North Carolina Fishing License

Fishing in North Carolina is varied and this state has many fishing regulations, different licenses depending on where angler go fishing. So we want to write this article to help someone have a nice fishing trip in North Carolina without worrying about the law. 

Who is required a North Fishing License?

All anglers who are over 16 years old need to have a fishing license when they fish in North Carolina waters.

There are two types of licenses in North Carolina : Inland for all North Carolina’s freshwater and Coastal for saltwater. 

North Carolina Fishing License cost

Temporary Fishing License


Cost for resident

Cost for non - resident

3 – Day Trout



10 – Day Inland




Annual Inland



10 – day Coastal



Annual Coastal



Annual Unified



Lifetime License


Cost for resident

Cost for non- resident

Inland ( adult)



Inland (senior)



Coastal (under 1 )



Coastal ( 1 -11)



Coastal (12+)



Coastal (senior)



If you plan on fishing as often as possible, or you hope your children may like fishing, it may be worth getting a lifetime license. 

Exceptions to North Carolina Fishing License

Children under 16 years old don’t need a fishing license.

Everyone can go fishing without a license on the 4th of July, apply to both fresh and saltwater fishing in North Carolina.

Free and reduced – fee licenses

North Carolina resident can receive free unified lifetime fishing licenses in case

+ they rely on fishing for food.

+ They are legally blind.

+ They live in care homes.

The state also offers unified lifetime fishing license which is only $11 (discounted price) plus $2 (processing fee) to the people

+ Residents are permanently and totally disabled.

+ Resident veterans have 50% or more disabilities.

North Carolina residents have a vacation from the military, they can fish for up to 30 days without a license, and they need to bring military ID and papers confirming their status.

Where can an angler get the Fishing license?

+ Online : anglers can buy the license online at the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission website at

+ By phone: calling the number “888 – 248 – 6834” to get the license. Working hours from 8AM to 5PM, Monday to Friday. 

+ In person: Visit a tackle shop, a service agent to buy the fishing license immediately. 

You need to have a picture of the ID when you want to buy the license.

A resident is a person who has lived in North Carolina continually for the past 6 months. By showing a social security number, driver’s license or ID which contains an address, you can prove that you are a resident and get the license with a cheaper price. 

NC fishing license is useful when fishing from a boat in the following places:

Georgia: The Chatuge Reservoir and all its tributaries.

Tennessee: On Slick Rock Creek and Calderwood Reservoir.

Virginia: On Kerr and Gaston Reservoirs, on the Dan River and the  Staunton River.

To help preserve fishing for future anglers, anyone who is over 16 must buy a license to fish. Without the license, you will be charged with a misdemeanor will receive a fine ranging from $35 to #500. You may also face up to 30 days in prison.

Do the right thing! Fish in North Carolina are the inspiration for us to create beautiful, quality fishing shirts. Visit these products and we look forward to accompanying you on your fishing trips.