How to Get a Fishing License in North Carolina?

How to Get a Fishing License in North Carolina?

Getting your North Carolina fishing license is the ticket to catching some outstanding fishing. From the Outer Banks to the Blue Ridge Mountains, there are endless opportunities for unforgettable fishing. Although, in order to enjoy this experience, you first must have your fishing license. North Carolina’s varied fisheries have a mix of fishing regulations to match, with different licenses depending on where you fish. This article will explain the essential info on NC fishing licenses so you can start catching fish pronto!

Off the Hook Yachts Sportfish Boats
Source: Off the Hook Yachts


Everyone over 16 needs a fishing license when casting a line in NC waters aside from private ponds on privately-owned land. If you’re helping someone else fish, you also need a license, even if you don’t have your own rod. This includes something as basic as baiting hooks and setting the drag. Who doesn’t need a license? Children under 16 don’t need a fishing license. In addition to that exception, you never need a license aboard a saltwater charter boat.


There are two main types of fishing licenses in North Carolina: Inland and Coastal. Inland includes all of North Carolina’s freshwater, while Coastal covers saltwater. These are available for as little as 10 days to an entire lifetime. Areas where fresh and saltwater meet are called “joint waters.” These are usually covered by either license, but you should always check for the waters you’re fishing in. Luckily, North Carolina made informative maps to help clear any confusion, which you can check out here.


Licenses vary in price based on how long they last and whether you’re an NC resident or not. If you’re a fishing fanatic and plan on fishing as often as possible, it may be worth getting a lifetime license. Prices differ for residents and non-residents, but there are big benefits to starting young – especially in saltwater. Infants can be born into a life of fishing for just $106 and Seniors can receive big discounts too. Click here to see more information about the various fishing license costs.

Off the Hook Yachts Fishing Boats
Source: Off the Hook Yachts


As far as types of licenses, you know what you need. Now, how do you get it? There are three easy ways to buy an NC fishing license:

1) Online: You can complete your application online here using Visa or MasterCard.

2) By phone: Call 888-248-6834 to get your license over the phone. Hours of operation are 8 A.M. to 5 P.M. Monday through Friday.

3) In person: Visit a registered vendor to buy your license instantly! Many tackle shops and hardware stores sell them, as do chains like Walmart.

If you buy your license in person, you’ll receive it instantly. Otherwise, it will be mailed to you.

Once your license arrives make sure you have it on hand with you while fishing! If you do not have a fishing boat yet, make sure you check out our used center consoles or sportfish inventory!

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