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License Information

Fishing Regulations New Jersey Freshwater Fishing

2017 License Fees and Information*Licenses and fishing-related permits are valid from date of purchase to Dec. 31 of each year.

Licenses

Resident Fishing
Ages 16–64 yrs.$22.50

(Buddy License* $11.75)

Senior Resident Fishing
Ages 65–69 yrs.$12.50
70 & overFree

Resident Trout Stamp
Ages 16–69 yrs.$10.50

Non-resident Fishing
Age 16 yrs. and older$34

(Buddy License* $17.50)

Non-resident Trout Stamp$20

Non-resident 2-Day Vacation Fishing$9

Non-resident 7-Day Vacation Fishing$19.50

All-Around Sportsman (includes resident fishing, firearm hunting and bow/arrow hunting licenses)$72.25

(Buddy License* $62.50)

Permits

Available online or through license agents:
Boat Ramp Permit$15

Available through the Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries (908) 236-2118:

Water Lowering, Fish Stocking,
Baitfish Collecting, Fish Tagging$2

Scientific Collecting$22

Available through the Trenton Office (609) 984-0530:

Commercial Snapping Turtles and Frog Permits

Regulations in red are new this year.

Licenses

  • A valid New Jersey fishing license is required for residents at least 16 years and less than 70 years of age (plus all non-residents 16 years and older) to fish the fresh waters of New Jersey, including privately owned waters.
  • Resident anglers age 70 and over do not require a fishing license. A driver’s license or other acceptable proof of age containing date of birth and physical description will serve as the actual fishing license. Non-residents 70 and over must purchase a license.
  • License must be visibly displayed on outer clothing.
  • License and trout stamp are both valid from date of purchase through Dec. 31.
  • A person must reside in New Jersey for at least six months to obtain a resident fishing license.
  • Farmers and immediate family members who live on the farm do not need a license to fish on their own farm, but must obey all fishing regulations.
  • Anyone convicted of a second fish or wildlife violation in this or another state within a period of five years will have his or her New Jersey sporting licenses revoked for a minimum of two years.

Trout Stamps

A valid fishing license and trout stamp are both required to fish for or possess trout and salmon for all anglers (residents and non-residents) 16 and over, and residents under the age of 70. No trout stamp is required for residents age 70 years and over.

Purchasing a License

Licenses may be purchased by phone at (888) 773-8450, online at www.NJ.WildlifeLicense.com or at license agents such as sporting goods stores plus bait and tackle shops. Visit our website at NJFishandWildlife.com for details, or call (609) 292-2965. The Trenton Fish and Wildlife office is no longer open to the public for license or permit sales.

Replacement —
Lost License or Stamp

A license, permit or stamp can be replaced at any license agent or online at Fish and Wildlife’s Internet license sales site, www.NJ.WildlifeLicense.com also linked through our regular website at NJFishandWildlife.com or by phone at (888) 773-8450.

Special Licenses

Servicemen and Servicewomen

A person who is on active duty in the armed services of the United States is entitled to fish with a resident fishing license.

New Jersey National Guard Members

Only New Jersey National Guard personnel in good standing are entitled tofree sporting licenses, permits and stamps. Theseprivileges are not available using Fish and Wildlife’swebsite. However, the NJ Dept. of Military andVeterans Affairs can issue fishing licenses throughtheir DMAVA website at www.nj.gov/military/iasd/fishing.html. For all other free sportinglicenses, call (609) 530-6866, e-mail or writeto: MSG (Ret.) Robert Greco, NJ DMAVA, 101Eggert Crossing Rd., Lawrenceville, NJ 08648.

Disabled Veterans Licenses, Stamps and Permits

Free hunting and fishing licenses, stamps and permits are available for resident disabled veterans.

For the purposes of this program, legislation defines disabled veterans as “…any resident of New Jersey who has been honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active service from any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States and who has been declared by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, or its successor, to have a service-connected disability of any degree…”

New applicant disabled veterans may obtain their hunting and fishing licenses and stamps at the following Fish and Wildlife field offices:

  • Pequest Trout Hatchery/Natural Resource Ed. Ctr, Oxford, Warren Co., (908) 637-4125
  • Central Region Office, Upper Freehold Twp., Monmouth Co., (609) 259-2132
  • Southern Region Office, Sicklerville, Camden Co., (856) 629-0090

Applications for disabled veteran certification and your first disabled veteran license may be made via the mail by sending the application and all required documentation to NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife, Attn: Disabled Veteran Licensing,.MC 501-03, PO Box 420 Trenton, NJ 08625-0420.

All licenses, stamps and permits for which the veteran is eligible will be free of charge. This does not give preferential treatment in any lottery. For questions call (609) 984-6213.

Disabled Veteran Applicants:

  1. Documentation of current benefits for a service-connected disability and proof of honorable discharge (such as a copy of your DD-214, VA card or monthly check stub) must be presented to obtain a free disabled veteran license.
  2. Applicant must provide a hunter education (archery, shotgun or rifle) course certificate applicable to the license for which he or she is applying or a previously issued resident archery or firearm license or rifle permit. Resident licenses from other states issued to hunters prior to establishing residency in New Jersey will be accepted if the license indicates the sporting arm for which it was valid. Non-resident licenses from other states are not acceptable.
  3. To obtain the free disabled veteran deer/turkey permits one must first have a free disabled veteran hunting license.

