Anglers who want to fish in North Dakota's lakes, rivers and streams must obtain a license to fish from the state Game and Fish Department (NDGF). Depending on the residency status of the applicant, the state offers two general types of fishing licenses: resident fishing licenses and non resident fishing licenses. Furthermore, a variety of fishing education opportunities are available to amateur fishermen of all ages. Read the below sections to learn more about where to buy an ND fishing license and the various fishing permit types:
To fish in North Dakota's public waters, interested applicants older than 16 years of age are required to get an ND fishing permit. However, before buying a fishing license, anglers must obtain a fishing certificate once per year from the NDGF.
North Dakota licenses to fish are generally divided into two categories, according to the angler's residency status:
Any angler who meets North Dakota's residency requirements is eligible for an ND fishing license. A state resident is an individual who has lived legally in North Dakota for at least 180 consecutive days preceding his or her fishing license application. Furthermore, for fishing license purposes, military members and non-resident or tribal students in North Dakota are eligible for resident licenses to fish. The following resident fishing permits are available for purchase in ND:
Note: Residents are allowed to fish without a fishing license during North Dakota's pre-appointed Free Fishing Days.
Visiting anglers are not eligible for resident fishing licenses and must apply for an out of state fishing permit through the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. The available licensing options for nonresidents are categorized by several factors, including the length of validity for each fishing license:
To buy North Dakota fishing licenses, several purchasing options are available to interested applicants:
Note: Licensees must have their fishing credentials on them at all times and must present them, on request, to the authorities.
Anglers have the option to further their angling education through the Game and Fish Department's fishing programs. Available to both kids and adults, fishermen can take advantage of state-sponsored fishing education opportunities through:
A statewide program, the Hooked on Fishing project was created to provide hands-on fishing courses to North Dakota's youth. Students have the opportunity to learn about the aquatic ecosystem, various fishing techniques and how to use proper equipment. Led by volunteers, the program's activities include:
Located at the NDGF headquarters in Bismarck, the Family Fishing Pond is the site for a variety of state-sponsored fishing events. With wheelchair accessibility and no bait restrictions, the pond is commonly used for the following educational activities:
Note: Fishing equipment is provided by the NDGF.
Seasoned and amateur anglers can join one of several fishing clubs and organizations based in North Dakota. These organizations offer everything from meet and greets to courses on different fishing techniques:
A non-profit fly-fishing organization, the Dakota Flyfishers Club strives to act as the voice of North Dakota's fly-fishing community. The club has been instrumental in the realization of the state’s Special Fish Management Areas. Designated by the NDGF as protected trout waters, these areas offer yearlong fly-fishing experiences to North Dakota anglers.
Badlands Bass Bandits was founded by avid bass anglers to allow fishermen in ND to share fishing experiences and participate in group fishing tournaments. Nowadays, both amateur and professional fishermen can join the club and learn the basics of bass fishing while meeting fellow anglers. Potential applicants will reap the following benefits: