North Carolina Fishing Licenses, Laws, and Regulations – Licencia de pesca


North Carolina Fishing Licenses, Laws, and Regulations

North Carolina\’s saltwater coast and inland creeks offer plenty of fishing opportunities for both experienced and novice fishing enthusiasts. In January, striped bass are abundant in the waters of Cape Hatteras and migrate to this waterway in winter. In early summer, the Randleman Regional Reservoir is filled with largemouth bass and sunfish. In the fall, the coast of Masonboro Bay in Wrightsville Beach is crowded with shoals of huge blue fish.

A North Carolina fishing license is required to enjoy fresh and salt water. These are separate licenses that can be obtained either as a resident or as a non-resident of the area. Since NC fishing is practically year-round, an annual or lifetime fishing license is more practical. You can purchase a fishing license online through the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission website. It\’s also available at a reputable outdoor sports store or tackle shop.

North Carolina Fishing Licenses

North Carolina fishing rules and regulations were put in place to manage all fish populations and their natural habitat. These can change at any time due to the relevant conditions. Most freshwater routes are stocked with different types of fish to support growth and population growth. Learning these laws and rules will benefit both the angler and the fish.

The proceeds from the issue of the fishing license will go to NC\’s conservation program. The funds will be used for research and studies on habitats, fish stocking, hatcheries and education for the conservation and protection of natural and fish resources.

Licenses, Laws, and Regulations of North Carolina

The NASCAR Hall of Fame isn\’t the only great place to visit in North Carolina. You can also enjoy the various fishing opportunities that the state offers. NC has many freshwater and inshore fisheries that are home to many rare species of fish, making the state a special place for many anglers in the United States.

To experience the state\’s rich waters, North Carolina anglers must obtain a fishing license. There are many different licenses to choose from and it can get a little complicated at times. But don\’t worry, this quick guide will make everything easy for you. We answer the most important questions about fishing license requirements in the state.

Here\’s what you need to know:

Who Must Get a Fishing License in the State of North Carolina?

The state of Carolina requires a license from all anglers wishing to fish or fish in any of the state waters. Specifically, the following people must have a fishing license prior to fishing in North Carolina:

  • Residents 16 years or older who use any type of bait or equipment to catch finfish while fishing in North Carolina public waters
  • Non-residents 16 years of age or older using any type of bait or equipment to catch finfish while fishing in North Carolina public waters

Note that individual residents who receive grocery stamps, Medicaid, or Work First Family Assistance can obtain a written waiver (annual livelihood waiver) from this fishing license request through the County Department of Social Services.

Conversely, some exceptions to the fishing license requirement are also observed. You do NOT need to obtain or have a fishing license before you can fish in the state of North Carolina if you are one of the following:

  • Young people under 16
  • A landowner or a person who leases land primarily for cultivation, their spouse and relatives living with them under the age of 18
  • A resident of that state who is a member of the U.S. Forces serving outside of NC or who is serving full-time outside of the state in a reserve component of the U.S. Forces
  • Any person who fishes during Free Fishing Day
  • Residents with a valid waiver for standardized livelihoods in inland / coastal fishing

What Type of Fishing License is Required in the State of North Carolina?

At least one of the three basic types of fishing licenses is required to fish in the state of Carolina. These types of licenses determine which part of North Carolina the holder can fish in and what type of fish they can catch.

State inland fishing license

National inland fisheries are required for fishing in inland waters during a license period. These include fishing in public mountain trout waters, fishing in trout waters in wilderness areas, and fishing in common waters. It does not include fishing in coastal waters.

Coastal recreational fishing

This license entitles you to fish in coastal and community waters for one license period. It does not allow fishing in inland waters.

Uniform inland / coastal recreational fishing

Nationwide inland and inshore fishing licenses are valid for residents during a license period. The license includes the privileges of fishing in public mountain trout waters, fishing in trout waters in wilderness areas and fishing in common waters.

