Why You Need a Nebraska Fishing License

Fishing is a beloved pastime in Nebraska, with its abundance of rivers, lakes, and reservoirs teeming with a variety of fish species. However, to protect and conserve these aquatic resources for future generations, the state requires anglers to possess a valid fishing license. Your license fees directly contribute to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s efforts in maintaining healthy fish populations, restoring habitats, and enforcing regulations.

By obtaining a fishing license, you not only comply with state laws but also play a vital role in preserving Nebraska’s natural treasures for years to come. This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about obtaining the right permit, ensuring a legal and enjoyable angling experience in Nebraska’s diverse waterways.

Who Needs a Nebraska Fishing License?

In Nebraska, anyone 16 years of age or older must have a valid fishing permit to fish in public waters, regardless of residency status. This requirement applies to all methods of fishing, including rod and reel, bow fishing, and hand fishing.

There are a few exceptions to this rule:

  • Anglers under 16 years old do not need a license if accompanied by a licensed adult. However, their catch counts towards the adult’s daily bag limit.
  • Fishing on private waters that are entirely enclosed by the owner’s property does not require a license, provided the owner’s permission is obtained.
  • Even if you’re not actively fishing but assisting someone who is, you must still possess a valid fishing license.

Types of Nebraska Fishing Licenses

Nebraska offers several types of fishing licenses to cater to the needs of both resident and non-resident anglers.

Annual Fishing License

The annual fishing license is the most common permit, granting fishing privileges for a full calendar year. Prices for the annual license are as follows:

License TypeResidentNon-Resident

These licenses are valid from January 1st through December 31st of the year they are purchased.

Temporary Fishing License

For anglers planning shorter fishing trips or visiting from out of state, Nebraska offers temporary fishing licenses:

  • 1-Day Permit
    • Resident: $10
    • Non-Resident: $16
  • 3-Day Permit
    • Resident: $20
    • Non-Resident: $40

These short-term licenses are perfect for weekend getaways or sampling Nebraska’s fishing opportunities without committing to an annual permit.

Combination Hunting & Fishing License

Anglers who also enjoy hunting can purchase a combination license that includes both fishing and small game hunting privileges. Combination license fees are:

  • Resident: $55
  • Non-Resident: $178

This option provides a cost-effective solution for sportsmen and women looking to engage in multiple outdoor activities.

Lifetime Fishing License

Nebraska offers lifetime fishing licenses that provide a one-time purchase option for dedicated anglers. Prices vary based on the buyer’s age:

  • Resident
    • Ages 0-15: $616
    • Ages 16-45: $710
    • Ages 46+: $616
  • Non-Resident
    • Ages 0-16: $929
    • Ages 17+: $1,306

While lifetime licenses require a higher upfront cost, they offer long-term savings for avid anglers who plan to fish in Nebraska for many years to come.

Special Permits

In addition to the standard fishing licenses, Nebraska requires special permits for certain activities:

  • Paddlefish Permit: Required for snagging or archery fishing for paddlefish during the open season. The permit costs $33 for residents and $57 for non-residents, and must be purchased in addition to a regular fishing license.
  • Trout Stamp: Anglers fishing for trout in Two Rivers State Park must purchase a trout stamp, available at the park office.

Be sure to check the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission website or consult the current fishing regulations guide for any updates on special permits and requirements.

Where to Purchase a Nebraska Fishing License

Obtaining your 2024 Nebraska fishing license is a simple process with multiple purchase options available:

  • Online: Visit the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission website, create an account, and buy your permit online. You can print a temporary authorization immediately.
  • In Person: Stop by a Nebraska Game and Parks Commission office or approved license vendor, complete the application, and pay the fee. You’ll receive your permit on the spot. Use the commission’s interactive map to find a location near you.
  • By Phone: Call the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission at (402) 471-0641 during business hours to purchase your fishing license with a credit card. Have your personal information ready, including your driver’s license number and Social Security number.

Regardless of the method you choose, be prepared with your personal information, proof of residency if applicable, and payment. Once you have your permit, remember to carry it with you whenever fishing, either as a physical copy or a digital version on your mobile device.


Obtaining your 2024 Nebraska fishing license is a crucial step in ensuring a legal and enjoyable angling experience in the Cornhusker State. By understanding the different license types, costs, and purchase options available, you’ll be well-prepared to explore Nebraska’s diverse fishing opportunities.

Remember, your fishing license fees directly support conservation efforts and help maintain the quality of Nebraska’s fisheries for generations to come. So, whether you’re a resident or a visitor, invest in your fishing license and get ready to create unforgettable memories on the water.

What happens if I lose my fishing license?

If your fishing license is lost or destroyed, you can obtain a duplicate by visiting a Nebraska Game and Parks Commission office or license vendor. A small fee may apply.

Do I need a fishing license to fish on private property?

In most cases, you do not need a fishing license to fish on private waters that are entirely enclosed by the owner’s property, as long as you have the owner’s permission. However, if the private water is connected to public waters, a fishing license is required.

Can I fish with just a trout stamp?

No, a trout stamp is an additional permit required for fishing trout at Two Rivers State Park. You must also have a valid Nebraska fishing license.

How can I stay informed about fishing regulations and updates?

The best way to stay current on Nebraska fishing regulations is to review the annual fishing guide published by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. The guide is available online and at license vendors, and contains information on seasons, limits, and any changes to the rules.

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