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Fishing Regulations

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View or Download the Fishing Guide for current schedule of permit fees and types.

Please include a $1 Agent Fee to the price of all permits unless noted below.

Who Is Required To Have A Permit?
A fishing permit is required to take, or attempt to take, fish, bullfrogs, snapping turtles, tiger salamanders or mussels by any method. An angler must carry the fishing permit while he/she actively is fishing. A resident fishing permit is required for all Nebraskans 16 years of age and older. A resident is a person who has resided in Nebraska continuously for at least 30 days and has a bona fide intention of becoming a legal resident of this state. Others who may obtain a resident permit include: (1) military personnel stationed in Nebraska and on active duty here for at least 30 consecutive days; (2) nonresident students upon proof they have attended classes full time for at least 30 consecutive days at any Nebraska college, university, junior college, vocational school or any foreign exchange high school student; and (3) any person duly enrolled in and attending a civilian conservation center or similar government work or training facility for 30 consecutive days.

Fee-Exempt Permits
Fee-exempt permits are available to the following resident veterans: (1) 50 percent disabled as a result of service in the armed forces, (2) received a pension from the Veterans Administration as a result of a total and permanent disability not incurred in the line of duty in military service, and (3) those who obtained fee-exempt permits before Jan. 1, 2006. Aquatic habitat stamps are included with these fee-exempt permits. Information and application forms are available from Nebraska Game and Parks Commission offices across and permit agents. An annual $5 fish/hunt permit is available for veterans 64 and older and residents 69 and older.

Educational Fishing Project Permit
An educational fishing project permit can be obtained by instructors at any university, college, or high school from the Fisheries Division for his or her students, 16 years of age and older, that are participating in an educational fishing project.

Nonresidents Permits
A nonresident fishing permit is required of all people who are not Nebraska residents, except those listed above and those under 16 years of age who are accompanied by someone possessing a valid Nebraska fishing permit. See the Boundary Waters section for permit requirements for fishing the waters of the Missouri River.

The owner, or a guest of the owner, of any totally private body of water which: (1) is located entirely on private land; (2) is entirely privately stocked; (3) does not connect by inflow or outflow with any other off-property body of water; and (4) is not commercially operated, is not required to have a fishing permit on that body of water.

Special Permits *
A "special fishing permit" is available for physically disabled or developmentally disabled persons who cannot cast or retrieve without assistance. This permit entitles the disabled person and one person assisting him or her to take, fish, catch, harvest or possess any aquatic organism in compliance with state regulations. If the person assisting does not possess a current fishing permit, they are restricted to one daily bag limit between the two anglers. The annual permit is issued on a calendar year basis and costs $5 regardless of the age of the applicant. A "disabled person" means 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 the Commission headquarters in Lincoln or offices in Alliance, Bassett, Kearney, Norfolk, North Platte, Omaha and the Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium near Gretna.

Information and application forms for fee-exempt fishing permits are available only from the Game and Parks Commission office in Lincoln. See Boundary Waters section for permit requirements for fishing the waters of the Missouri River.

Veteran Permits

Nebraska residents who are Veterans may receive a Fee exempt permit if they are 50 % disabled as a result of injuries incurred in the line of duty while in the Military or receives a pension from the Veterans Administration as a result of a total Permanent disability not incurred in the line of duty in the Military Service. To obtain one of these fee exempt permits, your disability application must be signed & verified by the Veterans Service Center Manager, whose address is on the front of the Veteran's Application. These permits are Fee exempt and good for the life of the Veteran.

Nebraska residents who are Veterans may qualify for a Veteran's Hunting/Fishing Permit for a fee of $5.00 if they are 64 years of age or older and a Veteran that has served Active duty service other than Basic training. To obtain a Veteran's permit for Hunting/Fishing you must complete an application form and return it to your nearest Nebraska Game and Parks Commission office along with a copy of your DD 214 that verifies dates of service and the $5.00 fee. The Veteran's permit must be renewed each year for a fee of $5.00.

To obtain an application you can send an email to bob.zegar@nebraska.gov requesting an application. Please include your complete name and mailing address in the email message. You may also call 402.471.0641 to request an application over the phone.

Lifetime Permits

Lifetime Permit page

A Nebraska lifetime hunting of fishing permit is the most valuable gift you can give yourself or a special friend or relative. It represents a lifetime of exciting and pleasurable outdoor experiences.

As the name implies, the permit is valid for the life of the person to whom it is issued, even if the holder moves from the state and returns to hunt or fish. But, only Nebraska residents may purchase a lifetime permit, and only for themselves or for another Nebraska resident.

Not included in this cost of Lifetime permits are special stamps including the Nebraska Habitat Stamp and the federal Waterfowl Stamp. These stamps must be purchased annually. No Aquatic Habitat Stamp is required for a Lifetime Fish or Lifetime Hunt and Fish permit.

Big-game permits for hunting antelope, deer, elk, sheep, or turkey, must also be purchased each year independent of the lifetime license. (Lifetime permit holders who move out of state are not eligible for resident big game drawings, but must apply during periods open to nonresidents).

It's easy to purchase a Nebraska lifetime hunting, fishing, or combination permit. Simply obtain an application form from any Game and Parks Commission office or from any permit vendor across the state. Fill out the application and mail it with the proper fee to Game and Parks Commission, P.O. Box 30370, or 2200 N. 33rd, Lincoln, NE 68503.

A lifetime permit is the perfect birthday, Christmas or graduation gift. It truly is a gift that will last a lifetime.

Free Fishing Day

Legislation passed in 1996 authorized a Free Fishing and Park Entry Day in Nebraska. The day is designed to attract those who no longer fish or who have never fished and to give them an opportunity to do so without the need to purchase a license. Free Fishing and Park Entry Day is held the Saturday before Memorial Day weekend. Anglers can take advantage of that day, invite a non-angler friend along and take them on a fishing trip on any water body in the state showing them how much fun fishing really is.

UNLAWFUL PRACTICES:- For a complete list of unlawful practices please refer to the Fish Guide (68 pages). The following list represents a summary of the 29 pages of regulations provided in the guide. This list is NOT all inclusive and is provided as a brief overview list for our users' convenience.

It is unlawful TO:

  • borrow or use the permit of another or lend your permit to another.
  • leave dead fish or any part thereof on the banks or in the water of any stream, lake or other body of water.
  • fish on any private land without landowner permission.
  • use a crossbow or similar device while archery fishing, except for a disabled person who has a medical certificate on file.
  • seine sport fish of any size.
  • leave fish in a trap for more than 24 hours.
  • use float lines.
  • attach limb lines with nails, or more than 12 inches above the water to trees on any lake or reservoir.
  • release in public waters of the state any fish that did not originate from that body of water.
  • attempt to snag fish, except in areas designated. See section on Snagging for details.
  • keep a foul-hooked fish, which is any fish hooked externally.

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State of NebraskaOFFICIAL STATE OF NEBRASKA WEBSITE -
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission - 2200 N. 33rd St. Lincoln, NE 68503 - 402-471-0641


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