How to Get a Minnesota Fishing License: Step-by-Step

Last Updated on June 2, 2023

Minnesota may be known as the Gopher State, but fishing is actually what makes Minnesota popular.

Minnesota, known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, has several lakes, streams, and rivers in state parks and throughout the state for anglers to enjoy, such as Lake Minnetonka or Rainy Lake. 

You can find various types of fish, such as perch, largemouth bass, crappie, walleyes, smallmouth bass, and muskies throughout the Minnesota waters.

Before going fishing in the beautiful waters of Minnesota, it is essential to understand who needs a fishing license, the age required to have a fishing license, and the types of licenses available for you to choose from. 

Once you obtain your fishing license within the state, it is important to follow all of Minnesota’s fishing regulations so you can help protect natural resources and not deplete the quantity of fish within the state.

Going fishing in Minnesota? Then give a read to our Best Bass Fishing Lakes in Minnesota review.

Who Needs a Fishing License in Minnesota

Most anglers in Minnesota are required to obtain a fishing license before fishing in the state’s waters.

Since the state is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes and is also known for its ice fishing, Minnesota is a popular fishing site for both residents and non-residents.

Any resident or non-resident of Minnesota needs a fishing license to fish within the state. Residents between ages 16 to 90 must have a fishing license. 

Residents 16 and younger and senior citizens over age 90 can fish in Minnesota without a license. Any non-residents over age 16 are required to have a license. 

Residents of Minnesota can choose from various fishing licenses, such as the following:

  • 24-hour license 
  • 72-hour license
  • Married couple license
  • Annual license
  • 3-year license
  • Annual conservation license
  • Married conservation license
  • Annual sports license
  • Married sports license
  • Annual super sports license
  • Married super sports license

Non-residents of the state also have multiple fishing licenses to choose from, including:

  • 14-day married couple license
  • 24-hour license
  • 7-day license
  • 72-hour license
  • Annual license
  • Family annual  license

Who Qualifies For a Free Fishing License in Minnesota? 

Minnesota welcoming post card

All residents and non-residents between ages 16 and 90 are required to have a fishing license to fish in the state of Minnesota waters unless an exemption applies.

Anglers younger than 16 do not need a license to fish, as long as a parent or guardian is licensed. Anglers age 90 or above are not required to have a fishing license.

Annual fishing or spearing licenses (must be renewed the following year) may be issued to Minnesota residents who are:

  • Disabled and receiving SSI, SSDI, or SSD
  • Blind
  • Ward of the Commissioner of Human Services
  • Receiving worker’s compensation for permanent and total disability
  • A resident of a Minnesota state institution that has an approved application
  • A foreign exchange student attending a Minnesota school

A permanent license can be issued to Minnesota residents over age 16 who are disabled developmentally or to a veteran with a disability that is 100 percent service-connected.

These licenses without a fee can only be retrieved through the DNR License Center.

Others who are exempt from a license include:

  • United States military personnel
  • Patients of a US Veterans Administration Hospital
  • Patients of a state hospital
  • Correctional facility inmates
  • Minnesota licensed boarding or nursing care home residents
  • Adult daycare members

    Drug and alcohol treatment program residents who are under age 20

What Age Do You Need a Fishing License in Minnesota?

Most anglers in Minnesota need a fishing license, starting at age 16. Children under 16 and senior citizens over age 90 are exempt from needing a fishing license to fish within Minnesota’s waters


A resident in Minnesota is considered a person who has officially resided within the state for the past 16 days or longer. 

To purchase a fishing license, you must provide proof of residency, such as a driver’s license or a state-issued ID card. A person that is younger than 21 in Minnesota is only considered a resident if they are a child of a resident. Anglers younger than 16 can fish without a license.


All non-residents of Minnesota ages 16 and older must have a fishing license to fish. A non-resident of Minnesota is considered a person who does not officially live in the state. 

A person in Minnesota who is younger than age 21 is considered a non-resident if their parents are not Minnesota residents. 

