Recreational Fishing—Bait Species, Blue Crab & Lobster

Fishing Regulations Icon Connecticut Fishing



For personal use/not for sale: Recreational
License required in marine district.

Net and traps which may be used to catch bait species only (see species list below)

  • Cast Nets.
  • Minnow Traps: no larger than 20″ long by 15″ in diameter.
  • Umbrella Nets: not more than 4 ft. in length by 4 ft. in width.
  • Scoop or Scap Nets: no larger than 36″ in diameter.
  • Seines: no longer than 30 feet in length.
  • Up to two eel pots.
  • Hook & Line.
  • By hand.

Species that may be taken using the gears listed above

  • Menhaden (see possession limit on Marine Recreational Fishing Regulations: Also see Gillnetting Menhaden)
  • Striped Killifish and Banded Killifish
  • Atlantic Silverside
  • Tidewater Silverside
  • Mummichogs
  • Sea Herring (Atlantic Herring)
  • Sand Lances (Sand Eels)
  • American Eel (see possession limit on Marine Recreational Fishing Regulations)
  • Sea Lamprey
  • Bay Anchovy
  • Mullet Species
  • Sheepshead Minnow
  • Shrimp Species
  • Green, Fiddler, Asian Shore and Hermit Crabs


Personal Use Gillnet License Required ($100.00)

Legal Menhaden Capture Methods

Use of a single gillnet, not more than 60 feet in length and 3 inch minimum mesh size.


The taking of any species other than menhaden.


  • Annual Report of Catch
  • See Personal Use Gillnet License Guidelines for a complete list of requirements.



For personal use/not for sale: Town Shellfishing License required.

Species Include

  • Mussels
  • Oysters
  • Clams
  • Scallops

Contact the town where you plan to harvest shellfish for permit information, or the Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Aquaculture at 203-874-0696. email: ctdeptag@ct.gov.


Personal Use Lobster License Required ($60.00)

Legal Lobster Capture Methods:

  • Ten pots or less (pot tags required)
  • Skin Diving
  • SCUBA Diving
  • Hand Capturing


  • Annual Report of Catch
  • See Guidelines for Personal Use Lobster Fishing for a list of requirements.


  • Call 860-434-6043, ask for the Guidelines for Personal Use Lobster Fishing in Connecticut.
  • Lobster Gauges can be purchased ($4) at the Marine Fisheries office in Old Lyme or from DEEP Licensing at:
    79 Elm Street, 1st Floor,
    Hartford, CT 06106-5127
  • Or go to www.ct.gov/deep/fishing and search for Personal Use License.
  • Or go to www.ct.gov/deep/MarineFishInfoCirc


For personal use/not for sale: No license required.

Blue crab fact sheet: www.ct.gov/deep/lib/deep/fishing/saltwater/blue_crab_fact_sheet.pdf.

Legal Blue Crab Capture Methods:

  • Scoop Net, Hand Line, Dip Net, Trot Line
  • Star Crab Trap (or similar device)
  • Circular Topless Trap (not exceeding 26″ in diameter)
  • Semi-Circular Cylindrical Trap (12″ or less in diameter)

Open Season

May 1–November 30.

Minimum Shell Width: (Spike Tip to Spike Tip)

  • 5″ hard shell crabs
  • 3½” soft shell crabs


  • Possession of uncooked blue crab meat without the body shell attached.
  • Possession of more than 2 claws per body.
  • Possession of egg bearing females.
  • Chesapeake-style crabs traps.


All devices must be attended at all times.

Jonah Crab

For personal use/not for sale: No license required. 50 crabs per day.


For personal use/not for sale: No license required if taken using a squid jig.

Shark species you may encounter in coastal waters of Connecticut

Protected and prohibited species must be released unharmed. For more information, go to https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/resource/outreach-and-education/shark-identification-placard



Reduce Catch and Release mortality
— please use circle hooks.


For additional information, refer to the Marine Fisheries Information Circular by visiting the www.ct.gov/deep/fishing or call the Marine Fisheries Division at: 860-434-6043.