Determine where you want to fish:
Depending on where you are intending to fish, you might not even need a Coastal Recreational Fishing License. There are three waterbody designations in North Carolina:
- Inland Waters (freshwater rivers and lakes)
- Coastal Waters (ocean, estuaries)
- Joint Waters
If fishing in Inland waters, the only fishing license required is the Wildlife Resources Commission's Inland Fishing License. However, if fishing in Coastal waters you are required to have a Coastal Recreational Fishing License. When fishing in Joint Waters, either fishing license will suffice. To help determine which waterbody designation you will be fishing in, see this interactive map from the Wildlife Resources Commission. You must zoom in to the area your fishing to be able to see the boundaries. Coastal waters are outlined in blue, joint waters are outlined in red, and inland waters are not outlined.
Choose which license is best for you:
Licenses are available on an annual, lifetime, and temporary basis. Depending on how often you intend fish, there may be more economical license choices than just your typical Annual license. If only fishing for a short period of time, you may purchase a short-term license that authorizes fishing for ten consecutive days at a reduced cost. If you intend to fish in North Carolina for years to come, it may make more sense to purchase a Lifetime license that authorizes fishing for the rest of your life.
Decide how you want to purchase your license:
We want to make getting a license as hassle-free as possible, so there a multiple options for purchasing a license. See those options below.AccordionTab/Accordion Item
Licenses may be purchased online using the Wildlife Resources Commission's Automated License and Vessel Information System. Visa and Mastercard are accepted.
Licenses may be purchased over the telephone Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., by calling Wildlife Resources Commission customer service at 888-248-6834.
Licenses may be purchased in person at a Division of Marine Fisheries office, at a Wildlife Resources Commission office, or at one of the many license vendors scattered throughout the state.