How to Get a Dealer's License to Sell Fishing Bait

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Anyone preparing to open a bait stand or sell fishing bait to fishermen will need to buy a dealer license from the state before making that first sale. Managing natural resources and, in particular, the fish population is serious business in most states, and requirements can often be detailed and specific. States often list which types of fish can be used as dead or live bait and which waters bait can be taken from. Individual fisherman taking bait for their own purposes will need a fishing license and not a dealer license.

  • Contact your state's fish and wildlife department and ask about a dealer license to sell fishing bait. This department can go by many names, including the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Department of Natural Resources or the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

  • Read through all state requirements for bait sellers. Each state will outline to prospective licensees what type of bait can be caught and sold and where and how the bait can be captured. Some states may require bait dealers to purchase bait from licensed fishermen to resell, and other states might outline the type of equipment to use when catching bait to sell. Some states may allow only residents to hold a bait selling license, or they might charge nonresidents large fees to do so.

  • Gather the necessary documents and fill out the application. There may be more than one type of seller license application because some states distinguish between retail and wholesale bait sellers. You will be supplying personal information such as a Social Security number, physical address, physical description and a driver's license number. Some states may ask for photo copies of personal documents.

  • Return the application and fee to the appropriate state department. Fees can vary greatly from state to state. For instance, North Carolina charges an application fee of $50. Maine charges $26 for a wholesale license and $16 for a retail bait selling license. Iowa charges $30.50 for a resident retail license and $125 for a wholesale license.

  • Follow regulations about license renewal. Bait selling licenses usually expire annually. However, a state can set any expiration date for the license. Licenses are usually marked with an expiration date. The process for renewal should begin through the same department the initial license was purchased from. Ask about new regulations and requirements when renewing a bait dealer's license.

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