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Learn About Iowa Fishing Licenses

It is important to think about getting an Iowa fishing license before you plan your fishing trip in the state. In fact, the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) enforces this rule for most fishing activities. 

The first step in learning how to get a fishing license in IA, involves comparing the many types of fishing licenses offered in the state. Before you can purchase one, you must determine which licenses you qualify for, from the resident license to the specialty options. In addition, you must study the local fishing regulations and laws, as these dictate the type, amount and size of fish you can catch, as well as the gear you can use. 

Find Your Section:

  • How to Get a Fishing License in Iowa 
  • Types of Fishing Licenses in Iowa 
  • Iowa Fishing Laws & Regulations

How to Get a Fishing License in Iowa

When you are ready, you can choose to purchase your fishing license online or from a local DNR-approved license vendor. Either way you choose to buy a fishing license, the steps in the fishing license application process generally involve the same steps and requirements. Most importantly, you must fill out the application with certain personal information, and provide supporting documents as necessary. 

Once you give information like your name and show valid identification, you also need to provide the licensing fee. “How much is a fishing license in Iowa?” depends on which license you decide to purchase, since prices vary greatly. For example, non-resident licenses generally have higher costs that resident licenses.  

It is also important to keep fishing license expiration in mind when calculating your costs. Most licenses offered eventually expire, which means they require regular renewal. Whether you get a daily, short-term or annual license, at some point you must pay renewal fees if you want to continue fishing with that license. Keep in mind that you may face consequences if you are caught fishing with an expired license. 

Types of Fishing Licenses in Iowa

There are a number of different fishing license options to choose from in this state, each with their own requirements and specifications. Factors like your status as a resident, your age and the type of fish you want to catch all affect which license you need and qualify for. 

Furthermore, after you buy a fishing license, you may need additional permissions when catching certain species. For instance, in order to fish for and keep trout in this state, you need to pay the trout fish fee along with your licensing fee. 

The first choice you need to make is between the resident fishing license and the non-resident license. As implied, you must qualify as a resident to get a resident license. Then, you can decide the duration of the license you need. 

A temporary fishing license works for those who do not fish that often, since it covers only one week. Meanwhile, the long-term license lasts for three years. You may even want to consider a specialty license, such as the combination option, if you enjoy hunting as well as fishing. 

In some cases, a license is not required for fishing in the state for certain individuals or circumstances.

Iowa Fishing Laws & Regulations

Each state enforces its own fishing regulations in order to protect the local environment, as well as fishermen and women. This state is no exception, so it is important to understand these laws while fishing here. Failure to comply with the various Iowa fishing rules can result in fines and other consequences. Make sure to thoroughly review each of the regulations before casting your line to avoid any penalties. 

The different fishing laws in Iowa are meant to fight against overfishing and ensure the safety of both residents and non-residents fishing in the area. For example, fishing laws regarding seasons and daily catch limits ensure that various fish species have adequate time to breed and continue thriving. Rules like these vary depending on the particular species, as well as the body of water. 

Freshwater fish size limits are also enforced, to ensure that each species has adequate time to mature. According to these limits, the fish you catch must be within a certain length for you to catch and take it. Those who do not meet the size requirement must be thrown back. Like with daily catch limits, the specific lengths vary by species and body of water. For instance, black bass caught in Yellow Banks, Big Creek or Mill Creek must be at least 18 inches in length. 

Note: Some species of fish are on the endangered list, which means you may be prohibited from fishing for them.