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Fishing Licenses

The state of North Carolina requires that those ages 16 or older hold a Coastal Recreational Fishing License (CRFL) to saltwater fish. The license can be purchased on a lifetime, annual or 10-day basis or it can be combined with a variety of licenses issues by the Wildlife Resources Commission.
Purchasing a fishing license is quick and easy. Just choose one of the options below:

  • Purchase a license in person at one of the offices of the Division of Marine Fisheries. Fishing licenses are also available at many bait and tackle shops and sporting goods stores.
  • Purchase a license online at the N.C. Wildlife website. Once you’re on the site, just click on the yellow “Purchase Licenses” button.
  • Call to purchase a license at (888) 248-6834 during the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.


North Carolina Fishing License Types and Fees

Annual License
State Residents*, age 16 or older – $15
Nonresidents, age 16 or older – $30

10-day License
State Residents*, age 16 or older – $5
Nonresidents, age 16 or older – $10
Blocks of Ten 10-day CRFLs (available Jan. 1, 2009) – $150

Lifetime CRFL Licenses
Infant Lifetime: younger than one year – $100
Youth Lifetime: age 1 through age 11 – $150
Resident Adult*: age 12 through age 64 – $250
Nonresident Adult: age 12 and older – $500
Resident Age 65 Lifetime: age 65 and older – $15
Resident Senior Age 70 Lifetime – $15
Resident Disabled Veteran: 50 percent or more disabled – $10
Resident Totally Disabled: totally and permanently disabled – $10

For more information on fishing licenses and fees, please visit the NC Division of Marine Fisheries Website.


North Carolina Fishing License Requirements

The Coastal Recreational Fishing License (CRFL) allows recreational fishermen to take finfish for personal consumption only; it cannot be sold. Fishermen who are using the license should follow the state’s recreational size and possession limits. The CRFL cannot be transferred or assigned and it is required for any type of recreational finfish taken not included under the Recreational Commercial Gear License. Those who hold a CRFL are required to comply with all DMF sampling and survey programs.

The license is required to recreationally take finfish in the state’s Coastal Fishing Waters, which include sounds, coastal rivers and their tributaries, out to three miles in the ocean. Recreational anglers who catch fish in the Exclusive Economic Zone (3 miles – 200 miles offshore) will be required to have this license to land fish in state waters. Fishing in Joint Waters (areas managed by both the Marine Fisheries and the Wildlife Resources commissions) will require either the CRFL or a WRC inland fishing license.