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Baitfish Regulations

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See separate regulations for Delaware River. For marine waters, see the New Jersey Marine Digest.

Baitfish Regulations

Baitfish Species

Baitfish species: golden shiner, banded killifish, mummichog, spotfin killifish, rainwater killifish, American brook lamprey, fathead minnow, bluntnose minnow, tadpole madtom, margined madtom, all shiners, daces, minnows, chubs and the American eel.



Minimum Size

Daily Limit

Open year round

Exception: In trout stocked waters baitfish may be taken only with hook and line: from April 4 to June 15, or in waters open to fishing during the pre-season closure, from March 16 to June 15.


No minimum size

American eel:
6 inches

35 per day,
species combined

Alewife and Blueback

All freshwater streams,
rivers and marine waters


Possession, take or attempt to take herring PROHIBITED

Freshwater lakes in Morris, Passaic, Sussex, and Warren Counties; and Spruce Run Reservoir (Hunterdon)

6 inches maximum

Any unused herring must be returned to the water upon conclusion of the angler’s fishing trip. Herring may not be transported away from the shoreline of these lakes by any mechanism. They may not be sold.

All other freshwater lakes (regardless of ownership)


Only purchased herring, no greater than 6 inches, may be possessed. Receipt of purchase, dated within 7 days, must be in possession.

Notes: Any person with a valid fishing license (or those under 16 and residents 70 years or older) may take baitfish in fresh waters. Possession limit is one day’s limit, regardless of the intent to use these fish. Baitfish may be taken from the fresh waters of the state in numbers greater than 35 per day, in lakes over 250 acres, under a special permit issued by Fish and Wildlife at its discretion. Contact (908) 236-2118 for application information.


Gear Description


Not over 50 feet long in ponds and lakes over 100 acres; in all other waters not over
30 feet in length.

Exception: In trout-stocked waters and special regulation trout areas a seine may not be more than 10 feet in length and 4 feet in depth.

Minnow Trap

Not larger than 24 inches in length with a funnel mouth no greater than 2 inches in diameter.

Umbrella Net

No greater than 3.5 feet square.

Dip Net

Not more than 24 inches in diameter; may be used only for alewife or blueback herring.

Cast Net

No greater than 8 feet in diameter; may be used only in streams that are not trout-stocked or special regulation trout areas (may not be used in lakes).

and Line

Maximum of nine single hooks or three hooks with three burrs per contrivance on all waters except the Delaware River where only three single hooks are permitted.

Turtle and Frog Regulations




Minimum Size

Daily Limit

Snapping Turtle

January 1–April 30
June 16–December 31


No minimum

3 per day

Bull Frog and
Green Frog

January 1–March 31
July 1–December 31


No minimum

15 per day,

Means of Take

Snapping turtles may only be taken in fresh waters of the state. See Fishing License Lines for established fishing license lines that designate between fresh and marine waters. Any person with a valid fishing license or those entitled to fish without a license may take snapping turtles, bull frogs, and green frogs by means of spears, hooks, dip nets (not more than 24 inches in diameter), traps or by hand. Snapping turtles may not be taken with a gun or bow and arrow. Snapping turtles, bull frogs, and green frogs may be taken in numbers greater than the daily limit under a commercial harvest permit issued by Fish and Wildlife at its discretion. Contact (609) 984-0530 for application information.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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