This site is privately owned and is neither affiliated with, nor endorsed by, nor operated by a government agency.
North Dakota Fishing Licenses

North Dakota fishing licenses are required of those looking to fish in the state’s inland waters. As a landlocked sate, resident and visiting anglers only have access to freshwater types of fishing in North Dakota. The institution responsible for issuing ND fishing licenses is the Game and Fish Department. Recreational fishermen can buy a fishing license online, over the phone or by mail. Commercial fishing applicants, on the other hand, must contact the GFD directly to apply for this specialized type of licensure. Applicants must be 16 years of age or older to get a fishing license in North Dakota. Anglers who do not meet the minimum age requirement are free to fish without the need for licensure. Licenses to fish are valid for a period of one year beginning April 1 and ending on March 31. The GFD issues fishing licenses free of charge to resident military members that are on duty out of state. Similarly, non-resident students at universities or colleges located in the state may qualify for a resident fishing license. In any instance, licensees must have their fishing permits on their person when fishing. Resident fishing permits are available in many forms such as the following: individual licenses, couple licenses (husband and wife), senior citizen licenses, disabled veteran licenses (must have a disability of 50 percent or more), and disabled resident licenses. Visitors can apply for a non resident fishing license for individuals or couples (husband-wife license), or a three-day or ten-day fishing permit. For more information on how to get a fishing license in North Dakota, click this link. See below for additional guidance on the main types of fishing licenses available in North Dakota:

  • New fishing licenses
  • Commercial fishing licenses


New North Dakota Fishing Licenses

A North Dakota recreational fishing license is the appropriate credential to obtain for those interested in fishing as a pastime. The state offers the following ways to purchase a fishing document: online, by phone and by mail.

Anglers can buy a new license to fish in North Dakota via the ND Game and Fish Online Services. Here, you can buy and print a fishing license in a few simple steps. Before you proceed with the application, make sure to prepare your Visa, Discover or MasterCard credit card to pay the license fees. When you begin the online application, you will be asked to select the license year and type, and your residency status. Once you have completed the application, make sure to print it immediately as this will be your valid fishing permit. With this purchasing method, you will not receive a fishing credential in the mail. If you would rather buy your license over the phone, call: 1-800-406-6409. Customer service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Prepare your credit card in order to pay your license fees and the additional service charge for the transaction. Once complete, you will receive a verification number from the agent, which will serve to verify your licensure until you receive it by mail.

Another option to purchase a new fishing license is to submit a paper application by mail. You can find resident and non-resident applications on the official ND GFD website. Send the completed applications to:

North Dakota Game and Fish Department
Licensing Division
100 N. Bismarck Expressway
Bismarck, ND 58501-5095

North Dakota Commercial Fishing Licenses

Commercial fishing permits are required if you have decided to make a profit by selling fish that you catch. You can buy commercial fishing licenses in North Dakota (contract and noncontract) from the Game and Fish Department, by filling out the appropriate applications. The noncontract commercial fishing license is issued on a yearly basis, and fishermen are required to keep it on their person at all times when fishing. The commercial fishing season starts on May 15 and lasts until November 30. In North Dakota, there are certain areas open to noncontract commercial fishing, and you can find information about these locations on the bottom of the application.

Fishermen with this license can use hoop nets and seines in some locations and set lines in other areas. Fish species allowed for commercial fishing are channel catfish and nongame fish species. The seines must be a maximum of 100 feet long at the most. The hoop nets must be a maximum of four feet in diameter, and the set lines must have a maximum of 10 hooks per site line, with only five set lines possessed at a time.

A contract commercial fishing license is a special type of permit for which a contract must be signed with the ND GFD. The contract requires a credit from a legitimate financial institution or a bond from a bonding company. If you would like to get more information on how to get a commercial fishing permit in ND, call the Game and Fish Department at 701-328-6300, or send an email to:

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.