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Minnesota Fishing License Expiration 2024: Renew Now to Avoid Fines!

Attention, Minnesota anglers! As the 2024 fishing season approaches, it’s crucial to stay on top of your fishing license renewal to avoid potential fines and keep enjoying the state’s world-class fishing opportunities. The expiration date for all 2023 Minnesota fishing licenses is February 29, 2024, which means you’ll need a new license to fish legally starting March 1, 2024.

As an avid fisherman who has admittedly forgotten to renew my license in the past (oops!), I’m here to share my experience and expertise to help you navigate the renewal process smoothly. Trust me, it’s a lot easier than untangling a bird’s nest in your fishing line! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Minnesota fishing license expiration, renewal options, and why staying licensed matters for both you and our state’s fisheries. Let’s dive in!

When 2023 Minnesota Fishing Licenses Expire

First things first, let’s talk expiration dates. All 2023 Minnesota fishing licenses, whether you’re a resident or non-resident, will expire on February 29, 2024. This means that if you plan to fish on or after March 1, 2024, you’ll need to have a valid 2024 license in hand.

The 2024 licenses will be valid from March 1, 2024, through February 28, 2025, giving you a full year of fishing fun. My advice? Don’t wait until the last minute to renew. Buy your new license in early February 2024 to ensure you’re ready to hit the water as soon as the new season begins. Plus, you’ll avoid the stress of realizing your license has expired while you’re en route to your favorite fishing spot (been there, done that!).

Who Needs A Minnesota Fishing License

Now, let’s clarify who needs a fishing license in Minnesota:

  • Minnesota residents aged 16 to 89 need a valid fishing license to wet a line legally.
  • Exceptions include residents under 16, residents 90 and older, active military members stationed outside Minnesota on leave, and recently discharged residents who served outside the U.S.
  • Non-residents aged 16 and older also require a valid Minnesota fishing license, even if fishing with a licensed adult.
  • The only exception is for non-residents under 16 who are fishing with a licensed parent or guardian.

Always double-check the most current regulations on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fishing regulations page before heading out to fish.

Types Of Minnesota Fishing Licenses

Minnesota offers a variety of fishing license options to cater to different angling needs and preferences:

Resident License Options

  • Individual Angling: The standard license for Minnesota residents.
  • Combination Angling: Designed for married couples who fish together.
  • Conservation: Offers reduced possession limits for eco-conscious anglers.
  • Sports: Combines angling and small game hunting privileges.
  • Short-term and Lifetime: Options include 24-hour, 72-hour, 3-year, and lifetime licenses.

Non-Resident License Options

  • Individual Angling: The go-to license for non-resident anglers.
  • Family License: Covers two parents and their children under 16.
  • Short-term and Lifetime: Choices include 24-hour, 7-day, 14-day, and lifetime licenses.

Keep in mind that additional stamps or tags may be required for certain species, such as trout or salmon. Check the DNR fishing regulations for the most up-to-date information on license types and requirements.

How To Renew Your Minnesota Fishing License

Renewing your Minnesota fishing license is a breeze, with several convenient options available:

  1. Online: Visit the DNR online license sales site and complete the process using a credit card.
  2. By Phone: Call 1-888-665-4236 to renew over the phone using a credit card. Note that a $1.50 fee applies.
  3. In Person: Stop by one of the 1,500+ license agent locations across Minnesota, which include many sporting goods stores, bait shops, and convenience stores. Find a location near you on the DNR license agents page.

Remember, it’s best to renew early to have your license in hand before the March 1, 2024 deadline. Don’t be like me and wait until the night before your big fishing trip to realize your license has expired!

Why Renewing Your License Matters

You might be thinking, “Why should I bother renewing my fishing license? What’s the big deal?” Well, there are several compelling reasons why staying licensed is essential:

  1. Avoid Fines: Fishing without a valid license can result in hefty fines of $100 or more. Trust me, that money is better spent on new fishing gear or a lakeside cabin rental!
  2. Support Conservation: Your license dollars directly fund the DNR’s critical conservation work, including fish stocking, habitat restoration, and research. By renewing your license, you’re investing in the future of Minnesota’s fisheries.
  3. Preserve Fishing’s Future: High license sales demonstrate that anglers are a powerful constituency that deserves attention and support from policymakers. Renewing your license helps ensure that fishing remains a priority in Minnesota.
  4. It’s Quick and Easy: With online, phone, and in-person options, renewing your license takes just minutes. Plus, it’s an annual requirement, so there’s no excuse for letting it lapse!

Lifetime License Options

For those who want to avoid the annual renewal process altogether, Minnesota offers lifetime fishing licenses for both residents and non-residents. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Prices vary by age: Lifetime licenses cost $304 for anglers under 4 years old, up to $574 for those 51 and older.
  • Gift option: Lifetime licenses can be purchased as a gift for someone else, making them a fantastic present for the avid angler in your life.
  • Portable: Your lifetime license remains valid even if you move out of state.
  • Supports conservation: Lifetime license fees are deposited into a special trust fund dedicated to fishing and wildlife management.
  • Cost-effective for some: Depending on your age and how often you fish, a lifetime license may be more economical than purchasing annual licenses over the long run. This is especially true for kids, as they’ll get the most use out of a lifetime license.

Do the math to see if a lifetime license makes financial sense for you compared to buying annual licenses. The DNR lifetime license page has more information to help you decide.

Free Fishing Weekends In 2024

If you have friends or family who are curious about fishing but haven’t taken the plunge yet, Minnesota’s free fishing weekends are the perfect opportunity to introduce them to the sport. Mark your calendars for these license-free dates in 2024:

  • Take a Mom Fishing Weekend: May 11-12, 2024
  • Take a Kid Fishing Weekend: June 7-9, 2024
  • Take a Kid Ice Fishing Weekend: January 18-20, 2025

During these special weekends, Minnesota residents can fish without a license, making it a great time to share your love of angling with others. Keep in mind that while a license isn’t required, all other fishing regulations still apply, so be sure to brush up on the rules before heading out.


Alright, Minnesota anglers, we’ve covered a lot of ground in this guide to fishing license renewal! To recap, here are the key points to remember:

  1. Renew early: As soon as 2024 licenses go on sale in February, snag yours to avoid the last-minute rush.
  2. Don’t delay: Your 2023 license expires on February 29, 2024, so make sure you have a new one before hitting the water on March 1.
  3. Multiple renewal options: Renewing online, by phone, or in person is quick and easy, taking just minutes of your time.
  4. Support conservation: Your license dollars fund vital fisheries work and help protect angling for future generations.
  5. Avoid fines: Renewing your license is not only required by law but also helps you avoid costly fines for fishing without a valid license.

Now that you’re armed with all the information you need, there’s no excuse for letting your fishing license lapse. Renew now, and get ready for another incredible year of fishing in Minnesota’s stunning lakes, rivers, and streams. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

And remember, if you ever have questions about fishing licenses or regulations, the Minnesota DNR website is your go-to resource for the most up-to-date information.

Happy fishing, my fellow anglers! May your lines be tight, your nets be full, and your fishing licenses always up to date. See you on the water!

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