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New Hampshire

Saltwater Fishing

Saltwater Fishing

Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

The Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (GBNERR) was designated in 1989 and is part of a network of 29 Reserves across the nation. The Great Bay Reserve is managed by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The program sets aside important estuarine areas for long-term research, education and stewardship.

National Estuarine Research Reserve Logo

The Great Bay Reserve includes all of Great Bay, Little Bay and the tidal portions of the Bellamy, Oyster, Lamprey, Squamscott and Winnicut Rivers. In addition, there are 2,935 acres of upland that comprise the boundary of the Reserve. All Reserve lands are open to the public for hunting and fishing. Go to to view maps highlighting all conservation lands in the Great Bay area.

The efforts of the Reserve are focused at the Great Bay Discovery Center and the Hugh Gregg Coastal Conservation Center in Greenland off Route 33. The 50-acre site includes a 1,300-foot boardwalk, a high tide and cartop only boat access, and indoor and outdoor exhibits featuring the cultural and natural history of the Great Bay Estuary, as well as antique coastal hunting and fishing artifacts. The interpretive centers are open May to October and are free of charge.

Year round, the Reserve holds a number of special programs, including interpretive kayak tours and programs for children. The Reserve provides technical training for coastal decision makers through its Coastal Training Program and conducts coastal research and monitoring. The facilities feature a number of innovative technologies for managing stormwater and reducing energy consumption, including a porous pavement parking lot, composting toilets, solar roofing and a geothermal heating and cooling system.

The Reserve is also supported by a local friends group, the Great Bay Stewards. Learn more at For more information about all the Reserve's programs, visit

Great Bay National
Estuarine Research Reserve
N.H. Fish and Game Department
225 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824
(603) 868-1095

Great Bay Discovery Center/
Hugh Gregg Coastal Conservation Center
89 Depot Road, Greenland, NH 03885
(603) 778-0015

Picture of the Great Bay Discovery Center.

Volunteer for Great Bay!

Share your passion for the Great Bay and join the volunteer family at the Great Bay Discovery Center. Volunteers are needed to help implement the school and summer programs, staff the exhibit rooms, work on special events, help with research projects, and keep the grounds and gardens looking great.

Call the Great Bay Discovery Center at (603) 778-0015 or visit for more information.

2024 Free Fishing Days

Saturday, January 20 and Saturday, June 1

  • Recreational fishing by angling only
  • All other regulations apply
  • Saltwater or freshwater

* Participants in fishing tournaments must have a license, even on free fishing days.