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North Dakota Fishing License

Licensing Requirements

  • Residents and nonresidents age 16 and older need fishing licenses.
    • Residents under age 16 may take and possess a limit of fish without a fishing license.
    • Any nonresident under age 16 may take and possess a limit of fish without a nonresident fishing license if accompanied by an individual possessing a valid fishing license.


  1. Military - North Dakota residents who are on leave from active duty with the United States military can fish without a license. Contact the Department for details.
  2. Nonresident full-time students - Nonresident full-time students living in North Dakota, who are attending a state or tribal college, or a private institution of higher education, may qualify for purchasing resident fishing licenses. Contact the Department for details.
  3. Free Fishing Days - Residents of North Dakota may fish (except for paddlefish) without a resident fishing license on four designated days each year.

Additional Requirements

  • Darkhouse Spearfishing
    • In addition to possessing the needed valid fishing license, all individuals who participate in darkhouse spearfishing must first register (free).
  • Paddlefish Snagging
    • All paddlefish snaggers must possess a paddlefish tag in addition to a valid fishing license.

License Eligibility

North Dakota fishing opportunities are open to both North Dakota residents and nonresidents (exception: Free Fishing Days are resident only).

Residency Requirements  |  Resident License Fees  |  Nonresident License Fees

How to Purchase a License

Licenses may be purchased


  • Licenses are valid for one year starting April 1 and ending March 31 of the following year. An angler must possess a valid fishing license for the respective season.
  • The fishing license must be in the possession of the licensee at all times while fishing.
  • A digital image of a fishing license stored on a mobile device is accepted as a license in possession.

Stylized fish with text Virtual Fishing Mentor by it

If you are new to fishing or would like some tips to help with your next fishing challenge, check out our Fishing Virtual Mentor.