How to Buy a Minnesota Fishing License 

Oberg Mountain, Minnesota

There are two ways you can purchase your Minnesota fishing license. 


Residents and non-residents can purchase a fishing license online through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.  

To get your Minnesota fishing license online, you must complete the required form and include your personal information, such as your full name, address, social security number, and the type of fishing license you are looking to purchase. 

Once completed, you can pay online and print out your fishing license conveniently at home.

You can also obtain a small game license, hunting licenses, trout stamps, sturgeon tags, or a dark house for ice fishing in Minnesota.


Residents and non-residents can also get their Minnesota fishing license by phone. You can speak to a trained operator of the Minnesota DNR to help you get your fishing license. 

The DNR operators and license agents are available 24/7 at 1-888-MN-LICENSE (1-888-665-4236). Your MN fishing license will be sent to you via mail and you should receive it within two weeks of calling.

Local Retailer

Minnesota residents and non-residents can visit any licensed retailer or DNR office to get their fishing license. 

Some common retailers, such as Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, or any hardware store or bait and tackle store can help you get your fishing license. They will print it out there for you, and you can bring it home the same day.

How Much Is a Fishing License in Minnesota

Fishing License TypeResident License FeeNon-Resident License Fee
24 Hour License$12.00$14.00
72 Hour License$14.00$32.00
7 Day LicenseN/A$43.00
Annual License$25.00$51.00
14 Day Married Couple LicenseN/A$54.00
Married Couple Annual License$40.00N/A
Family Annual LicenseN/A$68.00
Annual Conservation License$17.00N/A
3 Year License$71.00N/A
Married Couple Conservation License$27.00N/A
Married Couple Sports License$57.00N/A
Annual Sports License$41.00N/A
Married Super Sports License$126.00N/A
Annual Super Sports License$100.00N/A

There are various angling licenses available for residents and non-residents in Minnesota. Youth ages under 16 are not required to obtain these licenses. 

Besides these licenses, Minnesota also offers the opportunity to purchase a MN lifetime fishing license for both residents and non-residents.

Lifetime Fishing License – Residents

AgeFishing LicenseSpearfishingSports License
Under 3$344.00$432.00$522.00
4 to 15$469.00$579.00$710.00
16 to 50$574.00$678.00$927.00
51 plus$379.00$439.00$603.00

Lifetime Fishing License – Non-Residents

AgeLifetime Fishing License
Under 3$821.00
4 to 15$1,046.00
16 to 50$1,191.00
51 plus$794.00

Related Articles

Frequently Asked Questions

Do non-residents need a fishing license in Minnesota?

All non-residents of Minnesota do need a fishing license. However, non-residents that are younger than 16 do not need a license if they have a parent or guardian who is licensed. 

While there are not as many Minnesota out-of-state fishing licenses to enjoy as a Minnesota resident, there are still plenty of options available.

Do you need a fishing license in Minnesota if you are over 65?

Yes, you need a fishing license in Minnesota if you are over age 65 throughout all fishing seasons.

You will continue to need a license up until you reach 90 years old. After age 90, you are exempt from requiring a fishing license in Minnesota.

Can I fish in MN with a WI license?

Yes, you can use your WI fishing license to fish in Minnesota. 

Wisconsin has reciprocal agreements with some neighboring states, where a WI fishing license can be used as a non-resident license.

Those with a WI license can also legally fish in the border waters of Iowa and Michigan.

Final Thoughts

You can get your Minnesota fishing license by simply completing an online form, calling the Minnesota DNR, or by visiting a local retailer or DNR office. 

While there are more varieties of fishing licenses available for residents of the state than non residents, there are still plenty of Minnesota non resident fishing licenses available to enjoy. 

When fishing in Minnesota’s beautiful waters, it is essential to follow all Minnesota fishing regulations and rules. 

Purchasing a fishing license helps protect the water where we wish and protects, conserves, and preserves the wildlife population in Minnesota.

To find some of the best bass in Minnesota, check out our interactive bass fishing map today!