For the Blind

Residents afflicted with total blindness may obtain a free license from Fish and Wildlife’s Trenton office. Call (609) 292-9530 for an application.

Summary of General Fishing Regulations

The season, size and creel limits for freshwater species apply to all waters of the state, including tidal waters.

  • Fish may be taken only in the manner known as angling with handline or with rod and line, or as otherwise allowed by law.
  • When fishing from the shoreline, no more than three fishing rods, handlines or combination thereof may be used (except on the Delaware River. There is no rod limit when fishing from a boat except for the Delaware River.) For the Delaware River the three rod limit applies both to boat and shoreline anglers .
  • Only one daily creel of any fish species may be in possession. Additional fish may be caught once the creel is reached if immediately returned to the water unharmed.
  • Separate stringers or buckets must be used for each angler’s catch.
  • Boats may contain only the combined daily creel limit for each legal angler on board.
  • A fishing license does not authorize trespass on private property. Permission first must be obtained from the landowner.

It Is Unlawful To:

  • Fish within 100 feet (or as posted) of any fish ladder entrance or exit from March 1 through June 30.
  • Spear fish in fresh waters. See exception for Delaware River.
  • Possess a fishing device with more than nine hooks in total, or more than three treble hooks, except for the Delaware River.
  • Use set lines.
  • Use cast nets in freshwater lakes or trout stocked waters. See Baitfish Regulations for other exclusions.
  • Foul hook or snag any species of fish. This does not apply to fish taken through the ice.

Bow and Arrow Fishing

Carp (including bighead, common and grass), eels, flathead catfish, American shad (Delaware River only), gizzard shad, snakeheads and suckers or hybrids of these species—may be taken at any time by use of a bow and arrow (with a line attached to the arrow) when in possession of a valid fishing license. Crossbows may be used when bowfishing except for Greenwood Lake. Crossbows must have a stock length of at least 25 inches, a minimum draw pull weight of 75 pounds and a working safety. Crossbows must be uncocked during transport or when not actively fishing. They may not be permanently mounted. Anglers should be aware that some municipalities have banned the discharge of bow and arrow, tethered arrow or not. As such, anglers are strongly urged to check with the waterbody owner and/or individual municipality prior to engaging in bowfishing. See regulations for the Delaware River and Greenwood Lake.

Emergency Closures

It is illegal to fish or attempt to catch or kill fish by any manner or means in any waters for which the Director of the Division of Fish and Wildlife, upon approval by the Fish and Game Council, issues an emergency closure notice. Such notification is effective and/or rescinded immediately upon public notification. Emergency closures shall be based upon imminent threat to the well-being of the fishery resources, and/or its users, and may include any exceptions to the total ban of fishing that the Director deems practical.

Ice Fishing

No more than five devices may be used for taking fish when ice is present. The devices that may be used are:

  1. Ice supported tip-ups or lines with one single pointed hook attached, or one burr of three hooks that measure not more than ½-inch from point to shaft;
  2. An artificial jigging lure with not more than one burr of three hooks that measure not more than ½-inch from point to point;
  3. An artificial jigging lure with not more than three single hooks measuring not more than ½-inch from point to shaft;
  4. An artificial jigging lure with a combination of the hook limitations described in 2 and 3 above.

Natural bait may be used on the hooks of the artificial jigging lures. All devices that are not hand-held must bear the name and address of the user and cannot be left unattended.

See separate regulations for trout-stocked waters and Greenwood Lake.

Potentially Dangerous Fish

The possession or release of live, potentially dangerous fish is prohibited. These species include Asian swamp eel, bighead, grass (diploid) and silver carp, brook stickleback, green sunfish, flathead catfish, oriental weatherfish, snakehead and warmouth. Anglers MUST destroy these species if encountered while fishing and are directed to submit specimen(s) or photos to a Fish and Wildlife Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries biologist for verification. To reach a biologist, call (908) 236-2118 for north Jersey or (609) 259-6964 for south Jersey. These non-native species are likely to cause environmental harm to the state’s fisheries resources by outcompeting preferred game fish species. Common carp are an invasive species but are NOT classified as a potentially dangerous fish and do not have to be destroyed.

Sale of Fish

It is illegal to sell any freshwater fish species except under commercial permits as prescribed in the Fish and Game Code. Artificially-propagated trout, if properly tagged, may be sold for food purposes.

Stocking Fish

A permit is required to stock fish or fish eggs into any waters of the state, public or private, at any time. An application may be obtained by contacting the Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries (north/central) 908-236-2118; (south) 609-259-6964. It is ILLEGAL to stock carp or koi into any such waters. No trout may be stocked within the PEQUEST RIVER DRAINAGE except by the Pequest Trout Hatchery. See Highlights of Regulation Changes and the article on Fish Stocking Permits.

Tagging Fish

No person may tag or mark and then release a fish without first obtaining a fish stocking permit or by special permit issued by Fish and Wildlife. Contact the Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries (north/central) 908-236-2118; (south) 609-259-6964 for application information.

Waste of Fish

Fish of any species which are purposely killed become part of the angler’s daily limit and must be removed from the waters from which they were taken, then either used or otherwise disposed of properly.