Fishing Licenses in New Hampshire


A recreational fishing license in New Hampshire is required by law to take all fish species from the state’s fresh and saltwaters. A sport fishing license is available for various durations and types of residents or nonresidents. While a game fishing license might be a sizeable investment, anyone interested in fishing in the state should consider taking advantage of discounted licenses or purchasing permits that only last the period in which they plan to fish.

Because fishing is a popular activity in NH, residents and nonresidents visiting public and private waters must understand what recreational fishing licenses are, how to obtain them and how to adhere to state fishing regulations. The following sections answer the question,“what is a sport fishing license?” and explain recreational saltwater licenses and other license types that anglers may have to purchase in NH.

Who needs a fishing license in New Hampshire?

According to state regulations, general recreational fishing licenses must be maintained by residents and nonresidents 16 years old or older attempting to capture fish from public or private NH waterbodies. Anglers selling fish they catch for profit must buy and keep a commercial fishing license to remain legal in NH.The act of fishing includes all casting, spearfishing, ice fishing and any other method of fishing that anglers may use to procure fish. They may choose to purchase a salt or freshwater fishing license, or both, to satisfy their fishing goals.

New Hampshire Fishing License Requirements

A saltwater or freshwater fishing permit requires residents to be at least 16 years old. While age is the primary determinant when issuing NH fishing licenses, programs such as the Let’s Go Fishing Program are designed to teach young children, teens and adults basic fishing skills from ice fishing to fly fishing.

Types of Fishing Licenses in New Hampshire

A NH recreational fishing license is a legal document that features the licensee’s name, birth date and signature. A comprehensive list of all the types of recreational and commercial fishing permits residents and nonresidents may have in NH is provided below:

  • Freshwater fishing license (short-term and annual)
  • Saltwater fishing license(short-term and annual)
  • Clam or oyster fishing licenses (residents only)
  • Combination licenses for freshwater and saltwater
  • Commercial saltwater fishing licenses

Commercial licenses can be further divided into the following types:

  • Commercial lobster and crab permits to trap, transport and trade
  • Commercial saltwater licenses for individual anglers
  • Marine species licenses for wholesalers
  • Commercial saltwater licenses for vessels
  • Limited lifetime saltwater license or combination license

Senior freshwater and saltwater combination licenses and lifetime commercial and recreational fishing permits are only available to NH residents.

What types of fish can I catch with fishing licenses in New Hampshire?

Any angler with a valid NH commercial or recreational fishing license may catch popular warmwater and coldwater species in freshwater public areas such as smallmouth bass or brook trout. They may also use their sport fishing licenses to catch saltwater fish like cod or salmon. However, lifetime fishing license holders may be limited to fishing for saltwater smelt, American shad, trout and salmon in coastal and estuarine fishing areas. A saltwater fishing license is required for all other saltwater species.

What types of fish require special fishing permits or tags in New Hampshire?

Clams, crabs and lobsters require additional NH fishing permits prior to being taken from state waters.

How long is a fishing license valid in New Hampshire?

The validity period of recreational fishing licenses depends on the type of license. If anglers purchase a temporary sport license, their fishing privileges terminate after the specified fishing period ends (i.e., after one, two, three or seven days).However, saltwater fishing licenses last for a year, and lifetime licenses last indefinitely.

How much does a New Hampshire fishing license cost?

Often, anglers will ask, “How much is a sport fishing license?” but are unsure of the type of license they wish to obtain. The costs for each sport and commercial fishing license available to eligible anglers in NH are as follows:

  • Resident freshwater fishing license cost for one day: $10
  • Non-resident freshwater fishing license cost for one day: $15
  • Non-resident freshwater fishing license cost for three days: $28
  • Non-resident freshwater fishing license cost for seven days: $35
  • Resident saltwater fishing licensecost: $11
  • Non-resident saltwater fishing license cost: $11

Lifetime fishing license fees can be found online. The commercial fishing license price may vary depending on the type of marine species license. For instance, a commercial saltwater license for fishing vessels costs more than general fishing licenses for lobsters and crabs.A full list of resident and non-resident fees for commercial fishing licenses is provided online.

Note: An additional fee of $2 is charged per license application form. A fee of $3 is collected with all online license orders.

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Are Fishing License Discounts Available in New Hampshire?

Senior citizens, disabled veterans and local anglers who purchase both NH game and fishing licenses together may receive special discounted rates of $7, $10 and $56, respectively, for freshwater and saltwater fishing.Nonresidents may receive combination game and fish licenses for $151.

Where Can I Get a Fishing License in New Hampshire?

You can get a game and fish fishing license online, by mail or in person at an approved license agency courtesy of the NH Fish and Game Department (NHFG). However, lifetime recreational fishing licenses are only available at the Concord headquarters office or by mail. Interested anglers may download or print applications online, or visit a nearby license agency.

How Can I Replace my New Hampshire Fishing License?

Duplicate or replacement NH fishing licenses can be purchased at the license agency at which the original license was purchased. Additionally, the NHFG office in Concord can issue a new commercial or recreational fishing license as needed. Anglers may contact the department by phone to request replacement services.


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