Recreational Saltwater Fishing in New Hampshire

Recreational saltwater fishing in New Hampshire offers a plethora of opportunities, with anglers able to cast their lines from various platforms including boats, bridges, jetties, or the beach. Our coastal waters and inland rivers and bays teem with a diverse array of saltwater fish species, promising an exciting experience for fishing enthusiasts of all levels. To engage in recreational saltwater fishing in N.H., anglers are required to obtain a recreational saltwater license. Refer to the Recreational Licenses section for comprehensive details.

Species Regulations

Below are the species subject to specific rules or laws applicable to recreational anglers or spearfishers while fishing in state waters:

  • Additional Regulations in Federal Waters: It's essential to note that additional regulations apply in federal waters for most of the listed species. For inquiries regarding fishing in federal waters, feel free to contact NOAA Fisheries directly at (978) 281-9315 or visit their website.

New Hampshire Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations

Species Regulations

Species Closed Season Minimum Length (Total Length) Daily Bag Limit Special Rules
American Eel No closed season (except surrounding fishways) 9 inches 25 fish per day Fishway closures apply October 2 – June 14 (see Coastal Harvest)
American Plaice* No closed season 14 inches No bag limit
American Shad No closed season No minimum length No bag limit All shad must be immediately released
Atlantic Cod* Nov. 1 – Aug. 31 22 inches 1 fish per day Head and tail intact, unless fillet is ≥14 inches minimum See Gulf of Maine Cod Spawning Protection Area map on Cod Spawning Protection Area
Atlantic Halibut No closed season 41 inches 1 fish per trip/vessel Head and tail intact while on or leaving waters of the state
Atlantic Mackerel No closed season No minimum length 20 fish harvest or possession per day
Atlantic Sea Herring No closed season No minimum length No bag limit Federal regulations apply in federal waters
Atlantic Salmon No closed season No minimum length No bag limit All sea-run Atlantic salmon caught on coastal and estuarine waters must be immediately released
Atlantic Wolffish Closed year round Possession is prohibited Possession is prohibited
Black Sea Bass No closed season 16.5 inches 4 fish per day Length does not include filament/tail extension
Bluefin Tuna No closed season 27 inches CFL** Variable; see website Federally managed — follow federal regulations (call 1-888-USA-TUNA) or visit hmspermits.noaa.gov
Bluefish No closed season No minimum length Recreational — 3 fish per day For-Hire — 5 fish per day Non-offset, corrodible circle hooks required if angling with bait.
Dogfish, Spiny No closed season No minimum length No bag limit Finning prohibited
Haddock* March 1 – March 31 18 inches (for-hire) 15 fish per day (for-hire) 10 fish per day (private) Head and tail intact, unless fillet is ≥10 inches minimum
Monkfish No closed season 17 inches No bag limit
Pollock* No closed season No minimum length No bag limit 19 inches, if taken in federal waters
Ocean Pout Closed year round Possession is prohibited Possession is prohibited
Rainbow Smelt (Saltwater) No closed season No minimum length 4 liquid quarts Head and tail must remain intact
Redfish* No closed season 9 inches No bag limit
River Herring (Alewife/Blueback Herring) Closed to all harvest in NH waters No minimum length No bag limit
Salters (Sea-run Trout) No closed season No minimum length 1 fish per day Recreational angling only In Berry Brook****: Single-hook artificial lures and flies only. Immediate release required. In Winnicut River: The salter daily limit applies only downstream of the B&M Railroad bridge
Sharks — Blue, Thresher, and Porbeagle No closed season No minimum length No bag limit All sharks — head, fins and tail must remain attached through landing. Non-offset, corrodible circle hooks required if angling with bait. Additional federal regulations apply in federal waters (call 1-978-281-9315).
Sharks — Shortfin Mako Closed year round Possession is prohibited Possession is prohibited See Fis 603.20 for additional species not common to NH waters.
Striped Bass No closed season 28 inches to less than 31 inches 1 fish per day Gaffing and culling are prohibited; No sale allowed, regardless of origin. Non-offset, corrodible circle hooks required if angling with bait. Head and tail must be intact while on or leaving the waters or shores of the state except may possess up to 2 fillets with skin intact if also possess fish rack ≥ 28" and less than 31" TL with head/tail intact that fillets came from.
Sturgeon Closed year round Possession is prohibited Possession is prohibited
Summer Flounder* No closed season 15 inches No bag limit Sale is prohibited
White Perch No closed season No minimum length 25 fish per day Sale is prohibited
Windowpane Flounder No closed season No minimum length Possession is prohibited
Winter Flounder* No closed season 12 inches 8 fish per day
Yellowtail Flounder* No closed season 13 inches No bag limit
  • All groundfish species that are filleted and skinned must retain at least 2 square inches of contiguous skin intact for identification purposes.

** Curved fork length — See Definitions.

*** Fork length — See Definitions.

**** Anglers fishing Berry Brook in Rye: All fish species caught must be immediately released.

Saltwater Anglers & Spearfishers

Buy your N.H. Recreational Saltwater Fishing License at fishnh.com or at your local license agent – just $11.

For N.H. residents, also good in Maine and Massachusetts salt waters.

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Disclaimer:

The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.