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New Jersey

Freshwater Fishing

New Anglers Checklist

Welcome to Fishing! To Get Started…

A fishing license is required for residents ages 16 through 69 years and for non-residents 16 years and older. Fishing for trout also requires a Trout Stamp. Purchase your license and stamp online at www.NJ.WildlifeLicense.com or at tackle shops and sporting goods stores statewide. If you never purchased a fishing license, or have not since 2010, you are eligible to save almost 50% of the fee when you and another qualified individual purchase a “Buddy License” at the same time. Both anglers receive the discount! See Summary of Fishing Regulations for details.

New Anglers’ Fishing Gear Checklist

Gather this essential gear, then consider adding the recommended accessories to complete your new angler package. Everything can be found at a local tackle shop or sporting goods store.

Essential Gear

  • NJ Fishing License
  • Rod and Reel – A 6 to 7 foot-long spinning rod and reel with 8 lb. test line (monofilament).
  • Hooks, Bobbers and Split Shot – Size 6 bait holder hooks (1 pkg.), 3 or 4 bobbers and a package of split shots.
  • Bait – Nightcrawlers or earthworms (great choice, readily available, catch nearly everything) or try live minnows or shiners.
  • Lures – Artificial lures can replace bait and be just as effective. Try size 1 or 2 silver spinners.
  • Needle-nose Pliers with Line Cutter – To remove hooks from the fish and to cut line when needed.
  • NJ Fish & Wildlife Digest – Contains images for commonly caught fish plus fishing regulations.

Recommended Accessories

  • Polarized Sunglasses – Protect your eyes and reduce glare off the water.
  • Hat and Sunscreen
  • Net – Don’t let the big one get away. Use a net to help land your catch and to protect fish that will be released.
  • Tape Measure – To determine if your fish is large enough to keep.
  • Camera – Take photos of your catch to share with family and friends.