New Hampshire Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations

New Hampshire Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations

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 nero.noaa.gov/sfd/recfishing directly if you have questions regarding fishing in federal waters.


New Hampshire Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations

SPECIES Closed Season Minimum 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)
American Plaice* 14 inches
American Shad All shad must be immediately released
Atlantic Cod*  Oct. 1 – July 31  24 inches 1 fish
Atlantic Halibut 41 inches 1 fish per trip/vessel Head and tail intact while on or leaving waters of the state
Atlantic Sea Herring Federal regulations apply in federal waters
Atlantic Salmon (Sea-run ) All sea-run Atlantic salmon caught on coastal and estuarine waters must be immediately released
Atlantic Wolffish Possession is prohibited
Black Sea Bass 13 inches 10 fish per day Length does not include filament/tail extension
Bluefin Tuna Federally managed — follow federal regulations (call 1-888-USA-TUNA) or visit hmspermits.gov
Bluefish 10 fish per day
Dogfish, Spiny Finning prohibited
Haddock* Mar. 1-April 14 17 inches 15 fish per day Head and tail intact, unless fillet is 10 inches minimum
Monkfish 17 inches
Pollock* 19 inches, if taken in federal waters
Rainbow Smelt (Saltwater) 4 liquid quarts Head and tail must remain intact
Redfish* 9 inches
River Herring (Alewife/Blueback Herring) Closed sunrise Wednesday – sunrise Thursday See Squamscott River in Special River Restrictions. See Special River Restrictions and Coastal Harvest Section. Fishing prohibited around fishway closure areas Oyster and Taylor rivers closed
Salters (Sea-run Trout) see Definitions No closed season 1 fish per day
  • Recreational angling only
  • In Berry Brook: Single-hook artificial lures and flies only.
  • In Winnicut River: The salter daily limit applies only downstream of the B&M Railroad bridge.
Sharks — Blue, Porbeagle, Shortfin Mako and Thresher
  • Porbeagle — recreational fishing in state waters only
  • All sharks — head, fins and tail must remain attached through landing
Striped Bass 28 inches 1 fish per day Head and tail must remain intact while on or leaving state waters or shores (no fillets); Gaffing is prohibited; No sale allowed, regardless of origin
Sturgeon Closed year round Possession is prohibited
Summer Flounder* 15 inches Recreational angling only; No sale allowed
White Perch 25 fish per day Sale is prohibited
Winter Flounder* 12 inches 8 fish per day
Yellowtail Flounder* 13 inches
*All groundfish species that are filleted and skinned must retain at least 2 square inches of contiguous skin intact for identification purposes.

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