Fishing is more than just a hobby in Indiana – it’s a beloved tradition that connects people with nature and creates lasting memories. Whether you’re an avid angler or a casual weekend warrior, having the right fishing license is essential for enjoying this pastime legally and responsibly. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive deep into the various fishing license options available in Indiana, their durations, costs, and how to obtain them.

Why a Fishing License Matters

Obtaining a fishing license is not just a legal requirement; it’s an investment in the future of Indiana’s aquatic ecosystems and the sport itself. The revenue generated from license sales directly funds the conservation efforts of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR), enabling them to maintain healthy fish populations, restore habitats, and ensure sustainable fishing practices for generations to come.

Additionally, fishing licenses help the DNR gather valuable data on fishing patterns, species targeted, and catch rates, which informs their management decisions and ensures a balanced approach to resource allocation.

Types of Indiana Fishing Licenses

Indiana offers a variety of fishing license options to cater to the needs of different anglers, whether you’re a resident or a visitor, an occasional angler or a lifelong enthusiast. Here’s a breakdown of the available options:

Annual Fishing Licenses

Annual fishing licenses are the most popular choice for avid anglers who plan to fish frequently throughout the year. These licenses are valid from April 1 of the current year to March 31 of the following year. The cost for an annual resident fishing license is $23, while non-residents pay $60.

Short-Term Fishing Licenses

For those who only plan to fish for a limited time, Indiana offers short-term fishing licenses, including:

1. One-Day Fishing License (includes Trout/Salmon Stamp)

  • Residents: $10
  • Non-Residents: $15

This license is perfect for anglers who want to enjoy a quick fishing trip or are visiting Indiana for a short period.

2. Seven-Day Non-Resident Fishing License

  • Cost: $35

Ideal for non-residents planning a longer fishing vacation or trip to Indiana, this license provides seven consecutive days of fishing privileges.

Lifetime Fishing Licenses

Indiana also offers lifetime fishing licenses, which can be a cost-effective option for avid anglers who plan to fish for many years. The cost of a lifetime fishing license varies based on the age of the applicant:

  • Ages 10-39: $1,112
  • Ages 40-61: $1,001.75
  • Ages 62+: $679.75

With a lifetime fishing license, you’ll never have to worry about renewing your license again. It’s a one-time investment that provides lifelong fishing privileges in Indiana.

Additional Stamps and Privileges

Depending on the type of fish you plan to target, you may need to purchase additional stamps or privileges:

  • Trout/Salmon Stamp Privilege: Required for fishing for trout and salmon. Cost: $11 for residents and non-residents.
  • Lifetime Fishing Privilege Package: Includes a Second-Rod Validation, Ocean Enhancement Validation, North Coast Salmon Report Card, and Steelhead Report Card. Cost: $459.25.

Where to Buy an Indiana Fishing License

Indiana offers several convenient options for purchasing fishing licenses:


The easiest way to obtain your fishing license is through the Indiana Fish & Wildlife Online License System. This platform allows you to purchase licenses, stamps, and privileges from the comfort of your home or on the go. Once you’ve completed your purchase, you can print your license or save it as a PDF on your mobile device.


If you prefer a more traditional approach, you can purchase your fishing license in person at various authorized retailers, such as bait shops, sporting goods stores, and DNR property offices. These locations often have knowledgeable staff who can assist you in selecting the appropriate license and answering any questions you may have.

By Phone

For those who prefer a more personal touch, you can also purchase your fishing license by calling the Indiana DNR’s licensing hotline at 1-800-918-2766.

Exemptions and Special Licenses

While most anglers in Indiana require a fishing license, there are a few exceptions and special licenses available:


  • Children under 18: No license is required for children under the age of 18 to fish in Indiana.
  • Resident Landowners: Indiana residents who own land can fish on their property without a license.
  • Disabled American Veterans (DAV): Disabled American veterans can obtain a special DAV license at a reduced cost.

Special Licenses

  • Senior Annual Fishing License: Indiana residents aged 64 and older can purchase an annual senior fishing license for $3, which includes the Trout/Salmon Stamp Privilege.
  • Senior Fish-for-Life License: This one-time license, costing $23, provides lifelong fishing privileges for Indiana residents aged 64 and older.

Tips for a Successful Fishing Experience in Indiana

Now that you have a better understanding of the different fishing license options in Indiana, here are some additional tips to ensure a successful and enjoyable fishing experience:

1. Familiarize Yourself with Regulations

Before heading out to fish, make sure you familiarize yourself with the Indiana fishing regulations. These regulations cover important information such as bag limits, size limits, and restricted areas. Adhering to these regulations is crucial for maintaining healthy fish populations and avoiding potential fines.

2. Check for Special Permits or Stamps

Depending on the body of water you plan to fish and the species you’re targeting, you may need additional permits or stamps beyond your fishing license. For example, if you plan to fish for trout or salmon, you’ll need to purchase the Trout/Salmon Stamp Privilege.

3. Respect the Environment

Indiana’s waterways and natural areas are precious resources. As an angler, it’s essential to practice responsible fishing practices and respect the environment. This includes properly disposing of any litter, minimizing your impact on the surroundings, and practicing catch-and-release when appropriate.

4. Consider Hiring a Guide

If you’re new to fishing in Indiana or want to explore new waters, consider hiring a professional fishing guide. Guides have extensive knowledge of the local waterways, hotspots, and techniques, which can greatly enhance your fishing experience and increase your chances of success.


Fishing in Indiana is a rewarding and enjoyable activity, but it’s crucial to ensure that you have the proper licensing in place. By understanding the different types of fishing licenses available, their durations, and costs, you can make an informed decision that suits your fishing needs and budget. Remember to always follow the regulations, respect the environment, and have fun on the water!

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