The Ultimate Guide to Getting Your Nebraska Fishing License

Last Updated on June 2, 2023

Whether you’re a novice or an experienced fisherman, getting your valid Nebraska fishing license is essential. With your fishing license, you can explore all that Nebraska offers and find some of the best fishing spots in the state. 

From Cunningham Lake State Park in Omaha, with its great bass and bluegill fishing, to Two Rivers State Recreation Area in Waterloo, where anglers can catch smallmouth bass and crappie, tons of options await. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed about getting your license, don’t worry. We’ve done the research on everything you need to know about getting your Nebraska fishing license. 

Who Needs a Fishing License in Nebraska

Nebraska Fishing License Requirements
16+ Years 16+ Years 

If you are 16 years of age and older, you must obtain a sport fishing license before casting a line.

Depending on your needs, you can purchase an annual, multi-year, 1-day, or 3-day sport fishing license. Every license purchased helps the Nebraska game and parks commission fund conservation efforts in the state.

What Age Do You Need a Nebraska Fishing License?

Both residents and non-residents over the age of 16 need a fishing license. 

However, there are special permits, as well as complimentary permits, available to certain residents of the state of Nebraska. 


Residents of Nebraska are required to have a resident permit unless they qualify for one of the permits listed below or are fishing on private property, which has its own fishing regulations that must be followed.

To be considered a resident of Nebraska, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Nebraska residents must have lived in the state for at least 30 days before applying for a fishing permit.
  • Residents studying or serving in the military outside of Nebraska who intend to remain a legal resident of Nebraska may also qualify.
  • Active duty military personnel and full-time students stationed or attending school in Nebraska for at least 30 days are eligible for permits.
  • Documentation of residency, such as driver’s license or voter registration, may be required when an officer is present.

Resident Special Permits:

At discounted or free rates, several special permits are available for eligible Nebraska anglers.

• Resident veterans who are 50% disabled due to military service, receive a pension from the VA for total and permanent disability unrelated to military service or have obtained fee-exempt permits before Jan. 1, 2006, are eligible for Fee-Exempt Permits.

• Veterans aged 64 and above and seniors aged 69 and older may purchase a Veteran permit or a Senior Permit.

• The Special Fishing Permit is available for physically or developmentally disabled residents who cannot cast or retrieve unassisted, with one person assisting them subject to one daily bag limit between the two anglers.

• Instructors can obtain the Educational Fishing Project Permit at any university, college, or high school from the Fisheries Division for their students 16 years of age and older participating in an educational fishing project.

• Applications for special permits are available from Game and Parks district offices, as well as the Omaha office and Schramm Education Center (formerly Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium).


Non-residents over the age of 16 need to get an out-of-state Nebraska fishing license.

There are several license options visitors of the state can choose from, from 1 day passes to annual options depending on the length of their trip.

Residential Private Property

Fishing on a private water body is exempt from a valid fishing permit provided it:

• Is located entirely on private land.

• Is completely stocked by its owner(s).

• Is not connected to any external waters.

• Is operated not for profit.

Paddlefish Permit

A Paddlefish Permit is required to take paddlefish in Nebraska’s state waters legally. This permit supplements the valid fishing permit, so it must be purchased after having a valid fishing permit.

Fishing and hunting

In Nebraska, residents and non-residents can get fishing and hunting combination licenses valid for different lengths of time.

How to Buy a Nebraska Fishing License

Nebraska offers a few ways to purchase licenses online or in person. 


Anglers can get their fishing license online through the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s website, which offers 24/7 availability.

To purchase your license online, you will need to be able to prove your identity by creating an account with either a valid driver’s license number or social security number.

Local Retailers

There is also the option to purchase permits in person from a local NGPC office or license vendor like a Walmart or tackle shop.

How Much is a Fishing License in Nebraska

A Nebraska Fishing Permit cost varies depending on the type of license you choose. Factors such as age, residency, and validity length also affect a fishing permit’s price.

Here is an overview of the different costs for fishing permits in Nebraska:

