific violations carry their own penalties. For instance, a person who takes or possesses a muskellunge in violation of the game and fish laws is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a fine of up to $1,000.
Actionable Steps for Compliance
To ensure compliance with fishing regulations, anglers should:
- Purchase the appropriate fishing license before going fishing.
- Always carry the license while fishing.
- Follow all fishing laws and regulations, including those related to catch limits and fishing seasons.
- Report any violations or suspicious activities to the local authorities.
Special Considerations for Different Angler Groups
Licenses for Disabled Anglers
Minnesota provides special licenses for anglers with disabilities and specific exemptions for assisting disabled people while fishing. Residents aged 16 and older who have a developmental disability or veterans with a 100% service-connected disability can obtain a free permanent angling license from the DNR by calling 877-348-0498. Additionally, residents of a Minnesota licensed nursing or boarding care home, wards of the Minnesota Commissioner of Human Services, residents of state institutions, or inpatients of a U.S. Veterans Administration hospital can also obtain a free license through a specific application process.
Youth and Senior Fishing Regulations
Different rules and license requirements apply to youth and senior anglers, reflecting Minnesota’s commitment to making fishing accessible to all age groups.
- Youth anglers: Minnesota residents younger than 16 do not need a fishing license. Non-residents under age 16 do not need a license if a parent or guardian is licensed, or they can purchase a non-resident youth license for $5.
- Senior anglers: Minnesota residents aged 90 and older can fish without a license.
By offering these special considerations, Minnesota ensures that fishing remains an enjoyable and accessible activity for various groups of anglers. So, whether you’re a seasoned fisher or just starting, remember to follow the regulations and enjoy the great outdoors responsibly.
In Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes, fishing is more than just a pastime; it’s a way of life. Understanding Minnesota fishing license costs and regulations is vital for a responsible and enjoyable fishing experience. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, Minnesota’s waters await you. Remember, a valid fishing license is your ticket to exploring the rich aquatic life of this beautiful state. Happy fishing!