Recreational License FAQs

For specific questions not answered here, please contact the Division of Marine Fisheries at 252-515-5500 or 800-682-2632.

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The new license is available from WRC license agents throughout the state and at any DMF office.  Most Wal-Marts, along with most sports and bait and tackle shops, sell WRC licenses. The WRC also sells licenses through a toll-free number and on-line.

The CRFL allows you to fish in coastal and joint fishing waters, but not in inland or fresh waters. If you want a license to fish in all state waters, you may purchase a Unified Fishing License.

To qualify for a Resident Disabled Veteran CRFL, you have to be a veteran that is 50 percent or more disabled as determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The license remains valid for the lifetime of the licensee so long as the licensee remains 50 percent or more disabled.

An individual has to be a resident of the state and totally and permanently disabled as determined by the Social Security Administration.

A county Department of Social Services will issue a waiver to any individual who receives benefits from Medicaid, Food Stamps, or Work First Family Assistance through that county’s Department of Social Services upon request.

The blanket license is optional for-hire boat operators. It is entirely up to these operators if they want to purchase a blanket license, otherwise their fishing patronsmust hold their own individual licenses. Blanket priviledges are included with the ocean pier license.


No. The CRFL is only required for the recreational taking of finfish.

Anyone under the age of 16 is not required to have a license to recreationally take finfish in coastal waters. If you and your wife are both fishing, you will both need a license.

All license holders who purchased a WRC Lifetime Sportsman or Lifetime Comprehensive fishing license prior to January 1, 2006, are exempted from purchasing the CRFL.

Two, your possession limit and your 11-year-old’s possession limit. Your 17-year-old is required to have a CRFL to take finfish recreationally.

The license has been required since January 1, 2007.

Yes, unless the public pier has purchased a blanket license.

Yes, if you are fishing recreationally for finfish in coastal waters, you will need a CRFL.

No. Private, freshwater ponds are exempt from the licensing requirement.

No, they must all have a license if you are fishing in coastal waters, unless they are under 16 years of age. After January 1, 2009, owners of vessels greater than 23' in length may purchase blocks of ten 10-day CRFLs for $150.00 that they can issue to anglers aboard their vessel. Call a DMF license office for more information.


No. Each Ten-Day License may be used individually for any 10 consecutive days.

No, a license may only be issued to one person.

No. The license may only used aboard vessel for which the license is purchased.

No. Blocks of 10 Ten-Day CRFLS are available only to owners of vessels registered in North Carolina or documented with the U.S. Coast Guard.

Anglers who have lost their license may apply for a another license to be reissued for a $5 fee.

No, seafood harvested under this license is for personal consumption and cannot be sold.

Yes, if you are recreationally fishing for finfish, you need the CRFL.

Any type of recreational finfish harvest activity not included under the N.C. Recreational Commercial Gear License will require this license. This includes, but is not limited to spears, gigs, hook-and-line, bait-and-line, seines less than 30 feet, dip nets, landing nets and cast nets.






No, you will be held to the state’s recreational size and possession limits.

No, it is unlawful to buy, sell, lend, borrow, assign, or otherwise transfer a license to any other individual.

Nonresident members of the armed forces, including their spouses and children under 18 will be considered residents of North Carolina for the purposes of purchasing and using a Coastal Recreational Fishing or Unified License.

The purpose of the CRFL is to gather better data about North Carolina’s coastal recreational fishing activity so the DMF can manage fish stocks more effectively. Fisheries managers need to have better estimates on how many people are recreationally fishing and how many and what types of fish they are catching. Sampling and surveys help provide this information.

It will go into two marine resource funds and be distributed through the Marine Fisheries and Wildlife Resources commissions. It must be used to manage, protect, restore, develop, cultivate, conserve and/or enhance North Carolina’s marine resources.

Yes, a migrant farm worker who has in their possession a temporary certification of their status from the Rural Employment Service of the N.C. Employment Security Commission on a form provided by the WRC is entitled to the privileges of a resident of the state.

Yes, every July 4th has been declared a free fishing day, but people still have to abide by recreational size and possession limits.

Nonresident students attending a university, college, or community college in the state are considered to be residents and are eligible for resident fishing licenses.