Nebraska Fishing License: The Complete Guide for 2024

Apr 26, 2024 | 5 minute read
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Let’s be honest, when the urge to cast a line strikes, Nebraska is an excellent destination to pick. Think of Cunningham Lake in Omaha with its world-famous Bluegill or the Two Rivers Area in Waterloo, where Smallmouth Bass fight like there’s no tomorrow. But before you can reel in that record catch, there’s a crucial step—securing a Nebraska fishing license. 

The flag of Nebraska flying from a flagpole against a background of a clear blue sky

If you’re looking for a freshwater fishing adventure, Nebraska really has it all. Let’s see how you can get equipped with the necessary permits from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. After all, navigating the local regulations is just as important as choosing the right bait!

Who needs a Nebraska fishing license?

If you’re 16 or older, you’re going to need a Nebraska fishing license to try your luck in the state’s waters. Whether you’re after game fish or want to take the elusive barred salamanders as bait, make sure to always have your license on you. 

Through your financial contribution, you also get a Nebraska Aquatic Habitat Stamp, which helps make places like Lake McConaughy an angler’s dream. All money raised through this scheme goes back into conserving the ecosystem on the Cornhusker State’s waterways.

There’s also one other permit out there, though. For Paddlefish fans, a separate $26 Paddlefish Permit is needed. And yes, you still need your standard fishing license first.

Who doesn’t need a Nebraska fishing license?

A view across a private fishing pond in Nebraska on a cloudy day with fall colors visible on the trees on the opposite shore, with some leaves on the calm lake

As with every rule, there’s an exception or two to it. Not every angling enthusiast needs to secure a Nebraska fishing license before exploring the waters—well, certain waters. Privately stocked ponds, completely isolated from other water bodies and without any commercial ties, are free to fish without a license. Similarly, commercial put-and-take operations, where businesses manage their own stocked ponds for public use, allow for license-free fishing.

But it’s not just certain spots. Nebraska deeply values its veterans and disabled residents. Nebraskan veterans aged 64 and older, as well as those with service-related disabilities of 50% or more, or receiving pensions for total and permanent non-service-related disabilities, are eligible for reduced or no-cost permits. This includes Lifetime Park Entry and Annual Small Game Hunt/Fish/Fur Harvest Permits. 

Veterans returning from deployment within the last year also benefit from discounted permits as they reintegrate into civilian life.

For those with physical or developmental challenges, there are special permits allowing both the individual and an assistant to fish under one permit. Just beware that they must share one daily bag limit. 

As we mentioned, children under 16 can fish for free. However, they must be accompanied with an adult angler who has a valid permit. But that’s not all for those still in education. Educational Fishing Project Permits are available for students aged 16 and older, promoting hands-on conservation education and nurturing a new generation of responsible anglers.

Anything else I need to know?

While your fishing license will allow you to cast a line in Nebraska’s numerous state parks, you’ll still need a Park Pass to visit. These are charged per car/vehicle and you can get yours online or at any park kiosk near the entrance. Pinpoint your next great catch with the NGPC’s interactive “find a park” map.

For those engaged in specialized fishing operations—from bait and fish dealers to private fishery managers—Nebraska provides separate applications and forms. Feel free to get in touch with the NGPC for more information. 

Finally, Nebraskan boat owners will notice a $5 surcharge when registering their vessel. This covers the Aquatic Invasive Species Stamp. While it’s automatically included for resident boaters, visitors need to get one every year.

Nebraska License Information for Residents 

Two fishing rods set up from the shore of a wide lake in Nebraska at sunset on a cloudy day

Nebraska’s fishing permits cater to every spontaneous and dedicated local angler. Start with the 1-day permit, perfect for those impromptu trips to the water. Meanwhile, if a weekend retreat is on your mind, grab a 3-day license

For anglers who view fishing as a year-round pursuit, the Annual Fish Permit is your best bet. It ensures you never miss a day, and isn’t much more expensive than the 3-day option. 

Want to skip the yearly renewal hassle? Opt for 3-year or 5-year fishing permits, which let you plan your fishing expeditions years ahead. There are also lifetime fishing licenses for those who practically live with a rod in their hand! And, if you wield both a rod and gun, consider opting for a Fish and Hunt Combo package. 

Eligibility for these permits requires you to have established residency in Nebraska for at least 30 days. Even if you’re stationed out of state for military service or education, you can claim your resident permit, provided Nebraska remains your legal domicile. Just be ready to present proof like a driver’s license or voter registration when verifying your residency.

Nebraska License Information for Non-residents 

Non-residents can just as easily tap into the state’s rich fishing culture. While the prices may differ, visitor licenses are perfectly aligned with resident options. There’s just one difference—lifetime licenses are available to different age groups compared to those for Nebraskans.

As we already mentioned, if you’re bringing your own boat, you’ll need a non-resident AIS Stamp. This lasts through the end of the year, and you can apply for yours online before getting it in the mail. But don’t worry if you’re in a hurry! You can print a temporary 14-day permit right after your purchase while you wait for your permanent sticker. 

Nebraska Fishing License Cost

As the license options are so similar for residents and non-residents, we can now dive into the price lists: 

License TypeResident FeeNon-resident Fee
1-day $10$14.50
3-year $90.50$216.50
Lifetime (16-45)$710N/A
Lifetime (17+)N/A$1,306

Nebraska Park Pass Costs

Park Pass TypeNebraska-licensedNon-Nebraska-licensed
Annual $36$71
Annual with Duplicate$54$107

Nebraska Fishing and Hunting Combo License Prices

License TypeResident FeeNon-resident Fee
3-year All-state $206$549
3-year Habitat $191$534
5-year All-state $308$823
5-year Habitat $285$800
Lifetime (16-45)$1,008N/A
Lifetime (17+)N/A$2,391

Where to Buy Your Nebraska Fishing License

An infographic featuring the flag of Nebraska above text that says "Nebraska fishing licence, where to buy", along with an illustration of a boat underneath against a blue background

Securing your Nebraska fishing license is straightforward with several options available:

  • Online. Easily purchase your fishing license using the Go Outdoors Nebraska website from your smartphone, tablet, or desktop device. Mobile permits must be accessible on your device to display upon request by a conservation officer. You also have the option to print your permit immediately after your online transaction is complete.
  • In-Person. If you prefer a physical copy, licenses are available at various authorized vendors throughout Nebraska. 

Get Your Nebraska Fishing License and Make Some Waves!

Ready to make a splash? Whether you’re a weekend angler or a dedicated pro, securing your Nebraska fishing license is a must. Each permit you purchase supports conservation efforts, helping to maintain and enhance the natural habitats that make Nebraska a great place to fish. So why wait? Choose the perfect license for your needs, cast your line, and head out.

We hope this guide answered all your questions about securing a Nebraska fishing license. If you still need more info, don’t hesitate to contact the Cornhusker State’s authorities directly. Now, go ahead and get licensed, find a fishing charter near you, and get ready for some fun!

Author profile picture

Lisa traded the lecture hall for the vast expanse of the world's waters, transforming her love of teaching into an insatiable passion for angling and storytelling. She would sail through oceans, lakes, and rivers, reeling in the world’s fish stories one catch at a time.

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