How to Get a Minnesota Fishing License

Fishing is a popular pastime in Minnesota, with the state’s many lakes, rivers, and streams offering abundant opportunities to catch walleye, trout, bass, and more. However, to legally fish the waters of Minnesota, all residents and non-residents 16 years of age and older need a valid fishing license, unless exempt.

This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about getting a Minnesota fishing license. We’ll explain who needs a license, where to get licenses, costs, license durations, and exemptions. Follow the simple steps below, and you’ll be set to fish Minnesota’s plentiful waters in no time.

Who needs a Minnesota fishing license?

While certain groups are exempt (see exemptions later in the article), the following need a fishing license to fish Minnesota waters:

Minnesota Residents

  • All residents are 16–89 years old. This includes annual licenses or short-term licenses.


  • All non-residents need a license if they are 16 years of age or older, except those under 16 years old who can fish without a license if accompanied by a licensed parent/guardian.
Minnesota Fishing License
Minnesota Fishing License

Where To Buy a Minnesota Fishing License

You can purchase a Minnesota fishing license through various locations:


By Phone

  • Call 1-888-MN-LICENSE (1-888-665-4236) to order a license over the phone.


  • Visit authorized license vendors such as:
    • DNR license bureaus
    • Many bait & tackle shops
    • Walmart stores
    • Some convenience stores
    • Hardware stores
  • Pay in person with cash, check, or credit card.

Minnesota Fishing License Costs

License fees vary based on residency status and license duration.


  • Annual License: $25
  • 24-Hour License: $10
  • 72-Hour License: $15


  • Annual License: $51
  • 24-Hour License: $12
  • 72-Hour License: $16

Other specialty licenses are available at different rates, including trout stamps, sports licenses, etc.

License Duration & Expiration

  • Licenses are valid from March 1st through the last day of February the following year.
  • Purchase 2021 licenses now for the entire 2021 season up to the last day of February 2022.
  • Short-term 24-hour and 72-hour licenses are valid for specified times.

Exemptions: Who Doesn’t Need a License

While most anglers need a fishing license, the following groups can fish license-free but must follow all other regulations:

Minnesota Residents Exempt:

  • Those under 16 years old
  • Those over 89 years
  • Active-duty military personnel are home on leave
  • Recently discharged veterans (within past 24 months)
  • Patients of VA hospitals

Non-Residents Exempt:

  • Those under 16 years old can fish without a license if a parent/guardian has one.

How to Buy Your Minnesota Fishing License

Follow these simple steps when purchasing your Minnesota fishing license:

Step 1: Determine If You Need a License

Use the information above to decide if you need a license based on your age and residency status. Those who are exempt do not need a license.

Step 2: Select the license type and duration.

Choose an annual, 24-hour, 72-hour, or other specialty license based on your needs. Resident vs. non-resident fees apply.

Step 3: Purchase Online, Phone or In-Person

Buy from the DNR website, approved vendors, or call 1-888-MN-LICENSE. Online and by phone allow 24/7 purchases.

Step 4: Print or Save the digital proof of License

Digital or paper proof serves as your license when fishing. Have it available when on the water.

Step 5: Review Regulations

Check the special regulations for the water bodies you’ll be fishing. Follow all fishing rules.

Key Things to Remember

To avoid issues while fishing, keep these license tips in mind:

  • Have license with you when fishing—digital or paper proof
  • Know special regulations for fishing in bodies of water.
  • Update contact information if moved recently
  • Supervise children properly if they are exempt from needing a license

Getting a Minnesota fishing license is quick and easy by following this guide. In no time, you’ll be set to fish while staying compliant with regulations.

Now get out there and reel in some walleye, trout, bass, and more from Minnesota’s amazing fisheries! Good luck!

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