Are you an active duty service member, veteran, or disabled veteran looking to enjoy Michigan’s world-class fishing opportunities? Good news – the state offers special discounts on fishing licenses to honor your service and sacrifice. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about eligibility, license types, costs, and the application process to secure your discounted Michigan fishing license in 2024.


Michigan’s vast network of lakes, rivers, and streams provides an angler’s paradise, teeming with a diverse array of fish species. However, before you can cast your line, you’ll need to obtain the appropriate fishing license. For military personnel and veterans, Michigan extends its gratitude by offering discounted licenses, making it easier and more affordable to indulge in your passion for fishing.

This article will serve as your ultimate resource, covering:

  • Eligibility criteria for military discounts on Michigan fishing licenses
  • Types of licenses available and their associated costs
  • Step-by-step guides for applying online and in-person
  • Additional resources, including fishing regulations and conservation efforts

Whether you’re an active duty service member stationed in Michigan, a veteran, or a disabled veteran, this guide will equip you with the knowledge and tools to take advantage of these exclusive discounts. Let’s dive in!

Who Qualifies for Military Discounts on Michigan Fishing Licenses?

Michigan recognizes the sacrifices made by those who have served or are currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. As a result, the state offers discounted fishing licenses to the following groups:

Active Duty Military Personnel

If you are currently serving on active duty in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard, you are eligible for resident pricing on Michigan fishing licenses, regardless of your state of residence. To qualify, you must provide proof of your active-duty status at the time of purchase and while fishing.


Michigan extends its gratitude to veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces in several ways:

  • Disabled Veterans with 100% Service-Connected Disability Rating: These individuals are eligible to receive all hunting and fishing licenses free of charge, except for those obtained through a lottery system.
  • Disabled Veterans with Other Disability Ratings: Veterans with disability ratings below 100% may be eligible for discounted fishing licenses, with the discount amount varying based on their specific disability rating percentage.

To take advantage of these benefits, disabled veterans must provide documentation of their disability rating from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or military records.

Required Documentation

Regardless of your military status, you’ll need to provide valid documentation to prove your eligibility for the discounted fishing license. Acceptable forms of documentation may include:

  • Military ID card (for active duty personnel)
  • Leave papers or orders (for active duty personnel)
  • Veteran ID card or discharge papers (for veterans)
  • Disability rating decision letter from the VA (for disabled veterans)
  • Other official paperwork verifying military status or disability rating

Having these documents readily available will ensure a smooth and efficient application process.

Types of Michigan Fishing Licenses and Costs in 2024

Michigan offers a variety of fishing license options to cater to different needs and residency statuses. Here’s an overview of the most common license types and their costs for 2024, including the discounted rates for eligible military personnel:

Resident Licenses

  • Annual All-Species Resident License: $28 (discounted for eligible military personnel)
  • Annual All-Species Senior Resident License (for residents aged 65 or older, or legally blind): $12
  • 24-Hour Resident License: $11

Non-Resident Licenses

  • Annual All-Species Non-Resident License: $80 (discounted to resident pricing for eligible military personnel stationed in Michigan)
  • 24-Hour Non-Resident License: $11

Short-Term Licenses

In addition to annual licenses, Michigan also offers short-term options for both residents and non-residents:

  • 7-Day Resident License: $18
  • 7-Day Non-Resident License: $35
  • 72-Hour Resident License: $14
  • 72-Hour Non-Resident License: $20

Please note that license fees are subject to change annually, so it’s recommended to check the official Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website or with a local license agent for the most up-to-date pricing information.

How to Apply for a Military Discounted Fishing License

Michigan offers multiple convenient options for active duty military personnel, veterans, and disabled veterans to apply for discounted fishing licenses.

Applying Online

The easiest way to obtain a military discounted fishing license is through the Michigan DNR’s online licensing system. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Visit the Michigan DNR eLicense website.
  2. Select the “Buy a License” option and choose the appropriate license type (e.g., Annual Resident Fishing License).
  3. During the checkout process, you’ll be prompted to provide proof of your military status or disability rating.
  4. Upload the required documentation (e.g., military ID, disability rating letter) or have it ready to present if requested.
  5. Complete the payment process using the discounted rate based on your eligibility.
  6. Upon successful purchase, you’ll receive a PDF copy of your license, which can be printed or stored on your mobile device.

Applying In-Person

If you prefer a more traditional approach, you can also purchase your military discounted fishing license in person at various authorized locations throughout Michigan:

  • DNR Customer Service Centers: Visit any of the DNR’s customer service centers across the state and present your military/veteran documentation to obtain the discounted license.
  • License Agents: Many bait shops, sporting goods stores, and other retailers serve as authorized license agents for the Michigan DNR. Simply visit one of these locations, provide your documentation, and purchase the discounted license.

Additional Resources

While obtaining the right fishing license is crucial, there are several other important considerations to ensure a legal and enjoyable fishing experience in Michigan.

Michigan Fishing Regulations

Before hitting the water, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with Michigan’s fishing regulations. The Michigan DNR publishes an annual Fishing Guide that covers:

  • Seasons and limits for different fish species
  • Fishing methods and gear restrictions
  • Designated trout streams and other special regulations
  • Conservation efforts and best practices

You can access the latest Michigan Fishing Guide on the DNR website or request a physical copy from a local DNR office or license agent.

Conservation Efforts

A portion of the revenue generated from fishing license sales in Michigan is dedicated to supporting conservation efforts and educational programs. These initiatives aim to preserve and enhance the state’s aquatic ecosystems, ensuring a sustainable fishing experience for generations to come.

Some of the conservation efforts supported by fishing license revenue include:

  • Habitat restoration and protection
  • Fish stocking programs
  • Research and monitoring of fish populations
  • Aquatic invasive species prevention and control
  • Public education and outreach programs

By purchasing a fishing license, you’re not only gaining legal access to Michigan’s waters but also contributing to the long-term preservation of the state’s natural resources.

Can I use my military discounted license in other states?

No, the military discount is only valid for fishing licenses issued by the state of Michigan. If you plan to fish in other states, you’ll need to purchase the appropriate licenses according to their regulations and pricing.

Do I need to renew my military discounted license every year?

Yes, fishing licenses in Michigan are valid for one year from the date of purchase (or until the end of the current license year, whichever comes first). You’ll need to renew your license annually to continue taking advantage of the military discount.

Can I get a refund if I purchase the wrong license type?

The Michigan DNR generally does not offer refunds for fishing licenses. However, if you made a mistake during the purchase process, you may be able to exchange your license for the correct type by contacting the DNR’s customer service.

Are there any free fishing days in Michigan?

Yes, Michigan offers two annual Free Fishing Weekends, typically in June and February, when residents and non-residents can fish without a license. However, all other fishing regulations still apply during these periods.

Where can I find more information about military discounts and fishing licenses in Michigan?

The Michigan DNR website ( is the best resource for up-to-date information on fishing licenses, regulations, and military discounts. You can also contact the DNR’s customer service or visit a local DNR office for assistance.


Michigan’s commitment to honoring the service and sacrifice of military personnel and veterans extends to its fishing license offerings. By taking advantage of these discounted licenses, you can enjoy the state’s world-class fishing opportunities while saving money and contributing to conservation efforts.

Remember, obtaining the appropriate fishing license is not only a legal requirement but also a responsible step towards preserving Michigan’s natural resources for future generations. With this comprehensive guide, you now have the knowledge and tools to navigate the process seamlessly and make the most of your fishing adventures in the Great Lakes State.

So, gather your gear, secure your discounted license, and get ready to experience the thrill of casting your line in Michigan’s pristine waters.

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