Welcome to 2023-24 New Jersey Saltwater Fishing
FREE Freshwater Fishing Days
June 3 and Oct. 21, 2023
On these two days, residents may fish New Jersey’s public fresh waters without a license or trout stamp. All other regulations, including size and daily catch limits, remain in effect.
New Jersey’s marine waters and coastal estuaries are teeming with life and attract eager anglers from around the world. Each year, as millions of visitors flock to our coast, some are naturally drawn to these waters to pursue outdoor recreation in the form of fishing, crabbing and clamming. Experienced anglers, parents fishing with children, and newcomers to the sport all find their way to the water with the same goal — to have fun and enjoy the outdoors. Two primary things make all this possible — access and stable fisheries.
Decades of land preservation across the New Jersey Atlantic Coast and Delaware Bayshore, now offers the shore-based and back bay angler almost limitless opportunities to fish, clam, and crab. While many anglers venture offshore in their boats, New Jersey’s enthusiastic shore-based and small-boat anglers find a world of fun and adventure in the coastal bays and back bay areas. Much of the public is not aware that many of the bay back islands and much of Delaware Bayshore bay front properties are managed by NJDEP Fish & Wildlife. These properties offer free open access and were purchased to protect habitat and provide public hunting and fishing opportunities. Similarly, many rock jetties along the coast are also open to the public and offer excellent fishing access along inlets of the state. Public boat ramps also speckle the coast, providing boat launch opportunities.
If you are in the Point Pleasant area, please visit our recently renovated boat ramp at the Point Pleasant Fishing Access Wildlife Management Area. It’s now bigger and better, but still free to the public. If you're still looking for access to fishing, boat launching, or even a marina and a seasonal boat slip, use NJDEP Fish & Wildlife’s new Saltwater Fishing Opportunities app as your guide to find what you need along the coast: NJFishandWildlife.com/primesaltwaterfishing. This app also provides information on offshore and nearshore fishing locations and details on NJ’s 17 artificial reefs.
Properly managing the state’s fish and wildlife populations is at the foundation of what we do at NJDEP Fish & Wildlife. This work is complex, especially in a marine setting, and depends on the cooperation of Federal and State agencies, regional and state councils/commissions, and input from the public. The staff within our Marine Resources Administration contribute to this process by serving on numerous boards, committees, and commissions and by bringing valuable data to these discussions. Fishery management plans help guide this work and help influence the regulations of many of our most targeted species. Details of this complex management process, including key laws leading to significant recovery in many fish populations, are described in the “Fisheries Management 101” article.
Enforcement is another critical component of fisheries management. NJDEP Fish & Wildlife Conservation Police Officers patrol the state and federal waters along the coast, playing a key role in resource protection through the enforcement of marine regulations. Recognizing the importance of this work comes from an understanding that enforcing our regulations today results in a more sustainable fishery for tomorrow.
When done right, fisheries management and public access come together as a wonderful combination of wildlife and wildlife-related recreation. New Jersey does it right! Opportunities await. Now get outside and go catch something!