New Hampshire Saltwater Fishing
There are regulations relating to the harvest of many marine species from New Hampshire’s coastal and estuarine waters, generally by means other than hook and line. Refer to the tables at right for general species regulations and gear restrictions for fish and invertebrates commonly harvested by coastal harvest permittees.
Harvest Permit: Required to take finfish by seine, net, weir, pot or trap, horseshoe crab by any method, or American eel by any method but angling, from coastal and estuarine waters of N.H. Also required to take any species, except lobsters and crabs, for commercial purposes from N.H. waters unless already reporting the catch to NOAA Fisheries via vessel trip reports. Available at Fish and Game Region 3 Office in Durham. Netting of river herring by residents only and non-residents holding a non-resident Commercial Saltwater License.
NOTE: If you are harvesting finfish for personal use only, you need to purchase a recreational saltwater license. If you plan to sell your catch, you need a commercial saltwater license.
Reporting: Any person holding a permit to net or harvest from coastal waters is required to submit a monthly report of fishing activities. Forms are available from Fish and Game’s Region 3 Office, Durham. Commercial fishermen are required to report catch information to the Department if fishing in state waters. Fishermen are also required to participate in the NOAA Fisheries Service Vessel Trip Report program, if fishing federal waters for specific species.
|American Eel|| |
|Atlantic Sea Herring||Refer to Commercial Fishing section|
|Dogfish, Spiny||Refer to Commercial Fishing section|
|Horseshoe Crab||Refer to Invertebrate section|
|Rainbow Smelt|| || |
|River Herring |
See Squamscott River in Special River
Coastal Harvest Gear Restrictions
|Gill Nets (to take, transport, or possess groundfish only)|| ||Weak links with a breaking strength of 1,100 lbs. shall be used in gill net panels set seaward of the harbor entrances.|
|Gill Nets (used in waters inland of the Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth, Little Harbor and Rye Harbor and their tributaries inland of the most seaward jetty, and inland of the Hampton Harbor Bridge)|| || |
|Mobile Gear||Not permitted for use in state waters to take finfish or crustaceans|
|Pots and Traps |
(used for taking finfish)
|Tending must be done between sunrise and sunset|
|Pots and Traps |
(used for taking
|Minimum mesh 1/2 in. throughout.||Tending must be done between sunrise and sunset|
|Seines|| ||Shall only be drawn manually, pulled or dragged through water|
Fishways: No person is allowed to take finfish in fishways nor allowed in or on a fishway without permission. The waters surrounding any dam containing a fishway are closed to all fishing, except eels may be taken by traps, pots or spears within the tidal portions from June 15 – October 1:
|Cocheco River||Closed from the upstream side of Central Avenue Bridge to downstream side of Washington Street Bridge in Dover|
|Exeter River (downtown)||Closed from the upstream side of High Street (Great) Bridge to downstream side of Chestnut Street (String) Bridge (on Squamscott River) in Exeter|
|Lamprey River|| |
|Oyster River||Closed from the upstream side of dam and fishway, including a 50-foot radius in front of the fishway; closed to the taking of river herring from Mill Pond Dam, Durham, downstream to the river mouth in Little Bay|
|Piscataqua River||Including Great Bay estuary and tributaries inland of Memorial Bridge, closed to the use of gill nets with mesh larger than 3 inches|
|Salmon Falls River||Closed from the upstream side of the Route 4 Bridge to 150 feet downstream of South Berwick Dam|
|Squamscott River||River herring: Squamscott River and its tributaries from the Route 108 bridge to the String Bridge in Exeter: |
|Taylor River|| |
|Winnicut River|| |