New Hampshire Fishing Regulations

Last Updated: 26.05.20

If freshwater fishing is one of your biggest hobbies, be sure to head out to New Hampshire when you have the time and availability. As it is the case with any other American state, in New Hampshire you need a valid license if you are older than 16. If you are younger, you have the freedom to fish without a permit but it is important to note that no adult is allowed to assist you in any way. Parents cannot help their kids with netting, taking the fish off the hook, or even baiting the hook or casting.

In open water, you can use up to two lines. However, is ice fishing is right up on your alley, you can utilize up to six or two lines, depending on the water you are doing your angling in. While in other places in the United States there is no regulation in relation to daytime or nighttime fishing, in New Hampshire you aren’t allowed to catch trout or salmon at night. Nonetheless, there are some sections of rivers that allow you to target brown trout from two hours after sunset.

Some of the common species you can target in this state range from lake and river trout to largemouth and smallmouth bass. There are limits as to how many of these you can possess per day, so we suggest going online so that you can check out the New Hampshire Fish and Game official website.

Typically, fishing seasons start on January 1st. However, this is not the case for trout ponds, where the season starts in April. For lake trout and salmon waters, there is no limit, which means that you can target them yearlong. Irregardless of the weather conditions, you are traditionally allowed to fish trout or salmon through ice fishing only from January 1st to March 31st.

Free fishing days vary from year to year. In 2020, for instance, they were the first Saturday in June and the third Saturday in January. On these days, both residents and nonresidents are allowed to fish any inland water or saltwater in New Hampshire. Even on Free Fishing Days, one has to abide by the rules regarding the daily bag limits and other regulations.

As for the daily limits, we’ll note some of those you might be interested in below.

Black Bass – you are allowed to possess up to two fish per day except from may 15 to June 15, when you are allowed to target this species only thanks to the catch and release policy.

Brook, Brown, Rainbow Trout and their hybrids – you are allowed to hold up to five fish or up to five pounds of weight when fishing open water. You aren’t allowed to possess more than two if you engage in ice fishing.

Lake trout & Landlocked salmon – the daily limit is 2 fish of which the minimum length should be 18 and 15 inches, respectively.

Black crappie, white and yellow perch, and sunfish – you can fish up to 25 species per day but no more than fifty combined.

You cannot possess more than 10 chain pickerel, one Northern pike, two walleye, and two lake whitefish.


The species for which there are no limits are the following:

  • Suckers
  • Cusk
  • Carp
  • Rock bass


It is illegal to fish Round Whitefish as they should be released immediately.

You do not need a fishing license if you plan to take crayfish, as long as you do it for personal use. You can use up to six crayfish traps per day. Should you desire to sell it, you ought to be the holder of a bait dealer’s license.



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