Obtaining a recreational fishing license in New Jersey is simple and necessary for fishing in the state and maintaining local waters. However, NJ only offers a sport fishing license for freshwaters including privately owned waterbodies. A game fishing license for the collection of saltwater species is not available, but anglers must purchase specific licenses and permits required for each type of fish (e.g., shellfish licenses).
Anglers have multiple options for purchasing a recreational saltwater license as well as general licenses, a commercial fishing license or a fishery permit in NJ. The following sections answer important questions regarding fishing licenses such as “How much is a sport fishing license?” to help determine which licenses and permits you need to safely harvest local fish. A valid license is an essential part of fishing in NJ, so you must know how to properly purchase and maintain one.
Who needs a fishing license in New Jersey?
Commercial and recreational fishing licenses, permits and stamps are required for residents and nonresidents 16 years of age or older fishing in freshwaters with a handline, fishing rod or bow and arrow in the state by the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife. Any angler 16 years or older without a valid freshwater fishing license may be subject to fines or be forced to appear in court. Depending on the severity of the offense, anglers without a freshwater fishing permit may also lose future fishing privileges.
Anglers harvesting and selling freshwater or saltwater fish for profit, or operating or stocking fisheries, must have commercial fishing permits with them. While no general commercial saltwater fishing licenses, or a commercial freshwater fishing license, exist, anglers must ensure that they obtain all necessary permits prior to fishing in NJ waters commercially.
New Jersey Fishing License Requirements
Although commercial fishing licenses require all applicants to be current NJ residents, recreational licenses do not.To get a recreational freshwater or saltwater fishing license in NJ, resident and nonresident anglers must be at least 16 years old. Additionally, eligible anglers must register with the free NJ Saltwater Recreational Registry Program. However, residents do not need to purchase recreational fishing licenses or stamps if they are older than 69 years old or younger than 16 years old.
Note: All NJ fishing licenses must be valid and visibly displayed on anglers’ clothing.
Types of Fishing Licenses in New Jersey
The following types of recreational fishing licenses are available for purchase in NJ:
- Resident and non-resident freshwater fishing license
- Active duty fishing licenses (residents only)
- Combination fishing licenses for residents (All Around Sportsman)
- Fishing licenses for National Guard members (residents only)
- Disabled servicemember fishing licenses (residents only)
- Fishing licenses for legally blind residents
- Senior fishing licenses
- Trout stamps
- Resident and nonresident commercial harvesting permits
Residents may also purchase trout game fishing stamps in the state.
What types of fish can I catch with fishing licenses in New Jersey?
A recreational freshwater fishing license allows anglers to catch large and smallmouth bass, muskellunge, walleye and other popular species. A recreational saltwater fishing license permits anglers to catch fish like porgy, sailfish and shad. Specific species that anglers may take and sell with a commercial fishing permit include the following:
- Gill net
- Haul seine
What types of fish require special fishing permits or tags in New Jersey?
Trout stamps enable anglers to possess trout and salmon whereas an individual NJ saltwater fishing permit must be purchased to catch saltwater species such as the following:
- Triploid grass carp
Commercial fishing license regulations dictate that commercial anglers purchase permits for specific fish as well like freshwater baitfish.
How long is a fishing license valid in New Jersey?
The validity period of NJ fishing licenses depends on the type of license.Nonresidents may purchase seven-day and two-day recreational fishing licenses that expire after the specified number of days. Residents and nonresidents may purchase general licenses that all expire on Dec. 31 of each calendar year following the date of purchase.
How much does a New Jersey fishing license cost?
The costs for recreational fishing licenses are as follows:
- Resident fishing: $22.50
- Senior fishing: $12.50
- Non-resident fishing: $34
- Seven-day fishing: $19.50
- Two-day fishing: $9
- Combination licenses: $72.25
- Resident trout stamps: $10.50
- Nonresident trout stamps: $20
The commercial fishing license price for harvesting is a $2 application fee.
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Are fishing license discounts available in New Jersey?
Discounted fishing buddy licenses are available to groups of two resident anglers between the ages of 16 to 65, and two nonresident anglers older than 16 years old, who choose to purchase a recreational fishing license and have not had a license since 2010. A game fishing license discount is also available to a group of anglers in which one is a current angler (i.e., someone who has purchased a fishing license after 2010) and the other is new to fishing.However, disabled or active service members, some disabled residents, National Guard members and seniors are not eligible for buddy licenses because they already receive discounted, or complimentary, sport fishing licenses via specially offered licenses.
Where can I get a fishing license in New Jersey?
A commercial or game fishing license can be obtained in person at a local license agency or online. Details on finding special recreational fishing licenses for service members or disabled residents is listed on the online website. A list of approved fishing license agencies is available online.
Note: Buddy fishing licenses can only be purchased at NJ fishing license agencies.
How can I replace my New Jersey fishing license?
A lost or damaged sport or commercial fishing license may be replaced at a NJ Fish and Wildlife office or fishing license agency for a small replacement fee of $2.