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New Hampshire

Freshwater Fishing

Rivers & Streams: General & Special Rules

General Fishing Rules

General Fishing Rules for Rivers and Streams apply to most rivers and streams in the state. Follow the seasons, bag limits, length limits, and important notes listed with each species in the chart.

Rivers & Streams with Special Rules

This section has information on rivers and streams with Special Rules. These rivers and streams have rules that may differ from, or be in addition to, General Fishing Rules for Rivers and Streams.

Turn to the Rivers & Streams With Special Rules section. If you find the waterbody you intend to fish, look immediately beside it for the rules on season dates, bag limits, length limits and methods of taking.

In instances where special limits, seasons, and methods of taking are not noted for a particular river or stream, the General Fishing Rules for Rivers and Streams apply.

Interstate Waters: See Interstate Waters.

General Fishing Rules for Rivers & Streams

Species

Season

Bag Limits & Minimum Lengths

Important Notes

Black Bass

(Smallmouth Bass & Largemouth Bass)

January 1 to March 31

2 fish daily limit; only 1 fish >16 inches.

April 1 to May 14

2 fish daily limit.

May 15 to June 15

Catch and release only.

Artificial lures and flies only.

June 16 to June 30

2 fish daily limit.

July 1 to October 15

5 fish daily limit.

Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout and their hybrids

January 1 to October 15

5 fish or 5 pounds daily limit, whichever is reached first; no length limit.

“Brook trout” include Brook, Brown, Rainbow, Golden, Loch Leven trout and all their hybrids.

Lake Trout

January 1 to September 30

2 fish daily limit for lake trout and salmon combined (2 lake trout, 2 salmon, or 1 of each); minimum length 18 inches.

Combined daily limit applies only during salmon season, April 1 – Sept. 30.

Landlocked Salmon

April 1 to September 30

2 fish daily limit for lake trout and salmon combined (2 lake trout, 2 salmon, or 1 of each); minimum length 15 inches.

Salmon may not be taken in any water body after September 30 and before April 1. Salmon may not be taken through the ice.

Chain Pickerel

January 1 to October 15

10 fish daily limit; no length or weight limits.

See illustration on Fish Identification.

Northern Pike

January 1 to October 15

1 fish daily limit; minimum length 28 inches.

See illustration on Fish Identification.

Walleye

January 1 to October 15

2 fish daily limit; minimum length 18 inches; no weight limit.

Special regulations in the Connecticut River — see Interstate Waters.

White & Yellow Perch, Black Crappie, Sunfish, Horned Pout

January 1 to October 15

25 fish each species daily limit; no more than 50 fish total combined; no length or weight limits.

Rock Bass

January 1 to October 15

No daily limit; no length or weight limits.

Carp

January 1 to October 15

No daily limit; no length or weight limits.

Carp may be taken in the Connecticut River, Merrimack River, and Mascoma Lake by bow and arrow with cord attached.

Cusk

January 1 to October 15

No daily limit; no length or weight limits.

River Herring

No open season.

American Shad

January 1 to October 15

Catch and release only.

Lake Whitefish

January 1 to October 15

2 fish daily limit; no length or weight limits.

Round Whitefish

No open season.

All Round Whitefish must be immediately released.

Smelt

For smelt angling rules and waterbodies open to the taking of this species by dip net, see Freshwater Smelt.

Suckers

January 1 to October 15

No daily limits; no length or weight limits.

Suckers may be taken for personal use with two traps, not more than 50 inches long, 30 inches wide, with an opening no smaller than 3½ inches in diameter. All traps or holding boxes will have the name and address of the owner.

March 1 to May 31

No daily limits; no length or weight limits.

Suckers may be taken by hand dip nets not over 18 inches in diameter, drop nets not over 48 inches in diameter, spears or bow and arrow with cord attached. Suckers taken by spear or bow and arrow must not be left in, or adjacent to, the body of water.

In general, rivers and streams are CLOSED TO ALL FISHING from Oct. 16 through Dec. 31, unless specified for a particular river in the Rivers and Streams with Special Rules section.

Fishing through the ice, from the ice, or from any object supported by the ice is prohibited unless specified for a particular river in the Rivers and Streams with Special Rules section.

The taking of brook trout, lake trout, trout hybrids and salmon between 2 hours after sunset and 1 hour before sunrise is prohibited, unless otherwise specified.