How Much Does A Iowa Fishing Licence Cost?

There are many good fishing spots in Iowa, especially on the eastern border, where you can access backwater fishing activities. You can catch bass, catfish, pike, and many more.

Many large cities in the state have parks and even residential areas that have public ponds. As such, a state is a perfect place for people who want to have an adventure with fishing.  

However, you need a fishing license, which costs money. Today, I will show you all the things you need to know about Iowa’s fishing license rules and standards.

Who needs a fishing license in Iowa?

Anyone who is 16 years and older must get a fishing license. This rule applies to both residents and non-residents. In addition, you need a license to fish in private and public ponds, lakes, and streams.

Those who fish in Iowa waters must provide their social security numbers. This law also applies to hunting, not just fishing.

You must give your social identification number because it is your principal identification document. The officers will be able to determine if you are even qualified to get a license to fish.

In addition to this information, you can register as an organ donor as you apply for a license. The process has similarities to applying for a driver’s license.

What are the exemptions for Iowa Fishing License Requirements?

Anyone 16 years and older must carry a fishing license with them while fishing. Despite the general rule of thumb, there are some exemptions, which I will provide below.

You do not need an Iowa fishing license if:

  • You are below 16 years old; this applies to both residents and non-residents
  • You are differently abled and a minor in a state school or a minor inmate
  • You are a minor and a patient of substance abuse and are supervised while fishing
  • You are on active duty in the US military, on leave and an Iowa resident
  • You are a landowner, and you are fishing on your land

The exemption for minors in state institutions does not apply to inmates in penal institutions. The supervisor in charge of substance abuse patients may fish with the group without a license.

As a landowner, your children below 18 may also fish without a license on your property. Tenants can also fish in private areas.

What is the cost of an Iowa fishing license?

Below are the costs of fishing licenses in Iowa for different fishing activities.

Angler’s Special for Three years of Fishing$62.00 
Bonus Line for a 3rd Fish Line$14.00$14.00
Lifetime Fishing License for 65 Years and Up$61.50 
Lifetime Trout Fee for 65 Years and Older$65.00 
Outdoor Combo Including Hunting and  Fishing$55.00 
Trout Fish Fee$14.50$17.50
1-Day Fishing License$10.50$12.00
7-Day Fishing License$15.50$37.50
Boundary Water Trotline$26.00$49.50
3-Day Fishing$20.50

What is the validity of the Iowa fishing license?

Licenses have different validity periods in Iowa. Residents of the state can buy licenses that are valid for a year up to three years. However, non-residents can only get between one to three days of fishing licenses.

Non-residents cannot get licenses that apply for a long time or a validity. It can cause problems in preserving natural resources and become a gateway to abuse.

If you are a non-resident, make sure you understand the laws about fishing. For example, you cannot litter in public waters, and you cannot transport the fish you caught.

When you fish Iowa, you must not import or export the fish. You cannot sell your catch. But then, this all depends on the type of animal you caught, which is a long list. If you break the law and get caught, you may not be issued a license again in the future.

What are the requirements for an Iowa fishing license?

To facilitate your application smoothly, below are some of the requirements of the government when applying for a license.

For residents, you must prove that Iowa has been your main place of residence for at least 90 consecutive days. You can prove this with an Iowa drier’s license.

There are factors that the government will check to prove your residency. Here are some examples:

  • Place of employment
  • Mailing address
  • Utility records
  • Real estate or property records
  • Registration of vehicles
  • Income tax records

The state will not consider you a resident if you only lived in Iowa for special reasons, such as vacationing or staying in Iowa for hunting purposes.

You also qualify as a resident if you are a full-time student of an accredited educational institution in the state. You must be below 25 years old as a student and have at least one guardian or parent who can prove residency in Iowa.

A non-resident is one who does not meet these conditions. On some occasions, some people have already applied for a license in Iowa before. In this case, you should plan ahead to get a license as you are not the only one trying to get one.

If you were a non-resident and now live in Iowa, you must provide documents proving that you are already residing in the state.

Where can you apply for a fishing license for Iowa?

To get a fishing license in Iowa, you can go to the Iowa licensing system, which is online. If you do not want to go this route, the other option is to buy the license from an authorized retailer.

There are over 700 local retailers for a fishing license in Iowa. These places include bait shops. The money you pay for the fishing license is used in conservation efforts.


Fishing in Iowa is one of those things that can give you an experience of a lifetime. Take the time to visit the state’s official website to learn more, or call your Iowa fishing guide to understand what you need to do.

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