Fishing License for Iowa: Everything You Need to Know

fishing license for iowa

Iowa’s most popular outdoor activity is fishing. A fishing license is essential for any angler, whether you are an experienced or newbie. This article will help you navigate the Iowa fishing licensing process, including the rules and regulations that you need to be aware of, as well as some tips for making the most of your experience.

Why do you need a Iowa fishing license?

Iowa law requires you to obtain a fishing licence. It is required to regulate state fisheries and ensure sustainability of fish populations. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) states that anyone 16 years old or older must have a fishing licence to fish in Iowa’s public waterways.

Fishing licenses generate revenue that is used to fund conservation efforts such as habitat restoration, fish stocking programs and research projects. You are helping to preserve Iowa’s natural resources by purchasing a fishing licence.

Who needs a fishing license in Iowa?

A fishing license is required for anyone over 16 who wishes to fish in Iowa’s public waterways. This applies to both residents and non-residents. There are some exceptions to this rule.

  • Anglers who fish only in private ponds or lakes without a public access point don’t need a fishing licence.
  • Anglers with a permanent disability and who are visually impaired do not require a fishing licence.
  • Iowa DNR offers free fishing days to anglers. They don’t need a fishing licence.

Types of Iowa Fishing Licenses

Iowa offers many types of fishing licenses, depending on your age, residency status and fishing goals. These are the main types Iowa fishing licenses.

Resident Fishing Licences

Iowa residents can choose from several types of fishing licences.

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  • A fishing license is $22 per year and is valid for one-year from the date of purchase.
  • A 3-year fishing license costs $62; it is valid for 3 years from the date of purchase.
  • A lifetime fishing licence costs $52 for ages 0-4, $262 for ages 5-15 and $460 for 16 and older. This license is valid for the lifetime of the holder and does not require the purchase of an annual license.

Non-Resident Fishing Licences

You can choose from several types of fishing licences if you’re not an Iowa resident.

  • A fishing license is $48 per year and is valid for one-year from the date of purchase.
  • A seven-day fishing permit costs $32 and is valid seven consecutive days after purchase.
  • A three-day fishing licence costs $17 and is valid three consecutive days starting from the date of purchase.

Where to buy an Iowa fishing license

You can purchase a Iowa fishing license online, over the phone, or in person from authorized vendors. These are your options:


Online ordering of an Iowa fishing license is possible through the official Iowa DNR website. Follow the steps to select the license type you want, enter your payment information and print your license. The online system is accessible 24/7 and is the fastest and most convenient way to obtain your license.

By phone

You can also purchase an Iowa fishing licence by phone by calling 1-800-367-1188, the Iowa DNR’s customer support hotline. Follow the prompts and select the license type you want, enter your payment information and get your license by mail. This option is available Monday to Friday, from 8:00 AM until 4:30 PM.

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In Person

A variety of authorized vendors can sell you an Iowa fishing license, including bait and tackle shops, sporting equipment stores, and some Iowa DNR office offices. To find the closest Iowa DNR office, check the Iowa DNR website’s list of vendors. To pay for your license, you will need a valid photo ID, cash, check, or credit cards.

Iowa Fishing Regulations and Rules

Before you go fishing in Iowa make sure you know the rules and regulations applicable to your area and species. These are some guidelines:

Fishing Seasons

Iowa’s fishing season usually starts on April 1st and ends on October 31st. Depending on the species of fish and water temperature, some streams and rivers might have different seasons.

Fishing Limits

Each species has a daily creel limit that limits the number of fish you can keep in a given day. The limit can vary depending on where you fish and the season. You should know the limit for the species that you are targeting, and you should follow the catch-and-release rules for other fish.

Size restrictions

Certain species of fish have a minimum size limit. This means that you can’t keep fish smaller than this. You must measure your fish accurately and release any fish that is too small back into the water.

Fishing Methods

Iowa allows a variety of fishing methods, including rod and reel, handline and bow fishing. Some areas may have restrictions on certain fishing methods such as live bait and snagging fish. You should ensure that you have read and understood the fishing regulations in your area.

Tips for a successful fishing trip in Iowa

These tips will help you get the most out of your Iowa fishing experience.

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Find the best fishing spots

Iowa is home to many great fishing spots, including large lakes and small streams. You should do your research to find the best areas for the species you are looking to catch, the water conditions and the accessibility. You can find a map of Iowa DNR public fishing areas on the Iowa DNR website.

Choose the right gear

Your fishing style, target species and the water conditions will determine which type of gear you choose. You should choose the right rod, reel, line, bait, and bait for you needs. Ask a local expert for help or a staff member at a tackle shop if you are unsure about the gear to use.

Be prepared for the weather

Iowa’s weather is unpredictable so dress accordingly. If you are going to be outdoors, make sure you have sunscreen, insect repellent, sunglasses, rain gear, and a hat. You should have life jackets on board if you plan to fish from a boat.

Respect the Environment and Wildlife

Fishing is a rewarding and enjoyable activity. However, it requires responsibility and respect for wildlife and the environment. Follow the fishing regulations and practice catch and release to conserve fish populations. You must leave the fishing spot cleaner than you found it.


It is easy to get a fishing licence for Iowa. This allows you to enjoy the state’s natural beauty and fish population. To ensure a safe and enjoyable fishing experience in Iowa, make sure you are familiar with the rules and regulations.

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