When Do You Need a Fishing License in North Carolina? Discover the Age Requirement!

What Age Do You Need a Fishing License in North Carolina?


Fishing is a popular recreational activity enjoyed by people of all ages. Whether you’re an experienced angler or just starting out, it’s important to know the rules and regulations regarding fishing licenses. In this blog post, we will focus on the age requirements for obtaining a fishing license in North Carolina.

Age Requirements for a Fishing License in North Carolina

To legally fish in the beautiful waterways of North Carolina, individuals must obtain a fishing license. The age at which you need to acquire a fishing license depends on your residency status and specific circumstances.

In-State Residents

For residents of North Carolina who are 16 years old or above, purchasing a fishing license is mandatory. This includes both freshwater and saltwater fishing activities within the state boundaries.

In-State Residents Under 16 Years Old

Children under the age of 16 who are residents of North Carolina can enjoy casting their lines without needing to purchase their own individual fishing licenses. However, they must be accompanied by an adult with a valid fishing license during their angling adventures.


It’s important to keep up-to-date with any changes made by local authorities regarding these regulations as they may vary based on current policies and legislation in place.

Out-of-State Visitors – All Ages

Non-residents aged 16 years old or older visiting North Carolina are required to have their own valid non-resident recreational inland or coastal recreational waterfowl stamp when engaging in any form of sportfishing.< However, out-of-state visitors under the age of 16 can also fish without obtaining an individual permit if accompanied by an adult possessing either an out-of-state or resident freshwater/saltwater permit/license. Please note that these regulations are subject to change, so it's always wise to double-check the most recent updates before planning your fishing trip in North Carolina.

Where Can You Obtain a Fishing License?

Obtaining a fishing license in North Carolina is relatively easy. There are multiple ways you can acquire one:


One of the simplest methods is applying for a fishing license online through the official website of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC). Their user-friendly online portal allows you to conveniently purchase and print your license from the comfort of your own home.


For those who prefer personal assistance or face-to-face interactions, you can visit authorized wildlife service agents across various locations in North Carolina. These include bait and tackle stores, outdoor retailers, and local sporting goods shops.


Before visiting an agent personally, it’s recommended to contact them beforehand to ensure they provide fishing licenses. This will save you time and effort by avoiding unnecessary trips.

The Importance of Fishing Licenses

Fishing licenses not only comply with legal requirements but also contribute towards conservation efforts aimed at protecting fish populations and their habitats. Licensing fees help fund vital programs for maintaining sustainable fisheries in North Carolina waters while providing enjoyable angling experiences for everyone involved.


In summary, if you reside in North Carolina and are 16 years old or above, obtaining a fishing license is mandatory when engaging in any form of recreational freshwater or saltwater angling activities within state boundaries. However, individuals under 16 years old can fish without an individual permit as long as they are accompanied by an adult possessing a valid fishing license.
For out-of-state visitors aged 16 or older visiting North Carolina for recreational fishing purposes require non-resident permits/licenses unless accompanied by an adult with either out-of-state or resident permits/licenses. Remember to stay up-to-date with the latest fishing license regulations in North Carolina to ensure a fun and legally compliant angling experience. Happy fishing!