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Recreational Saltwater Fishing – Finfish

Saltwater Marine Fishing Regulations New Hampshire Saltwater Fishing

Recreational saltwater fishing in New Hampshire provides diverse opportunities. Saltwater anglers can cast a line from boats, bridges, jetties or the beach. Many saltwater fish species are available along the coast and in our rivers and bays. Recreational saltwater fishing in N.H. requires a recreational saltwater license.

Below are species that have rules or laws that apply to recreational anglers or spearfishers while fishing in state waters.

Additional regulations apply in federal waters for most of the below-listed species — contact NOAA Fisheries at (978) 281-9315 or nero.noaa.gov/sfd/recfishing directly if you have questions regarding fishing in federal waters.

New Hampshire Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations

SPECIES

Closed Season

Minimum 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
American Plaice*

14 inches

American Shad All shad must be immediately released
Atlantic Cod*

Oct. 1 – July 31

24 inches

1

  • Fillets no less than 14 inches
  • See Gulf of Maine Cod Spawning Protection Area map

  • Possession prohibited year round in Federal waters (over 3 miles from shore)

Atlantic Halibut

41 inches

1 fish per trip/vessel

Head and tail intact while on or leaving waters of the state
Atlantic Sea Herring Federal regulations apply in federal waters
Atlantic Salmon
(Sea-run )
All sea-run Atlantic salmon caught on coastal and estuarine waters must be immediately released
Atlantic Wolffish

Possession is prohibited

Black Sea Bass

13 inches

10 fish per day

Length does not include filament/tail extension
Bluefin Tuna Federally managed — follow federal regulations (call 1-888-USA-TUNA) or visit hmspermits.gov
Bluefish

10 fish per day

Dogfish, Spiny Finning prohibited
Haddock*

Mar. 1-April 14

17 inches

15 fish per day

  • Head and tail intact, unless fillet is 10 inches minimum
  • In Federal waters, 12 fish daily bag limit; minimum size 17 inches; two closed seasons – September 17 through October 31, and March 1 through April 14.

Monkfish

17 inches

Pollock* 19 inches, if taken in federal waters
Rainbow Smelt (Saltwater)

4 liquid quarts

Head and tail must remain intact
Redfish*

9 inches

River Herring
(Alewife/
Blueback Herring)

Closed sunrise Wednesday – sunrise Thursday

See Squamscott River in Special River Restrictions, page 19.

See Special River Restrictions and Coastal Harvest Section. Fishing prohibited around fishway closure areas Oyster and Taylor rivers closed
Salters (Sea-run Trout)

No closed season

1 fish per day

  • Recreational angling only
  • In Berry Brook: Single-hook artificial lures and flies only.
  • In Winnicut River: The salter daily limit applies only downstream of the B&M Railroad bridge
Sharks —
Blue, Porbeagle, Shortfin Mako and Thresher
  • Porbeagle — recreational fishing in state waters only
  • All sharks — head, fins and tail must remain attached through landing
Striped Bass

28 inches

1 fish per day

  • Head and tail must remain intact while on or leaving state waters or shores (no fillets); Gaffing is prohibited; No sale allowed, regardless of origin
Sturgeon

Closed year round

Possession is prohibited

Summer Flounder*

15 inches

Recreational angling only; No sale allowed
White Perch

25 fish per day

Sale is prohibited
Winter Flounder*

12 inches

8 fish per day

Yellowtail Flounder*

13 inches

About This Publication

This publication is a summary of fishing regulations. It is not the full laws or rules. It is intended only as a guide to seasons and other necessary marine information. For more detailed information concerning regulations, consult the New Hampshire Fish and Game Law Book, Fish and Game Administrative Rules, or contact your local Conservation Officer. Fish and Game laws and rules may be viewed at any Fish and Game office; Legislative Services, Administrative Rules, in the State House Annex, 25 Capitol St., Room 219, Concord, NH 03301; and at fishnh.com or nh.gov. A compendium of Fish and Game laws may also be purchased at Department headquarters in Concord for $41.