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Michigan Fishing Licenses

Michigan fishing license credentials are referred to as “all-species” licenses, and they can be obtained by both residents and nonresidents alike. Fishing licenses are available for any individual participating in the sport of fishing, whether it is recreationally or commercially. Within these two main groups of fishing permits, you can obtain licensing that is valid for a 24-hour period, a 72-hour period, a full year or for the duration of your life. Senior residents can get a fishing license at a discounted rate, as can individuals who are legally blind. Certain types of fishing tags are also available, such as the Muskellunge harvest tag and the sturgeon fishing permit and harvest tag. Both are free of charge. However, to get either of these items, you must apply in person. Applicants 17 years of age and older may buy a fishing license through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Individuals who do not meet the minimum age requirement are allowed to fish without licensing. Michigan anglers – whether they are required to be licensed or not– are responsible for adhering to all the fishing rules and regulations of the state. If not, they are subject to penalties and the revocation of their MI recreational fishing privileges. Both residents and tourists have the option to purchase a fishing license online on the DNR website or in person. For more information on how to get a fishing license in Michigan, click this link. Through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, individuals can apply for two main licenses in the state:

  • A standard new Michigan fishing license
  • A Michigan commercial fishing permit


New Michigan Fishing Licenses

Buying a fishing license in the state of Michigan can be done through a few different avenues. To obtain a license to fish online, applicants must visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ website. In-person applicants may obtain a license by appearing at a DNR office location or through an authorized license agent.

To begin the process of getting your Michigan resident fishing license or non resident license to fish online, you will need to first venture to the state’s Department of Natural Resources website. Once you have arrived at the E-Licensing page, you will then be prompted to provide certain information about yourself, to verify your identify. Part of your online transaction entails submitting payment for the proper MI fishing permit fees with a credit card, such as a MasterCard, Visa or Discover Card. No other form of payment is accepted. After you have completed your online licensing request, allow up to 10 business days to receive your new license to fish at your home address.

There are two convenient options available when figuring out how to get a fishing license in person: Visit a DNR agent or go to a customer service center. Before speaking to a state-approved agent, be sure to gather the required documentation beforehand, such as the following:

  • Your state driving license or state ID card (for proof of residency, if applicable)
  • A recent utility bill (in the event you need to provide additional proof of residency)
  • Payment for required fees

Costs are subject to vary. Therefore, contact the MI Department of Natural Resources ahead of time to verify that you have the correct amount. Senior residents of the state of Michigan and the legally blind are not charged for permits to fish in the state. Other qualified applicants who can get a fishing license in Michigan at no cost include military veterans with a disability and former army members who previously served in the Armed Forces and now reside in Michigan.

Commercial Michigan Fishing Licenses

Before you apply for a commercial fishing license in Michigan, you are encouraged to get in touch with the state’s Department of Natural Resources. Currently, only a limited number of anglers catch fish for sale in the state. For further clarification about how to buy commercial fishing permits, call the MI Fisheries Division at: 517-284-5830. You may also send an email to the following address:

If you are interested in the different types of species that can be caught in Michigan waters for commercial gain, the following were some of the most common types of commercial harvest obtained in 2014:

  • Buffalo
  • Crappie
  • White perch
  • Gold fish

The aforementioned species are typically found in the following bodies of water: Lake Huron, Lake Superior, Lake Erie and Lake Michigan.

Fishing Frequently Asked Questions

Oftentimes you can buy a fishing license through your state’s fishing department website. You will most likely need to create an account on the webpage and have a printer nearby to finalize your transaction. Make sure to also have a valid credit card on hand, as no other form of payment is accepted by state departments online. Take note that, as proof of your residency, you may be required to enter your driver’s license number.
In a general sense, a good number of states offer the following types of fishing licenses: a regular fishing license and a commercial fishing license. Depending on where you reside, you may also have the option to get a saltwater license to fish, if you are by coastal waters. In addition to these permits, you may be required to buy a fishing stamp, depending on the specific type of fish species you intend to catch.
A regular fishing permit is often valid for the period of a full year. However, you may also have the option to obtain a license to fish that is good for 24 hours or 72 hours, for example. In some instances, a weekly fishing license or a lifetime license may also be available. Lifetime licenses to fish are the most suitable option for those anglers who intend to fish for the duration of their lives. Keep in mind that if you would like to continue fishing after the expiration date of your current licensure, you will be required to get a new permit to fish.
The fees related to a state fishing license may vary, depending on a few factors. But senior residents and military veterans can usually get a fishing license that is free of charge, as long as they can present official documentation that supports their residency or military service. Resident licenses to fish are often more affordable than nonresident licenses. The most costly licenses are for those who would like to get lifetime credentials.
In the event that you have lost your fishing license or it was stolen, the most common way to obtain a duplicate is through your state’s fishing department. You may be required to make an in-person visit to a nearby office or to contact a licensed agent directly. Depending on where you reside, you may also have the option to order a fishing permit replacement online. But, to be sure, it is important that you double check with your state department first, as you may also need to bring in certain documentation, such as your driver’s license or ID card.
This site is privately owned and is neither affiliated with, nor endorsed by, nor operated by a government agency.