Minnesota Fishing License Cost: What You Need to Know

Minnesota Fishing License Cost: What You Need to Know

Fishing is not just a hobby; it’s a way of life for many in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. But before you cast your line into one of Minnesota’s pristine waters, you need to understand the costs involved in obtaining a Minnesota fishing license. This article aims to provide an in-depth look at the fishing license cost in Minnesota for the current 2023-24 license year, breaking down the types, regulations, and even the fine print.

Minnesota Fishing License Cost: What You Need to Know

Current Costs of a Minnesota Fishing License

Annual License Fees

If you’re a Minnesota resident planning to fish in Minnesota, you’ll need to be aware of the latest changes in the cost of obtaining a fishing license for the current 2023-24 license year. According to a recent budget proposal by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the cost of an annual license for residents is slated to rise by 20%, moving from $25 to $30. This change is significant, especially considering the last time such an increase occurred was in 2017. For non-residents, the annual fishing license will see a 35% hike, going from $46 to $62.

Boat Registration Fees

Owning a boat comes with its own set of financial responsibilities. If you have a fishing boat that falls within the 17-to-19 foot range, you should prepare for a 119% increase in the registration fee, which will jump from $27 to $59. For those with a 20-foot boat, the new registration fee will be $113, marking a 151% increase from the previous $45. It’s worth noting that these watercraft registration fees are charged once every three years and haven’t been updated since 2006.

Additional Costs

Besides the annual license and boat registration fees, there are other costs to consider. One such cost is the aquatic invasive species surcharge, which is set to increase from $10.60 to $20. This surcharge is part of the DNR’s efforts to combat the spread of invasive species in Minnesota’s water bodies.

State Park Fees

If you’re planning on fishing in a Minnesota state park, you’ll also need to account for park admission fees. The annual sticker for park admittance is expected to rise by 29%, from $35 to $45. Additionally, the daily admission fee will see a 42% increase, going from $7 to $10. These changes are expected to take effect during the fiscal year starting on July 1, and the fishing license increase will start on March 1, 2024.

Understanding Minnesota Fishing Regulations and Laws

Fishing Season and Types of Fish

If you’re planning to fish in Minnesota, it’s crucial to be aware of the fishing seasons, which vary depending on the type of fish you’re targeting. For instance, the winter season on Upper Red Lake in northern Minnesota has specific regulations. Anglers are allowed a three-walleye bag limit, with only one walleye longer than 17 inches permitted in possession. These regulations are designed to maintain a healthy, sustainable level of fish populations. Always consult the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for the most current regulations, as they are subject to change based on the health of fish populations and other environmental factors.

Fishing Laws and Penalties

Fishing without a valid fishing license in Minnesota can result in hefty fines. Last year, the fine for fishing without a license was around $135, and that doesn’t include any additional court costs or fees. The Minnesota DNR actively manages fishing regulations to ensure sustainable fish populations. Therefore, always ensure you have a valid fishing license when you’re out on the water. If you’re caught fishing or transporting fish without a license, you could also face confiscation of your fishing equipment.

Exemptions and Special Cases

There are specific conditions under which certain individuals may fish without a license. For example, Minnesota residents enlisted in the military can obtain a free license under certain conditions. Additionally, children under the age of 16 and seniors over the age of 90 don’t require a license to fish. However, they must adhere to all other fishing regulations and bag limits. It’s essential to check the license requirements and know if any exemptions apply to you.

How to Get a Minnesota Fishing License

Online Purchase: The Convenient Way to Get Your License

If you’re planning to fish in Minnesota, obtaining a fishing license is a mandatory step unless specific exemptions apply to you. One of the most convenient ways to get your license is through the Minnesota DNR’s electronic license system. The platform offers various types of licenses, including individual angling licenses (Code 111) for $25 and combination angling licenses for married couples (Code 112) for $40. The system is user-friendly and provides a secure way to make your purchase. Once the transaction is complete, you’ll receive a license number, which you must carry while fishing.

In-Person at a License Agent: A Traditional Approach

For those who prefer a more traditional method, you can also get a fishing license in person. Visit a DNR license center or a licensed agent to make your purchase. The cost for an individual angling license is the same as online, $25 (Code 111). If you’re a Minnesota resident, you’ll need to provide proof of legal residence in Minnesota for at least 60 days prior to the purchase. This is often done by showing a current Minnesota driver’s license or ID card.

Required Documents: What You Need to Bring

When you’re purchasing a license, either online or in person, you’ll need to provide specific documents. A current Minnesota driver’s license or ID card is generally required. For non-residents, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will collect your social security number when you apply for a non-commercial fishing license. Make sure you have all the necessary documents to avoid any delays or complications.

Types of Licenses: Choose What Suits You

Minnesota offers a variety of fishing licenses to meet different needs. For instance, if you’re into both hunting and fishing, you might consider a sports license (Code 216 for individuals at $41 and Code 217 for couples at $57). There are also lifetime licenses available for those who are long-term enthusiasts. These licenses are a one-time purchase and do not require annual renewals.

Actionable Steps

  1. Decide the Type of License: Before making a purchase, decide what type of license you need. Whether it’s an individual license, a family license, or a sports license, make an informed choice.
  2. Gather Required Documents: Ensure you have your current Minnesota driver’s license or ID card or any other required documents.
  3. Choose the Purchase Method: Decide whether you want to buy a license online through the DNR’s electronic system or prefer to visit a DNR license center in person.
  4. Check for Exemptions: If you think you might be exempt, such as military personnel or certain age groups, confirm this with the DNR to avoid any legal complications.

By following these steps, you can ensure a smooth process for obtaining your Minnesota fishing license, allowing you to enjoy the state’s abundant fishing opportunities responsibly.


Understanding the Minnesota fishing license cost and regulations is crucial for anyone planning to fish in the state. With the proposed increases in license and registration fees, as well as state park admittance, it’s more important than ever to be informed. Always consult the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for the most current information and remember, fishing is not just about the catch; it’s about enjoying Minnesota’s natural beauty responsibly.

Similar Posts