New Hampshire: Rivers and Streams General Rules

New Hampshire: Rivers and Streams General Rules

General Fishing Rules for Rivers and Streams apply to most rivers and streams in the state. Follow the seasons, bag limits, length limits, and important notes listed with each species in the chart.

Rivers & Streams with Special Rules

This section has information on rivers and streams with Special Rules. These rivers and streams have rules that may differ from, or be in addition to, General Fishing Rules for Rivers and Streams.

Go to the Rivers & Streams With Special Rules section on River & Streams With Special Rules. If you find the waterbody you intend to fish, look immediately beside it for the rules on season dates, bag limits, length limits and methods of taking.

In instances where special limits, seasons, and methods of taking are not noted for a particular river or stream, the General Fishing Rules for Rivers & Streams apply.

Interstate Waters: See Interstate Waters.


General Fishing Rules for Rivers & Streams

SPECIESSeasonBag Limits & Minimum LengthsImportant Notes
Black Bass (Smallmouth Bass & Largemouth Bass)January 1 to March 312 fish daily limit; only 1 fish >16 inches.
April 1 to May 14 and June 16 to June 302 fish daily limit.
May 15 to June 15Catch and release only.Artificial lures and flies only.
July 1 to October 155 fish daily limit.
Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout and their hybridsJanuary 1 to October 155 fish or 5 pounds daily limit, whichever is reached first; no length limit.
Lake TroutJanuary 1 to September 302 fish daily limit for lake trout and salmon combined (2 lake trout, 2 salmon, or 1 of each); minimum length 18 inches.Combined daily limit applies only during salmon season, April 1 – Sept. 30.
Landlocked SalmonApril 1 to September 302 fish daily limit for lake trout and salmon combined (2 lake trout, 2 salmon, or 1 of each); minimum length 15 inches.Salmon may not be taken in any water body after September 30 and before April 1. Salmon may not be taken through the ice.
PickerelJanuary 1 to October 1510 fish daily limit; no length or weight limits.See illustration on Fish Identification.
Northern PikeJanuary 1 to October 151 fish daily limit; minimum length 28 inches.See illustration on Fish Identification.
WalleyeJanuary 1 to October 152 fish daily limit; minimum length 18 inches; no weight limit.Special regulations in the Connecticut River — see Intertate Waters.
White & Yellow Perch, Black Crappie, Sunfish, Horned PoutJanuary 1 to October 1525 fish each species daily limit; no more than 50 fish total combined; no length or weight limits.
Rock BassJanuary 1 to October 15No daily limit; no length or weight limits.
CarpJanuary 1 to October 15No daily limit; no length or weight limits.Carp may be taken in the Connecticut River, Merrimack River, and Mascoma Lake by bow and arrow with cord attached.
CuskJanuary 1 to October 15No daily limit; no length or weight limits.
River HerringClosed to all fishing.
American ShadJanuary 1 to October 15Catch and release only.
Shad(Whitefish)January 1 to October 152 fish daily limit; no length or weight limits.
SmeltFor smelt angling rules and waterbodies open to the taking of this species by dip net, see Freshwater Smelt.
SuckersJanuary 1 to October 15No daily limits; no length or weight limits.Suckers may be taken for personal use with two traps, not more than 50 inches long, 30 inches wide, with an opening no smaller than 3½ inches in diameter. All traps or holding boxes will have the name and address of the owner.
March 1 to May 31No daily limits; no length or weight limits.Suckers may be taken by hand dip nets not over 18 inches in diameter, drop nets not over 48 inches in diameter, spears or bow and arrow with cord attached. Suckers taken by spear or bow and arrow must not be left in, or adjacent to, the body of water.

In general, rivers and streams are CLOSED TO ALL FISHING from Oct. 16 through Dec. 31, unless specified for a particular river in the Rivers and Streams with Special Rules section.

Fishing through the ice, from the ice, or from any object supported by the ice is prohibited unless specified for a particular river in the Rivers and Streams with Special Rules section.

Comments are closed.