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Minnesota fishing license: What you need to know

Fishing licenses are required for most adults in Minnesota, so before you hit the water this season, here's what you'll need to know.

MINNESOTA, USA — With the Minnesota fishing opener less than two weeks away, anglers across the state are gearing up for another season on the water.

Whether you're an experienced sportsman or a fishing first-timer, you'll need a license to fish in Minnesota.

The opener for walleye, sauger and northern pike is Saturday, May 13, and muskellunge season begins June 3. Here's what you need to know before packing up the bait and tackle.

Who needs a fishing license?

All Minnesota residents aged 16 to 89 must have a current Minnesota fishing license unless an exemption applies. Non-residents also need a license, however, kids 15 and younger do not need a license if a parent or guardian is licensed.

Anglers need to carry their license to and from the location where they are fishing.

Who doesn't need a fishing license?

  • Residents younger than 16
  • Residents 90 and older
  • Minnesotans enlisted in the U.S. Armed Forces, stationed outside the state, and home on leave (Must carry leave or furlough papers while fishing or transporting fish)
  • Minnesotans who have served in federal active service outside the U.S. during the preceding 24 months and are now discharged from overseas duty (Must carry discharge papers while fishing or transporting fish)
  • An in-patient of a U.S. Veterans Administration hospital (Form needed)
  • A resident of a Minnesota licensed nursing or boarding care home

Where can you get a fishing license?

Fishing licenses are issued through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. A license can be purchased online through the DNR, over the phone by calling 1-888-665-4236 or at approved vendors throughout the state. Click here for a list of vendor locations.

How long does a license last?

Fishing licenses are effective from March 1 to the last day of February of the following year, therefore a fishing license for the current 2023-24 license year is effective until Feb. 29, 2024.

What kind of fishing license do I need?

Popular licenses include individual angling (for one person), combination angling (allows a married couple to fish individually or together) and individual sports (allows one person to hunt small game and fish). Additional tags and stamps might be required to fish certain species, like lake sturgeon and trout.

Click here for a full list of license types.

This year, the 75th Minnesota Governors Fishing Opener will be held in Mankato on May 12 and 13. 

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