Iowa’s Lifetime Fishing Licenses

Iowa offers several lifetime fishing license options for residents, with specific licenses tailored to seniors, disabled veterans, and former prisoners of war (POWs). These special lifetime licenses provide long-term fishing privileges in return for a one-time fee. Revenues from some of these lifetime licenses help support Iowa’s fisheries through stocking programs.

In 2024, Iowa introduced new lifetime trout and annual military fishing licenses, expanding lifetime license options for disabled veterans and active military personnel. This article provides an overview of all lifetime fishing license options available to Iowa anglers as of 2024.

$65 Lifetime Trout Fishing License

Iowa residents aged 65 years or older are eligible to purchase a lifetime trout fishing license for a one-time fee of $65. This license, offered through the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), grants the holder trout fishing privileges for life.

According to the DNR, revenues from lifetime trout licenses sold to seniors over 65 help support the stocking of catchable-size trout in Iowa waters. Over 720,000 trout are stocked across the state annually.

$5 Lifetime Fishing License for Disabled Veterans & Former POWs

The DNR offers a $5 lifetime fishing license to Iowa residents who are disabled veterans or former prisoners of war (POWs). This significant license discount recognizes the service and sacrifices made by these groups.

To qualify for the $5 lifetime fishing license, proof of disability status must be shown. Specifically, applicants must provide an official certification from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) indicating they have a service-connected disability rating of 100%.

For former POWs to qualify, they must present a certification from the VA administrator indicating they were held captive as a POW during active duty.

New Lifetime Trout License for Disabled Veterans

In 2024, Iowa introduced a new $63 lifetime trout fishing license specifically for resident disabled veterans who qualify for Iowa’s disabled veteran homestead credit.

The one-time fee for this lifetime trout license is slightly lower than the standard $65 trout license. To be eligible, qualified disabled veterans must show proof that they have been awarded Iowa’s homestead tax credit for 100% disabled veterans.

Annual Military Fishing & Hunting Licenses

Along with the new lifetime trout fishing license, Iowa began offering special annual fishing and hunting licenses for active military personnel in 2024.

  • The annual armed forces fishing license is available to Iowa residents who are serving in the armed forces, at a cost of $5.
  • There is also a $5 annual armed forces hunting and fishing combined license for active military members who are state residents.

Both licenses provide discounted hunting and fishing privileges to help reduce costs for active duty service members during their annual leave or off duty recreation.

General Fishing Regulations & License Costs

In addition to lifetime licenses, Iowa offers annual and multi-year fishing licenses to residents and non-residents. General license options and regulations are summarized below:

  • Resident: Annual ($20), 3-Year ($60), 7-Day ($13)
  • Non-resident: Annual ($45), 7-Day ($13), 3-Day ($17)
  • Children under 16 may fish without a license with a properly licensed adult
  • Senior citizens aged 65+ receive discounted license rates
  • A valid fishing license with appropriate privileges must be carried while fishing
  • Revenues from license sales help support fisheries management and stocking programs

There are also special statewide regulations, season dates, and limits governing the harvest of certain fish species like trout, bass, walleye, northern pike, etc. Refer to the DNR fishing regulations for complete guidelines.


Iowa aims to facilitate fishing opportunities for residents through affordable lifetime licenses for seniors, veterans, and former POWs. These special licenses grant holders fishing privileges for life following a small one-time payment.

Recent additions in 2024 expanded lifetime license options for disabled veterans and active military personnel. Along with supporting leisure fishing, revenues from license sales help sustain robust fisheries management across the state through critical stocking initiatives.


  1. Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Licenses, Laws and Regulations
  2. Iowa Department of Natural Resources. 2022 Iowa Fishing Regulations
  3. Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Lifetime License Forms and Fees
  4. Iowa Public Television. Iowa Outdoors: Hooked on Trout. Aired March 5, 2022.

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