Your Guide to Getting an Indiana Fishing License

Getting a recreational license for fishing in Indiana is essential for both residents and non-residents who would love to go for water sporting. It is also necessary for those who want to engage in commercial fishing.  It is important to know the difference between a commercial and a recreational fishing license as this will give you a great head start.  Sports and recreational licenses are issued to people who want to fish for competitive purposes or leisure. For large scale fishing, commercial licenses are needed.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to obtaining an Indiana fishing license:

Who Qualifies For an Indiana Fishing License?

A valid recreational fishing license in Indiana is necessary for anyone who wants to engage in fishing activities in any of the public rivers or lakes within the state’s boundaries.  The license should be signed in ink for it to be valid. The licensee must in possession of the license when fishing, and should produce it to the Indiana Conservation Department or any other authorized enforcement officer upon request.  Fishing without a license will attract fines and penalties.

To get a fishing license for recreation purposes, you will require a salmon and trout stamp. However, there are exemptions to this particular license requirement, including:

  • Residents who are 75 years and above
  • Legally blind residents
  • Fishing on a private property where fish cannot exit or enter into any public waters. In this case, the angler must have requested for permission from the owner of the property.
  • Residents and non-residents who have not attained the age of 18 years.
  • Residents that have developmental disabilities as defined by IC12-7-2-61
  • Residents of a mental rehabilitation facility in Indiana
  • Any resident licensed in health care facilities who is helping/supervising the fishing of their patients
  • Resident lessees or owners of Indiana farmland who are actively fishing on their land. Their children, spouses, and workers may also be exempted.
  • Non-resident landowners fishing on public waters. This exemption will, however, depend on the exceptions of their home state.
  • Full-time resident servicemen and women on military leave. In this case, the angler is supposed to be in possession of a leave order and a certified voter registration card or a valid driver’s license.

NOTE: Military personnel who are non-residents of Indiana but are stationed in Indiana State and on active duty can be allowed to buy an Indiana resident license. Veterans with disabilities from Indiana State can get hunting and DAV fishing license application forms from their local County Service Office. They should fill the form and place it in a self-addressed envelope that has been stamped, and then mail it to the DNR customer care center.


Requirements for Obtaining Indiana Fishing License

Both the residents and visitors can purchase a sports fishing license from the Division of Fish and Wildlife.  Residents are required to have a permanent home in Indiana. They should also have lived in the state for at least 60 days, before applying for a fishing license. Additionally, they should not claim residency for fishing, trapping, or hunting in any other country or state.  To obtain a game fishing license in Indiana, you simply have to pay the license fees. Every licensed buyer over 18 years of age is required to have a separate email account for every license purchased. Parents and guardians can purchase licenses for their children using their email accounts.


Types of Indiana Fishing Licenses

Indiana offers both saltwater and freshwater fishing permits. Some of the fishing licenses in Indiana include:

  • Seven-day fishing licenses
  • Salmon and trout permits
  • Annual fishing licenses
  • Daily fishing licenses (including salmon and trout stamp)


Types of Fish to Catch with an Indiana Fishing License

A sports fishing license allows anglers to catch a variety of fish. However, it’s best to ask before you start fishing as some species may be considered endangered in some areas and not in others.

Depending on the location, you can fish for the following:

Bluegill

Black crappie

Grass carp

Chinook salmon

Coho salmon

Hybrid sunfish

Muskellunge

Hybrid striped bass

Rainbow trout

Northern pike

Channel fish

Steelhead

Walleye

Saugeye

Yellow perch

Brown trout

Largemouth bass

Redear sunfish


Fish Species That Need Special Tags Or Permits

There are two main types of fishing stamps for anglers who want to fish specific species in Indiana waters.  If you want to fish for salmons or trouts, you will have to apply for a special stamp from the Division of Fish and Wildlife. This applies to both residents and non-residents.  Legal action may be taken against people who go out of this regulation.


How Much Does a Fishing License in Indiana Cost?

The costs of purchasing an Indiana fishing license depends on the type of permit you want.  For non-residents who would like to buy a yearly fishing license, it would cost them $35. For a daily fishing license – inclusive of the salmon and trout stamp – you will have to part with $9, whether you’re a resident or not.  Non-resident anglers who want the 7-day fishing license will have to pay $20. To add the salmon and trout stamp to your 7-day package, you will have to add an extra $11.  The annual fishing fee is usually $17. Depending on the season, residents who want to purchase recreational fishing licenses may receive discounts.


How to Get Discounts on an Indiana Fishing License 

With a resident license application, you can get discounts for your recreational fishing license in Indiana. The state also offers discounts to senior citizens who purchase sport and recreational fishing licenses.  The yearly senior fishing license is $3. However, to save for the long-term, seniors can pay $17 for the unlimited “Senior Fish for Life” license.  You can also get discounts on the freshwater fishing license if you buy it together with a hunting pass. However, this may depend on the park you fish from.  


How Long is an Indiana Fishing License Valid?

Licenses for sport and recreational fishing can be bought on a yearly, weekly, or daily basis. The period for which a person will want to fish in Indiana waters will determine the type of license they will buy.


Where Can You Purchase a Fishing License in Indiana?

You can buy a recreational fishing license in Indiana in three ways – physically, by mail, or online.  For the residents who want to buy a game fishing license online, they will have to visit the Indiana Fish and Wildlife online services portal and follow the prompts.  Buying a freshwater fishing permit in person is quite straightforward.  Simply visit your county clerk offices, available retailers, or any other department of the Indiana Natural Resource Customer Care Center and ask for the license.  You’ll be directed on how to get your license.

To buy a license via mail, you will have to send your details to the DNR customer care center for processing. You need to send:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Full address, state, city, zip, phone number
  • Weight, height, the color of your eyes and hair
  • Specify the type of license you need and dates for 1-day or multi-days licenses
  • Social security number

The above information should be accompanied by an order, credit card information, or check to complete the transaction. The processing may take up to two weeks and it will be delivered to your address. If you do not get any response within 2-3 weeks of application, then it will be necessary to visit or call the DNR customer service center.

Indiana Fishing License Exceptions

There are various instances where a fishing license or trout/salmon stamp is not required. These include: 

  • Anyone under the age of 18
  • Indiana residents born before April 1, 1943. If this is the case, you should carry identification to verify your age and residency.
  • State-owned mental rehabilitation facility residents
  • Legally blind residents -- proof is not required while fishing
  • Residents with a developmental disability, as defined by IC 12-7-2-61. Proof is not required while fishing
  • Any Indiana licensed health care facility resident taking part in supervised fishing from the facility
  • Indiana residents who are in full-time military service and are on approved military leave. You must carry leave orders and a valid Indiana driver's license or voter registration card.
  • Private pond fishing, when the pond does not allow fish entry from or exit to public waters. You must have permission from the property owner.
  • Some non-resident landowners, while fishing in public waters on the farmland they own. This is according to the exemptions by the state
  • Resident owners or lessees of Indiana farmland who farm that land, their spouses and children living with them. Applies when fishing on the farmland they own or lease.


How to Replace an Indiana Fishing License

If you lost your game and fishing license, you will have to call or access the Indiana Department of Natural Resources online portal to get a replacement. A $3 fee will be applied. A fishing license can be revoked if the holder has been convicted of flouting fish and wildlife regulations. It is, therefore, necessary that you abide by the safety standards put in place by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources at all times. Any tool or equipment used in violation of the Indiana Fish and Wildlife laws can be seized for evidence during the trial, and thereafter, be confiscated after conviction.

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