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New Hampshire

Saltwater Fishing

Recreational Saltwater Fishing — Finfish

Recreational saltwater fishing in New Hampshire provides diverse opportunities. Saltwater anglers can cast a line from boats, bridges, jetties or the beach. Many saltwater fish species are available along the coast and in our rivers and bays. Recreational saltwater fishing in N.H. requires a recreational saltwater license. See Recreational Licenses for details.

Below are species that have rules or laws that apply to recreational anglers or spearfishers while fishing in state waters.

Additional regulations apply in federal waters for most of the below-listed species — contact NOAA Fisheries at (978) 281-9315 or https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/new-england-mid-atlantic/recreational-fishing/recreational-fishing-regulations-species directly if you have questions regarding fishing in federal waters.

New Hampshire Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations

Species

Closed Season

Minimum Length (Total Length)

Daily Bag Limit

Special Rules

American Eel

No closed season (except surrounding fishways)

9 inches

25 fish per day

Fishway closures apply October 2 – June 14
(see Coastal Harvest Section)

American Plaice*

No closed season

14 inches

No bag limit

American Shad

No closed season

No minimum length

No bag limit

All shad must be immediately released

Atlantic Cod*

Split closed seasons:

Private Boats: April 15 - Sept. 14 and Oct. 1 - March 31.

Charter/Party vessels: April 15 - Sept. 7 Oct. 8 - March 31.

21 inches

1 fish per day

Atlantic Halibut

No closed season

41 inches

1 fish per trip/vessel

Head and tail intact while on or leaving waters of the state

Atlantic Sea Herring

No closed season

No minimum length

No bag limit

Federal regulations apply in federal waters

Atlantic Salmon
(Sea-run )

No closed season

No minimum length

No bag limit

All sea-run Atlantic salmon caught on coastal and estuarine waters must be immediately released

Atlantic Wolffish

No closed season

No minimum length

Possession is prohibited


Black Sea Bass

No closed season

13 inches

10 fish per day

Length does not include filament/tail extension

Bluefin Tuna

No closed season

27 inches CFL**

Variable; see website

Federally managed — follow federal regulations (call 1-888-USA-TUNA) or visit hmspermits.noaa.gov

Bluefish

No closed season

No minimum length

Recreational - 3 fish per day

For-Hire – 5 fish per day

Non-offset, corrodible circle hooks required if angling with bait.

Dogfish, Spiny

No closed season

No minimum length

No bag limit

Finning prohibited

Haddock*

March 1 – March 31

17 inches

15 fish per day

Head and tail intact, unless fillet is 10 inches minimum

Monkfish

No closed season

17 inches

No bag limit


Pollock*

No closed season

No minimum length

No bag limit

19 inches, if taken in federal waters

Ocean Pout

No closed season

No minimum length

Possession is prohibited


Rainbow Smelt (Saltwater)

No closed season

No minimum length

4 liquid quarts

Head and tail must remain intact

Redfish*

No closed season

9 inches

No bag limit


River Herring
(Alewife/
Blueback Herring)

Closed to all harvest in NH waters

No minimum length

No bag limit


Salters (Sea-run Trout)
see Definitions

No closed season

No minimum length

1 fish per day

  • Recreational angling only
  • In Berry Brook****: Single-hook artificial lures and flies only. Immediate release required.
  • In Winnicut River: The salter daily limit applies only downstream of the B&M Railroad bridge

Sharks —
Blue, Porbeagle, Shortfin Mako and Thresher

No closed season

Shortfin mako:
71 inches FL*** - males
83 inches FL*** - females

No bag limit

  • Porbeagle — recreational fishing in state waters only
  • All sharks — head, fins and tail must remain attached through landing
  • Non-offset, corrodible circle hooks required if angling with bait.
  • Additional federal regulations apply in federal waters (call 1-978-281-9315).

Striped Bass

No closed season

28 inches to less than 35 inches

1 fish per day

  • Gaffing and culling are prohibited; No sale allowed, regardless of origin.
  • Non-offset, corrodible circle hooks required if angling with bait.
  • Head and tail must be intact while on or leaving the waters or shores of the state except may possess up to 2 fillets with skin intact if also possess fish rack > 28” and less than 35” TL with head/tail intact that fillets came from.

Sturgeon

Closed year round

No minimum length

Possession is prohibited


Summer Flounder*

No closed season

15 inches

No bag limit

Recreational angling only; No sale allowed

White Perch

No closed season

No minimum length

25 fish per day

Sale is prohibited

Windowpane Flounder

No closed season

No minimum length

Possession is prohibited


Winter Flounder*

No closed season

12 inches

8 fish per day


Yellowtail Flounder*

No closed season

13 inches

No bag limit