Special device (inland fishing)

This license entitles you to take away non-wild fish from inland waters (except inland waters and coastal waters) at certain times of the year with calves, throw nets, gill nets, diving nets, bow nets, reels, gigs, harpoons, baskets, fish pots, eel pots, traps and electric fishermen with a hand crank, if this is required is permitted under local law.

Where can I buy a fishing license in the state of North Carolina?

Buying a fishing license in the state of North Carolina is as easy as buying from Amazon. There are several handy methods you can choose from, such as:

On-line. Most North Carolina state licenses can be obtained therefrom Online licensing system with your computer or mobile device.

Via phone. You can also call the NCWRC and phone to order your fishing license. You get through to them 888-248-6834. You can then pay with Visa or Mastercard.

Some wildlife service agent. Fishing licenses can also be purchased from your local wildlife service. All you have to do is show your valid driver\’s license or ID card.

In person from the Office of the Resources Commission. You can contact the Resources Commission office to purchase a license. Their address is NCSU Centennial Campus, 1751 Varsity Drive, Raleigh, NC or by mail at NCWRC, 1707 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1700.

How Much Does a North Carolina Fishing License Cost?

The cost of any North Carolina license depends on several factors. The type of license, your age, the period of validity, and other factors all affect the price of the license you want to purchase. Here is a summary:

License typeResidentsNot resident
Short term licenses
Short-term licenses are valid for the period specified on the license.
Inland fishing 10 days$ 9$ 23
Coastal recreational fishing 10 days$ 6$ 11
Annual licenses
Unless otherwise stated, annual licenses are valid for 12 months from the date of purchase.
State inland fisheries$ 25$ 45
Coastal recreational fishing$ 16$ 32
Uniform inland / coastal recreational fishing$ 41N / A
Unified Inland / Coastal Recreational Fishing License waiver of livelihoodFOR FREEN / A
Special device (inland fishing)$ 80$ 530

At the beginning you can choose between buying a short-term license or an annual license. A short-term inland fishing license can be valid for 10 days from the date of purchase and is priced at $ 9.00 (locals) and $ 23.00 (non-residents). Meanwhile, an inshore recreational fishing license costs $ 6.00 (residents) and $ 11.00 (non-residents).

Annual licenses are valid for 12 months from the date of purchase, unless otherwise stated. resident must pay $ 25.00 for an annual state inland fishing license while non-residents can get it for $ 45.00. If you want to fish in the inshore waters, you can also purchase an inshore recreational fishing license for $ 16 if you are a North Carolina resident or $ 32.00 if you are not a resident.

Lifetime and other special licenses

Lifetime licenses are valid for the entire lifetime of the license holder. Residents born on or before August 1, 1953 are eligible to obtain a Senior Lifetime License when they turn 65. Individuals born after August 1, 1953 are eligible to purchase a lifetime senior license when they turn 70 the age.

License typeResidentsNot resident
Comprehensive inland fishing$ 265N / A
Senior (see above for admission requirements)$ 16N / A
Uniform inland / coastal recreational fishing$ 477N / A
Coastal recreational fishing
Adults (from 12 years)$ 265$ 530
Youth (1-11 years)$ 159$ 159
Toddler (under 1 year)$ 106$ 106
Senior (see above for admission requirements)$ 16N / A
Veterans for disabled inland fishing$ 11N / A
Veterans of disabled inshore recreational fishing$ 11N / A
Completely disabled inland fishing$ 11N / A
Completely disabled recreational fishing on the coast$ 11N / A
Legally blind, uniform inland / coastal recreational fishingFOR FREEN / A
Nursing home Uniform inland / coastal recreational fishingFOR FREEN / A

Residence requirements

North Carolina residents enjoy some exclusive privileges, such as discounted rates and access to other special types of licenses, depending on eligibility. To qualify as a North Carolina resident, you must:

