Uncover When You Need a Fishing License in NC

Are you planning a fishing trip in North Carolina (NC) but unsure about the licensing requirements? You’re not alone. Many anglers find themselves in a similar situation. This comprehensive guide will help you understand when you need a fishing license in NC, the types of licenses available, and how to obtain one. We’ll also provide you with the current contact information for the relevant authorities. So, let’s dive in and make sure your next fishing adventure is both enjoyable and compliant with the law.

When Do You Need a Fishing License in NC?

In North Carolina, any individual aged 16 or older who wants to recreationally fish in any water designated as coastal or joint waters needs a fishing license. This requirement also applies to inland fishing. However, youth under the age of 16 are exempt from the requirements of any fishing license and trout privilege license.

Types of Fishing Licenses in NC

The type of license you need depends on several factors, including the type of fishing you plan to do, whether you’re a resident or non-resident, and the duration of your fishing trip. Here are the main types of fishing licenses in NC:

  1. Resident Annual Coastal Fishing License: This license is for residents over 16 years old and costs $16.
  2. Non-resident Annual Coastal Fishing License: Non-residents can obtain this license for $32.
  3. Short-Term Licenses: These licenses are valid for the period specified and are ideal for non-residents planning a short fishing trip to NC.
  4. Lifetime License: This license is for those who plan to fish regularly in NC. The cost varies depending on the age of the applicant.
  5. Unified Inland/Coastal Recreational Fishing License Waiver: This is a free license for residents who receive Medicaid, Food Stamps, or Work First Family Assistance.

You can purchase your license online at gooutdoorsnorthcarolina.com.

Contact Information

Here is the current contact information for the relevant authorities:

  • NC Wildlife Resources Commission
    • Website: www.ncwildlife.org
    • Phone: 833-950-0575
  • Division of Marine Fisheries Offices
    • Website: www.deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/marine-fisheries
  • Wildlife Service Agent
    • Website: www.ncalvin.org/WildlifeServiceAgentMVC

Why NC is a Great Place for Fishing

North Carolina is ranked among the best states for fishing, with some of the best guides, shoreline, and fishing trails. It’s also home to 100+ lb monster freshwater fish. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, NC offers a diverse range of fishing experiences that cater to all skill levels.


Understanding when you need a fishing license in NC is crucial for a hassle-free fishing experience. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, make sure you have the appropriate license before you cast your line. Happy fishing!

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