NE Fishing License
Resident LicensePrice
Fish, annual$38
Fish/Hunt, annual$52
Fish, 1-day$10
Fish, 3-day$31
Deployed military, annual$5
Veteran Fish/Hunt, annual$5
Senior Fish/Hunt, annual$5
Special disabled, annual$5
Fish, 3-year$90.50
Fish, 5-year$132
Resident Combination Fishing and Hunting LicensePrice
Fish/Hunt, 3-year$191
Fish/Hunt, 5-year$285
Fishing Lifetime License (age 0-15)$616
Fishing Lifetime License (age 16-45)$710
Fishing Lifetime License (age 46-over)$616
Lifetime Fishing/Hunting License (age 0-15)$859
Lifetime Fishing/Hunting License (age 16-45)$1,008
Lifetime Fishing/Hunting License (age 46-over)$859
Nebraska Fishing License Non–ResidentPrice
Fish, annual$76
Fish/Hunt, annual$159
Fish, 1-day$13
Fish, 3-day$37
Fish, 3-year$192.50
Fish, 5-year$286
Non-Resident Combo Fishing and Hunting License LicensePrice
Fish/Hunt, 3-year$480
Fish/Hunt, 5-year$710
Fish, lifetime (age 0-16)$929
Fish, lifetime (age 17-over)$1,306
Fish/Hunt, lifetime (age 0-16)$1,600
Fish/Hunt, lifetime (age 17-over)$2,391

Nebraska Fishing Seasons and Bagging Limits

bass fish

Fishing in Nebraska has numerous regulations, special seasons, and daily limits that anglers need to observe in order to help protect and maintain the state’s resources. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Daily Limit: Most water bodies have a daily limit of six fish per person, with a possession limit of twelve.
  • Seasons: Different species have open and closed seasons – make sure to check before fishing for a species.
  • Restrictions: Additional restrictions for certain water bodies or species may exist, such as minimum size limits or catch-and-release only streams. Check local regulation for details.
Nebraska Fishing Regulations
Catch and Release Only
Fish SpeciesLocation
Striped bass, white bass and wiperBranched Oak Lake
Northern pikeLake Wanahoo
Channel and blue catfishFort Kearny, Two Rivers, Wildwood Lake, Windmill 
Flathead catfishBranched Oak Lake
All speciesWest Brady,
East Hershey, Kea West,
Jenny Newman Pond
Nebraska Bagging Limits
Fish SpeciesRegulationBagging LimitPossession Limit
Rainbow, tiger and cutthroat troutOn all waters except the Sutherland Canal, anglers are limited to keeping no more than one fish longer than 16 inches.512
Brown troutAnglers are not allowed to keep more than one fish longer than 16 inches in any body of water510
Brook troutAnglers are limited to keeping no more than one fish longer than 12 inches in all waters.24
Striped bass, white bass, wiperAnglers are limited to keeping no more than one fish longer than 16 inches on inland waters.1530
Walleye, sauger, saugeyeAnglers are limited to keeping only one fish 22 inches or longer in their daily bag on inland waters.48
Muskellunge, tiger muskie12
Baitfish, barred salamander, leopard frogIn combination100100
Shovelnose sturgeonThere is no harvest allowed on the Missouri River upstream from the mouth of the Big Sioux River.1020
Pallid sturgeon, lake sturgeon, bowfin, American eelNo harvest allowed
Northern pike310
Blue catfish12
Channel catfishStanding water such as reservoirs, lakes, ponds and pits is subject to specific harvest regulations.520
Channel catfishFlowing water like rivers, streams and canals, as well as listed reservoirs, are open to harvest with certain restrictions in place.
Flathead catfishFishermen and women are limited to no more than one fish longer than 30 inches in their daily bag limit on all waters.510
Mussel and clamFishing and the harvesting of rivers and streams are prohibited statewide.1020
Game fish and nongame fish species not listedNo Limit
Snapping turtle510
Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bassIn combination, fishermen and women are limited to only one fish 21 inches or longer in their daily bag limit.510
PaddlefishSpecial permit required22

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need a fishing license to fish a private lake in Nebraska?

You do not need a fishing license to fish in a private lake in Nebraska.

However, the exemption only applies if the water body meets the criteria of being located entirely on private land, completely stocked by its owner(s), not connected to any external waters, and operated not for profit. 

What are the benefits of a fishing license in Nebraska?

The benefits of a fishing license in Nebraska are more than just avoiding legal complications. But also a great way to help protect and conserve the state’s natural resources. 

Your license not only helps support fisheries management projects and habitat protection, but it pays for stocking efforts that ensure many species, like largemouth bass can thrive.

Can I use my out-of-state fishing license in Nebraska?

You can use your out of state fishing license in Nebraska only if it is issued from South Dakota, as that is the only state with a reciprocal agreement with the state.

Final Thoughts

When you purchase a fishing or hunting permit in Nebraska, you’re doing more than just investing in your outdoor activities. 

Your fees go directly to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in order to support conservation efforts such as wildlife management, fish stocking, habitat restoration, and protecting at-risk species. 

Thanks to everyone who invests in outdoor recreation and conservation, Nebraska has a lot to offer when it comes to fishing and hunting.

So, once you’ve gotten your Nebraska fishing license, be sure to download our free bass lures fishing cheat sheet, so you always know what lure to throw and when.