Fishing in Iowa is a beloved pastime, offering a variety of opportunities to catch species like bass, catfish, and trout. Before you cast your line, it’s essential to have a valid fishing license. This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about obtaining a fishing license in Iowa for 2024.

Why You Need a Fishing License

A fishing license is required for anyone aged 16 and older to fish in public waters in Iowa. The funds from fishing license fees support local conservation efforts, ensuring healthy fish populations and public access to fishing opportunities.

Types of Fishing Licenses

Resident Fishing Licenses

  1. Annual Fishing License: $22
  • Validity: 1 year from the date of purchase
  • Ideal for: Avid anglers who fish frequently throughout the year
  1. 3-Year Angler’s Special Fishing License: $62
  • Validity: 3 years from the date of purchase
  • Perfect for: Those seeking long-term convenience
  1. Outdoor Combo (Hunting/Fishing/Habitat) License: $55
  • Validity: 1 year from the date of purchase
  • Recommended for: Outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy both fishing and hunting
  1. 1-Day Fishing License: $10.50
  • Validity: 1 day from the date of purchase
  • Great for: Spontaneous fishing trips
  1. 7-Day Fishing License: $15.50
  • Validity: 7 consecutive days from the date of purchase
  • Perfect for: Vacationers or visitors
  1. Bonus Line Permit: $14 (in addition to a fishing license)
  • Allows: The use of a third fishing line
  1. Resident Trout Fee: $14.50 (in addition to a fishing license)
  • Grants access to: Designated trout streams and lakes

Non-Resident Fishing Licenses

  1. Annual Fishing License: $48
  2. 7-Day Fishing License: $37.50
  3. 3-Day Fishing License: $20.50
  4. 1-Day Fishing License: $12
  5. Non-Resident Trout Fee: $17.50

How to Purchase a Fishing License


You can purchase your fishing license online through the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website at Go Outdoors Iowa. This method is convenient and allows you to print your license immediately.


Licenses are available at over 700 local retailers and bait shops across Iowa. You can find a nearby retailer using the DNR’s website or the Go Outdoors Iowa mobile app.

Mobile App

Download the Go Outdoors Iowa mobile app for iPhone and Android devices. This app allows you to buy and access your license information on the go.

Free Fishing Days

Iowa offers Free Fishing Days from June 7-9, 2024, where residents can fish without a license. This is a great opportunity to try fishing before committing to a license.

Special Licenses and Exemptions

Lifetime Licenses

  1. Lifetime Fishing License (65 and older): $61.50
  2. Lifetime Trout Fee (65 and older): $65


You do not need a fishing license if you are:

  • Under 16 years old
  • A student at a state school for the blind or deaf
  • A resident of a state institution or county care facility
  • An active military member on leave from an out-of-state duty station (must carry leave papers)

Conservation Efforts

Fishing license fees contribute to conservation initiatives, habitat restoration, and public access to fishing opportunities. By purchasing a license, you are supporting the sustainability of Iowa’s natural resources.

Key Regulations

  • Catch Limits: Be aware of daily catch limits and size restrictions for different species.
  • Fishing Methods: Certain methods, like using more than two lines, require additional permits.
  • Protected Species: Some species are protected, and it is illegal to catch or possess them.


Obtaining a fishing license in Iowa is straightforward and supports vital conservation efforts. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, there are various license options to suit your needs. Make sure to purchase your license before heading out to enjoy Iowa’s rich fishing opportunities.

For more detailed information and to purchase your license, visit the Iowa Department of Natural Resources website.

Can I fish without a license in Iowa?

Only certain groups, such as residents under 16 years old or active-duty military personnel on leave, can fish without a license in Iowa. Most anglers 16 years and older must have a valid fishing license.

Do I need a trout stamp in Iowa? 

Yes, if you plan on fishing for trout in Iowa’s designated trout streams or lakes, you must purchase a trout fee in addition to your fishing license.

Can I use my Iowa fishing license in other states? 

No, your Iowa fishing license is only valid for fishing within Iowa’s borders. If you plan to fish in another state, you’ll need to obtain a fishing license from that state.

What happens if I lose my fishing license? 

If you purchased your license online or through the mobile app, you can easily reprint it or access it on your phone. If you bought your license in person, contact the vendor or the Iowa DNR for a replacement.

How long is my Iowa fishing license valid?

Most Iowa fishing licenses are valid for one year, from January 1 to December 31. However, there are also short-term licenses available for 1, 3, or 7 days, as well as multi-year and lifetime licenses.

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