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New Jersey

Freshwater Fishing

Freshwater Fishing

License Information

Regulations in red are new this year.


  • 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. See below for the money-saving Buddy Fishing License.
  • For fishing-related license and permit fees, see Licenses, Permits & Fees. See below for Purchasing a License.
  • Resident anglers age 70 and over do not require a fishing license. A driver 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 have an established domicile (principle residence) in New Jersey for at least the previous 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.
  • New Jersey is a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. Under the Compact, information about suspension of sporting license privileges for people convicted of wildlife violations in New Jersey will be shared with participating member states. It is an individual's responsibility to first contact the licensing authority in the state where they intend to fish, hunt or otherwise take wildlife to determine their eligibility before making a purchase or engaging in those activities. Individuals with wildlife violation convictions or license suspensions received outside of New Jersey may call the Compact Administrator at 609-259-3347 to determine his or her license eligibility in New Jersey.
Information about the Fishing Buddy License

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 online at or at license agents such as sporting goods or bait and tackle stores. Call first to confirm agent’s system is active. Visit for details, or call 609-292-2965.

Replacement — Lost License or Stamp

Replace a license, permit or stamp at any license agent or online at NJDEP Fish & Wildlife’s internet license sales site, also linked through our regular website at For fishing licenses or trout stamps originally purchased online, a reprint can be made free of charge on plain paper. Durable stock duplicates can be ordered online for $2 per item.

Special Licenses

Servicemen and Servicewomen

A person on active duty in the United States armed services, regardless of their current residency, may buy a New Jersey resident fishing license. Active duty military ID must be shown to the license agent as proof of entitlement.

New Jersey National Guard

Only New Jersey National Guard personnel in good standing are entitled to free sporting licenses, permits and stamps. These privileges are not available using NJDEP Fish & Wildlife’s website. However, the NJ Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs can issue fishing licenses through their DMAVA website at For all other free sporting licenses, call 609-530-6866, email [email protected], or write to: NJ Dept of Military and Veterans Affairs, Attn: MSG (Ret.) Robert Greco (RSB-RALV), PO Box 340, Trenton, NJ 08625-0340.

Veterans Licenses, Stamps and Permits

Free hunting and fishing licenses, stamps and permits are available for resident veterans with a service-connected disability.

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…”

Newly applying disabled veterans can obtain their hunting and fishing licenses and stamps by mailing the application and all required documentation to: NJDEP Fish & Wildlife, Attn: Disabled Veteran Licensing, MC 501-03, PO Box 420 Trenton, NJ 08625-0420.

NJDEP Fish & Wildlife offices no longer accept Disabled Veteran Certifications in person. For information and updates, go to

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 609-292-2965.

Disabled Veteran Applicants:

  1. Documentation of current benefits for a service-connected disability and proof of honorable discharge (copy of your DD-214, VA card or monthly check stub) must be presented to obtain a disabled veteran certification.
  2. Applicant must provide a hunter education course certificate applicable to the license for which they are applying or a previously issued resident archery or firearm license or rifle permit. Resident licenses from other states are 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 with total blindness may obtain a free license. Call 609-292-2965 for an application.

Regulation Changes

In order to comply with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) and to maintain consistency with NJ's Marine Fishing Regulations, the following regulation changes went into effect during 2023.

American Shad Recreation Possession Limit

The daily bag limit for American Shad has been reduced from 3 to 2 for the Delaware River. The American Shad fishery remains closed in all other freshwaters.

Modification of Striped Bass Size Limits

The statewide daily creel and possession limit for Striped Bass is one fish, a minimum length of 28 inches and a maximum length of 31 inches. This daily limit and slot limit also applies to Hybrid Striped Bass on the Raritan River downstream of the Duke Island Park dam. The Striped Bass and Hybrid Striped Bass regulations on the Delaware River remain a one fish daily limit, however there is now a minimum length of 28 inches and a maximum length of 31 inches. An administrative change was also made for Striped Bass and Hybrid Striped Bass regulations on the Delaware River downstream of the Calhoun St. Bridge, extending the open season from March 30 to March 31.

Information about Free Fishing Days in New Jersey