  • have lived in the state for six months or have been resident (permanent residence) for 60 days.
  • Complete a certificate of residence available from a wildlife service or the Wildlife Resources Commission that certifies that you have been resident in a county with intent to reside in a county for at least 60 days
  • Don\’t claim residency in any other state, whether owning property, paying property tax, paying utility bills, etc. in NC
  • Non-resident students can obtain residence permits while attending a university, college, or community college in North Carolina.
  • Non-residents of the U.S. Forces (including their spouses and children under the age of 18) who are stationed in the state are deemed residents of the state and counties in which they reside
  • U.S. Forces service members on active duty outside North Carolina are considered natural residents of the state

Daily fishing and size restrictions

To protect biodiversity in North Carolina\’s fishing waters, you must keep the following limits when fishing:


Size limit

Daily creel limit

All inland waters except those listed belowNoneNone
Cedarock Park Pond and other locations (see list in Fishing Regulations Guidebook)None6 in combination for channel, white and blue catfish (fork-tailed catfish)
Ponds on wildland
Pee Dee River downstream of Blewett Falls Dam to the South Carolina state line and all tributariesNone

5 in combination

Badin Lake, Lake Gaston (part of North Carolina), John H. Kerr Reservoir (part of North Carolina), Mountain Island Reservoir, Lake Norman, Roanoke Rapids Reservoir, Lake Tillery, Lake WylieNo minimum size limit and only one blue catfish can be taller than 32 inches

No daily creel limit for blue catfish under 32 inches, and only one blue catfish can be taller than 32 inches

American eel
All inland fishing waters

9 inch minimum (regardless of origin)

25 (regardless of origin)

Blue crabs
All inland fishing waters or in designated catchment areas for waterfowl found on wild land if caught with a hook and line

Minimum armor width of 5 inches (point to point)

50 crabs per person or 100 per ship

All inland waters except those listed belowNoneNone
Inland fishing waters of coastal rivers and their tributaries up to the first damming of the main course on the river. No minimum size limit, but no river herring larger than 6 inches may be taken or owned (regardless of origin)

No daily limit on river herring less than 6 \»and no river herring larger than 6\» may be taken or owned (regardless of origin)

Lumber River including Drowning Creek
all other inland fishing waters east of I-95
Little Tennessee River Basin in and upstream of Lake Santeetlah and Cedar Cliff Lake including all tributaries and impoundments

No live Alewife or blueback herrings may be owned, transported, or released.

Grass carp
All inland waters except those listed below


See James

It is not allowed to own grass carp, unless one fish per day can be caught and owned with bow equipment.

Untiefensee viewpoint
Mountain Island Reservoir
Wylie Lake
Lake Gaston

No grass carp may be possessed or caught by any method, including bow gear, unless authorized by the Wildlife Resources Commission for scientific investigation

Roanoke Rapids Reservoir
Norman Sea
John H. Kerr Reservoir
All seized inland waters except those listed belowNone200 in combination, unless there is no daily ball possession limit for the Asian clam
Waccamaw LakeNo freshwater mussels, including the Asian mussel, may be taken along or owned.
University Lake (Orange Co.)
Gray trout
All inland fishing waters

Complies with recreational limits set by the Department of Marine Fisheries in adjacent community and inshore fishing waters. Current limit values ​​can be found under or call 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632.

All inland fishing waters

Sturgeons are not to be owned.

frequently asked Questions

Q: When does my annual license expire?

Annual licenses expire 12 months from the date of purchase, unless otherwise stated in the license.

Q: What should I do if I lose / damage my license?

To replace a worn, lost, or destroyed license, call 888-248-6834, go to, or visit a wildlife service. There is a $ 5 fee for the replacement license. A $ 2 transaction fee may be added to your total order at the time of purchase.

Q: Are there any additional fees when purchasing a license?

Some of the agents may add an additional $ 2.00 transaction fee on top of the license fee.