In 2009, legislation was passed implementing a Recreational Saltwater License in New Hampshire, in addition to Charter Boat and Party Boat licenses. Passage of this law exempted licensed N.H. saltwater anglers from NOAA’s National Saltwater Angler Registry (countmyfish.noaa.gov) and took effect in 2011.
Recreational fishing licenses are available for purchase online or through any of 200+ N.H. license agents statewide.
Who Needs the License?
All persons ages 16 and older participating in recreational saltwater fishing who wish to take, possess, or transport finfish from coastal and estuarine waters of New Hampshire. This includes anglers, spearfishers, and persons using other gear types to take marine finfish for personal use and which are not sold.
There is no exemption for persons over age 68 from the recreational saltwater license. This is because we need to collect the name, address, and phone number of all those fishing in saltwater each year in order to obtain an exemption for N.H. license holders from the National Saltwater Angler Registry and the associated fee.
You do not need the recreational fishing license to fish from a licensed charter or party boat.
Persons who purchased a Lifetime fishing or combination license prior to 2011 may obtain a Limited Annual Saltwater License for Lifetime Licensees to fish for saltwater smelt, American shad, trout and salmon in coastal and estuarine waters. This permit must be applied for each year by mail or at Fish and Game in Concord and is good only for the fish listed above. If you wish to fish for other fish species such as striped bass, flounder, cod, etc. you must purchase a N.H. Recreational Saltwater License.
Resident anglers possessing a valid N.H. Recreational Saltwater License can legally fish in all tidal and estuarine areas of Massachusetts and in Maine. Reciprocity will be granted in N.H. for those nonresident anglers possessing a valid Maine or Mass. saltwater license.
Charter and Party Boat License
Who Needs the License?
A charter or party boat license is required for party boats, charter boats, dive boats, head boats, and other boats hired by persons to engage in recreational saltwater fishing opportunities which includes the taking of any marine finfish, by any means for personal use only and which are not sold.
Charter boat is a vessel less than 100 gross tons that meets the requirements of the US Coast Guard to carry 6 or fewer passengers for hire.
Party boat or head boat is a vessel that holds a valid Certificate of Inspection issued by the US Coast Guard to carry passengers for hire.
Passengers hiring a licensed party or charter boat do not need to have a Recreational Saltwater Fishing license while fishing from the vessel.
*Includes $1 agent fee
New Hampshire law provides reciprocity for Maine and Massachusetts licensed charter and party boats but only if those states provide reciprocity for N.H. licensed vessels. At this time, only Massachusetts provides reciprocity for N.H. licensed charter and party boat vessels; licensed N.H. vessels may operate and fish in Mass. state waters, but may not pick up or drop off passengers or land fish in Mass.
Charter & Party Boat Operators: Please Note
Operators of vessels with a N.H. party or charter boat license operating in coastal and estuarine waters of the state are exempt from the need to obtain a N.H. Guide license if:
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.