Nebraska Fishing License (2024): Types, Costs and How To Buy

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Nebraska offers some great fishing opportunities with fishing for panfish, pike and smallmouth bass among the highlights.

There is also excellent catfish fishing in Nebraska and the state offers a range of reservoirs, lakes and rivers.

Folk wanting to go fishing in Nebraska should be aware that it is mandatory in most circumstances to have a fishing license (which the Nebraska Parks and Game Commission calls a fishing permit).

In this article we have put together all the information you need on Nebraska fishing licenses including the cost, which license you need and where to buy your Nebraska fishing license.

How Much is a Nebraska Fishing License

For Nebraska residents, an annual fishing license costs $38. For non resident anglers, an annual fishing license costs $84.

There is a wide range of other licenses for shorter and longer periods, along with discounts for particular types of anglers. We’ve summarized this information in the tables below.

See also: How Much is a Fishing License in Each State

Who Needs a Fishing Permit In Nebraska?

In Nebraska, all residents and non residents aged 16 or older must have a fishing permit. Non residents under age 16 are not required to have a permit if they are with someone who does.


Nebraska Fishing Permit Age

Children aged up to 16 can fish without needing a Nebraska fishing license. This is similar to requirements in other states.

Who is Exempt from Needing a Fishing License in Nebraska?

Individuals who fish on a private water body, whether they are the owner or their guests, are not required to have a Nebraska fishing license if all of the following conditions apply to that water:

  1. Is located entirely on private land
  2. Is entirely privately stocked
  3. Does not connect by inflow or outflow with any other bodies of water outside such land, and
  4. Is not run operated on a commercial basis for profit.

Additionally, commercial put-and-take operations that have a license are also exempt from needing a fishing permit.

Types of Fishing License in Nebraska

In Nebraska, there are two types of fishing licenses available: Inland and All Waters.

Inland Fishing License: this fishing license is valid for fishing in all inland waters of the state, including rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. This license does not include fishing in the Missouri River or its tributaries.

All Waters Fishing License: this license includes the privileges of the Inland license and also allows the holder to fish in the Missouri River and its tributaries, as well as all other waters of the state. This license is valid for saltwater fishing as well as freshwater fishing.

In summary, the Inland fishing license is for freshwater fishing only and the All Waters fishing license is for both freshwater and saltwater fishing.

Nebraska Fishing License Cost

The cost of a valid fishing license in Nebraska varies on the type of license you want to purchase. The prices can range from as low as $5 to as high as $2300 depending on several factors such as the individual’s age, residential status, time of year, length of license validity, and the purpose of fishing (recreational, sport, or catch and release).

Resident Fishing Licenses: Costs

In order to purchase a fishing license, residents of Nebraska must qualify with the following requirements:

  • Reside in Nebraska continuously for at least 30 days before making application for a permit and intend to become a Nebraska resident.
  • Residents in school in another state or stationed outside Nebraska as part of a military assignment that have maintained Nebraska as their state of legal residency.
  • Active-duty military personnel and full-time students stationed or attending school in Nebraska for a period of at least 30 days.
  • A new resident should be prepared to provide documentation of residency (driver’s license, voter registration, etc.) to an officer when in possession of a permit.
Fishing License TypePriceFishing License TypePrice
Fish, annual$38Fish, 5-year$132
Fish/Hunt, annual$52Fish/Hunt, 3-year$191
Fish, 1-day$10Fish/Hunt, 5-year$285
Fish, 3-day$31Fish, lifetime (age 0-15)$616
Paddlefish$33Fish, lifetime (age 16-45)$710
Deployed military, annual$5Fish, lifetime (age 46-over)$616
Veteran Fish/Hunt, annual$5Fish/Hunt, lifetime (age 0-15)$859
Senior Fish/Hunt, annual$5Fish/Hunt, lifetime (age 16-45)$1,008
Special disabled, annual$8Fish/Hunt, lifetime (age 46-over)$859
Fish, 3-year$90.50Paddlefish Preference Point$17

Non Resident Fishing Licenses: Costs

A non resident fishing permit is required of all people who are not Nebraska residents, except:

  • Those listed above
  • Thos under 16 years of age who are accompanied by someone with a Nebraska fishing permit.
Fishing License TypePriceFishing License TypePrice
Fish, annual$84Fish/Hunt, 3-year$534
Fish/Hunt, annual$177Fish/Hunt, 5-year$800
Fish, 1-day$14.50Fish, lifetime (age 0-16)$929
Fish, 3-day$37Fish, lifetime (age 17-over)$1,306
Paddlefish$57Fish/Hunt, lifetime (age 0-16)$1,600
Fish, 3-year$216.50Fish/Hunt, lifetime (age 17-over)$2,391
Fish, 5-year$326Paddlefish Preference Point$27

Please note that all 3-year and 5-year permits already include an Aquatic Habitat Stamp or Aquatic Habitat Stamp and Habitat Stamp that are valid throughout the validity of the license. 

