North Dakota Fishing License: The Complete Guide

May 29, 2024 | 5 minute read
Reading Time: 5 minutes

While North Dakota may be landlocked, its fishing prowess is sure to surprise you. The Peace Garden State is actually a top destination for serious anglers from far and wide. With over 400 lakes and rivers, the state boasts good action for Walleye, Pike, Catfish, Perch, Bass, Salmon, and many more prized game fish. But before you hit the waters, you’ll need to secure a North Dakota fishing license.

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

So let us walk you through what’s needed to cast your line into waters as diverse as the Missouri River and Oahe and Sakakawea Lakes. Prime waters stretch across the state, promising plenty of fishing opportunities. Read on to get started on your North Dakota fishing journey!

Who needs a North Dakota Fishing License?

Anyone aged 16 or older must have a valid North Dakota fishing license to cast a line. This requirement applies to both residents and visitors. So, whether you’re a local angling enthusiast or a tourist planning a weekend getaway, securing a license is the first step to enjoying the Peace Garden State’s incredible fishing offer.

Fishing licenses help support local wildlife management, conservation programs, and habitat preservation efforts. That means that any trip to the Missouri River, Lake Sakakawea, or Devils Lake will see you help contribute to keeping the fisheries strong and healthy! 

Who doesn’t need a North Dakota Fishing License?

While most anglers need a license to fish in North Dakota, there are several exceptions to this rule. As we already mentioned, children under the age of 16 don’t need a permit. However, non-resident children will need to be accompanied by an adult with a valid license, which isn’t the case for ND residents under 16. 

North Dakota residents on active military duty stationed outside the state are exempt from needing a fishing license while on leave in the state. This exemption allows service members to enjoy fishing during their time off without any added costs.

Disabled veterans who are North Dakota residents and have a service-connected disability of 50% or more can obtain a fishing license free of charge. Meanwhile, many disabled residents who meet certain criteria defined by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department (NDGF) can obtain fishing licenses without charge. While these individuals still need to apply for their permits, they don’t have to pay the associated fees.

Finally, darkhouse spearfishing enthusiasts must register for free, in addition to holding a regular fishing license. This extra registration ensures that the practice is properly regulated while allowing participants to enjoy this unique fishing method.

Information for Residents

A view looking towards a gorge between two ricks in Government Bay, Lake Sakakawea, North Dakota, on a clear day, with a lone kayaker paddling through the gap and birds flying above on a clear day

If you’re a North Dakotan, there are several fishing license options tailored to suit your needs. An annual license, for instance, is the go-to choice for most local anglers. It covers all your fishing adventures throughout the year, giving you access to some top spots whenever you want.

For married couples, the husband and wife permit offers a convenient and cost-effective way for both partners to enjoy fishing. With this one, you can fish together without needing separate licenses.

Senior citizens aged 65 and older can benefit from discounted rates, making it easier for older anglers to continue enjoying their favorite pastime without breaking the bank.

Active duty members stationed in North Dakota have the option to purchase a military license. They’ll get the same privileges as a regular resident fishing permit, ensuring that those serving our country can relax and enjoy fishing during their time off.

An Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) sticker is another essential for North Dakotans operating a motorized watercraft. This sticker helps fund efforts to prevent the spread of harmful aquatic species that can disrupt local ecosystems. And if you’re interested in snagging Paddlefish, you’ll need a Paddlefish Tag in addition to your regular permit. This is a unique and exciting style, but it comes with specific regulations. Feel free to learn more online

Finally, for those who enjoy multiple outdoor activities, the combination license is a fantastic option. This combines fishing, hunting, and general game and habitat licenses into one convenient package, making it easier and more affordable to enjoy all that North Dakota has to offer.

Information for Non-Residents

A view from a hill towards the winding Missouri River in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota at sunset on a clear day

If you’re visiting North Dakota and looking to experience its fantastic fishing opportunities, there are several fishing license options available specifically for non-residents. For example, the 3-day and 10-day permits are perfect if you’re planning a quick weekend trip or a longer vacation. 

Young anglers aged 16–7 can take advantage of a discounted license, designed to make fishing accessible and affordable for teens. Meanwhile, non-residents also have access to the same annual licenses as residents, including the husband and wife permits. Additionally, non-residents can obtain a Paddlefish Tag, too. 

As already mentioned, all motorized watercraft operated on North Dakota waters must have an ANS sticker. For motorized watercraft registered in North Dakota, the ANS fee runs concurrently with the 3-year watercraft registration period. For watercraft not licensed in North Dakota but operated on its waters, there’s an annual fee.

Nevada Fishing License Cost

So you know which Nevada fishing license you want, but how much do they cost? Check out the breakdown of prices for all licenses below. As you’ll see, there’s almost always a discount for Noth Dakotans. 

TypeResident FeeNon-resident Fee
3-day N/A$28.00
10-day N/A$38.00
Husband and Wife$24.00$63.00
Youth (16–17)N/A$10.00
Senior Citizen (65+)$5.00N/A
Fish and Hunt Combo$53.00N/A
Military (Active Duty)$18.00N/A
Paddlefish Tag$10.00$25.50

Where to Get Your North Dakota Fishing License

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

Securing your North Dakota fishing license is straightforward. Here are the options:

  • Online. Visit the NDGF Department website and use their online licensing system.
  • In-person. There are various license vendors throughout the state, including sporting goods stores, convenience stores, and other retail locations. You can also get your permit directly at any NDGF office.
  • By Phone at (701) 328-6335.

With these convenient options, getting your North Dakota fishing license is quick and easy. You can spend more time on the water and less time on paperwork!

Grab Your North Dakota Fishing License and Reel in the Fun!

Are you ready to explore the best spots in the Peace Garden State? Secure your North Dakota fishing license today and dive into the action. Whether you’re aiming for Walleye in Lake Sakakawea or want to see what’s biting in Devils Lake, having your license is step number one. Don’t wait—get your permit, find a guide, and make your angling dreams a reality!

Hopefully, we’ve answered all your questions about getting a North Dakota fishing license. If you still need more information, don’t hesitate to contact the local authorities directly. If everything’s clear, go ahead and secure your license. Once you have it, you can find a fishing charter near you and start enjoying the adventure!

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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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