Who Can Purchase Discounted Nebraska Fishing Licenses?

In Nebraska, certain special licenses are available to eligible anglers. These include seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities. These licenses often come with discounts or are free of charge. Check the list below to see if you qualify for any of the special permits that are available.

Fishing License TypePrice
Senior Fish/Hunt, annual$5
Veteran Fish/Hunt, annual$5
Deployed military, annual$5
Special disabled, annual$8

Special Fishing Licenses in Nebraska

Fee-Exempt Permits

 These are available to resident veterans who:

  • are 50% disabled as a result of armed forces service
  • receive a pension from the Veterans Administration as a result of a total and permanent disability not incurred in the line of duty while in military service
  • obtained fee-exempt permits before Jan. 1, 2006

Veteran and Senior Permits

An annual fish/hunt permit is available for resident veterans age 64 and older and resident seniors age 69 and older.

Special Fishing Permit

This annual permit is for physically or developmentally disabled residents who cannot cast or retrieve unassisted.

  • This entitles the disabled person and one person assisting him or her to take, fish, catch, harvest or possessany aquatic organism in compliance with state regulations.
  • If the person assisting does not have a valid fishing permit, they are restricted to one daily bag limit between the two anglers.
  • Disabled person is a person certified by a physician to have a permanent physical impairment or developmental disability that results in the inability to use fishing equipment unassisted.
  • Applications are available from Game and Parks district offices, service centers and the Schramm Education Center.

Educational Fishing Project Permit

This may be obtained by instructors at any university, college or high school from the Fisheries Division for his/her students, 16 years of age and older who are participating in an educational fishing project.

Paddlefish Permit

Required, along with a Nebraska fishing permit, for taking paddlefish by snagging or archery during designated seasons.

Salvage Permit

The permit allows for the salvage of fish from selected irrigation canals located in the Platte River, Republican River and Loup River drainages. Applications must be submitted to Game and Parks’ North Platte district office or the Kearney service center. Live fish cannot be transported in water from a canal because of the potential for moving diseases and aquatic invasive species. Fish for consumption should be transported on ice.

See here for info on the discounts and exemptions in other states for seniors, veterans and disabled anglers.

Where Can I Buy a Nebraska Fishing License?

Fishing Nebraska Map
Fishing Nebraska Map

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

To purchase a fishing license in Nebraska, you have a few different choices. One of the easiest ways is to head to a Nebraska Game and Parks Commission office. If you’re not sure where the closest one is, you can just check out their website or give them a call at 402-471-0641.


To purchase the license online, just follow the procedures here.

Walmart and other Retail Outlets

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission website lists more than 500 permit vendors throughout the state, including bait shops, sporting goods stores, and other retail outlets such as Walmart stores (in person only).

Click this link to find your local agents near you based on your region. This list may change and will be updated accordingly.

What Happens with Nebraska Fishing License Fees?

Money from the Nebraska fishing lincense fees go towards the management and conservation of the state’s fish and wildlife resources. This includes activities such as stocking fish, preserving and maintaining habitats, enforcing regulations, and conducting research.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is the agency responsible for managing these resources and uses the revenue from license sales to fund these activities.

Does Nebraska Have Reciprocal License arrangements with neighboring states?

Nebraska joined the 46-state Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact in 2017 which recognizes suspension of hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses. This compact ensures that license suspensions in one member state are recognized in all other states, preventing individuals from evading responsibility and promoting consistent enforcement of wildlife laws. Suspensions made after November 7, 2017 are subject to the compact’s provisions. Check here for details about fishing licenses in all other states.


Does Nebraska offer Lifetime Fishing Licenses?

Yes, Nebraska offers a Lifetime Fishing License which eliminates the need for an annual fishing permit. This license offers unlimited recreational opportunities for the holder and also help fund conservation efforts for wildlife and fisheries.

They are available to residents and non residents and are valid for the holder’s lifetime. They come with an enamelled brass plate that is engraved with the holder’s information and can be displayed in their home or office.

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Rick Wallace is a passionate angler and fly fisher whose work has appeared in fishing publications including FlyLife. He's appeared in fishing movies, founded a successful fishing site and spends every spare moment on the water. He's into kayak fishing, ultralight lure fishing and pretty much any other kind of fishing out there.
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