Fishing in New Hampshire

How Much Is a Fishing License in New Hampshire? (Regulations and More)

New Hampshire might not be a popular fishing destination among anglers, but in my opinion, this beautiful place should be on your bucket list. After all, it’s home to over 900 lakes and miles of coastlines, streams, and estuarine. Its unique combination of saltwater and freshwater bodies makes it a perfect destination.

You haven’t fished until you have cast your line at Hilton Point. As a child, I was lucky enough to visit Hilton’s Point with my uncle and couldn’t believe the history I learned there. It is one of the first settlements established by English fishmongers about 400 years ago. Besides fishing, I learned much about the region and its history from my uncle.

Fishing for Brown Trout in New Hampshire
Fishing for Brown Trout in New Hampshire

Before adding the Hilton’s Point to your bucket list, you should first find out the rules and regulations of fishing in this state. After all, it does have some of the best fishing spots in the New England region. New Hampshire has over 90 fishing spots you should try the Next time you’re in the area. For more details on fishing licenses in New Hampshire and please read on.

  • Resident freshwater fishing license: $45.00
  • Non-Resident freshwater fishing license: $63.00
  • Senior resident freshwater fishing license: $7.00
  • Recreational saltwater fishing: $11.00
  • Resident hunting and freshwater fishing license: $56.00

To learn more, here is a link to New Hampshire’s website.

Guide Pro Tip: Download the state regulations and save it on your phone. Get the fishing regulations PDF here 👉 New Hampshire Fishing Regulations

Does New Hampshire Have Free Fishing?

Unlike some states, New Hampshire has two free fishing dates yearly. Therefore, you can test the New Hampshire waters before buying your fishing license. Plus, several water sports take place on free fishing days that you can enjoy with your family. The free fishing days in New Hampshire are the first Saturday of January and June every year. Individuals participating in the water tournaments must have a license even on these two Saturdays. (source)

Anyone in the state can fish in all the public waters without fishing, but you have to follow all the fishing regulations. You must maintain the bag limits on free fishing days and use the proper fishing technique. Remember, some fishing techniques and baits are considered dangerous to the different fish species in Washington.

Where to Fly Fish in New Hampshire
Where to Fly Fish in New Hampshire

Can Non-residents Fish for Free on Free Fishing Days?

Yes, everyone in New Hampshire on these Saturdays can fish for free. But you have to follow the state’s fishing rules and regulations. Therefore, it might be the right time to rent fishing gear and learn a new sport that can keep your weekends fun.

Types of Fishing License in New Hampshire

New Hampshire has a wide range of hunting and fishing licenses for resident and non-resident anglers. The state’s fishing and hunting department has several unique fishing licenses designed for different age groups. These fishing licenses vary in duration, price, and age group, so you can apply for a short-term license if you plan to fish for a few days.

Like most states, New Hampshire does have fishing licenses for the elderly and youth. They do have separate licenses for freshwater and saltwater anglers. Therefore if you are a saltwater angler, you should save some cash and invest in one instead of the combo license. Some of the most common fishing licenses in New Hampshire are:

Senior Resident’s Fishing License

Generally, anyone over 68 years old is considered a senior and can apply for a senior resident license. The state has a low-cost license to bring outdoor activities to life at a discounted price. But you need a valid state-issued photo ID or a valid New Hampshire driver’s license. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a senior’s option for non-residents. (source) senior non-residents can purchase the annual non-resident fishing license option for adults.

Fortunately, anyone at least 68 qualifies for a senior’s rate. The senior rate can help lower the price of the license.

Discount fishing license for seniors
Discount fishing license for seniors

New Hampshire Lifetime Hunting and Fishing Licenses

Besides the annual fishing license, the Fish and Game Department has a lifetime package for the residents. Unfortunately, you can only apply for a lifetime license at the Concord headquarter by mail or office. (source) The lifetime package is for people who plan fishing and hunting in New Hampshire for the rest of their lives.

Just like with insurance premiums, the lifetime coverage tends to be higher for younger anglers. So you may pay less if you apply for a lifetime license in your 50s or after retiring. Unfortunately, the fee for a lifetime license isn’t refundable.  

Freshwater Fishing License

The fishing and hunting department of New Hampshire has different freshwater fishing licenses for everyone. They have an annual fishing option for adults, juniors, and senior anglers. These licenses have diverse requirements and vary accordingly in price. They have long and short-term licenses; if you love hunting, you can purchase a combination option.

Non-resident Student License

All non-resident full-time students in this state can purchase a fishing license at the resident’s rate. You’re eligible for this license if you’re in college, high school, or graduate school and have over 12 credit hours. But you must have a current, valid school identity card. This license has made fishing affordable for both resident and non-resident students.

Table of fishing costs in New Hampshire (source)

Type of licenseResidentNon-resident
Hunting and fishing license$56.00$151.00
Freshwater fishing license$45.00$63.00
Saltwater fishing license$11.00$11.00
Senior freshwater fishing license$7.00N/A
Senior saltwater combo license (fishing and hunting)$7.00N/A
1-day freshwater fishingN/A$15.00
3-Day freshwater fishingN/A$28.00
7-Day freshwater fishingN/A$35.00

Where Can I Buy a Fishing License in New Hampshire?

Like most states, New Hampshire also has made it easy for anyone to get fishing licenses. Currently, you can purchase a license from anywhere in the country. The fishing and wildlife department has provided more than one venue for their clients to get licenses, with the most popular option being online.

You can easily purchase your license online from anywhere in the country. All you have to do is access New Hampshire’s fish and game system and create an account. Next, log in, select the ideal fishing license, and click add to cart. Finally, you can check out and make your purchase. (source) Remember, you must print your license after purchasing it; after all, you must have it when fishing.

Unfortunately, sportspersons who have never used this system can only purchase their licenses from authorized agents. These agents can be found all over New Hampshire, and you will only have to pay a processing and printing fee on top of the regular price. You can click here to access the updated list of all authorized vendors. (8) With this list, you can get the contacts and location of the local agent.

You can also get it in all local fish and wildlife department offices.

How Much Is a New Hampshire Fishing License at Walmart?

Generally, the price of the fishing licenses will vary with the option you purchase. Several factors affect the cost of the fishing license, including the license’s age, type, and duration. The price is almost the same as at the authorized dealers, but you’ll have to pay a processing and printing fee. The processing fee is usually around 50 cents.

Where Can I Get the Fishing Regulations in New Hampshire?

Just because you have a license doesn’t mean you can fish anywhere and take everything you catch during the day. And that’s because every state has a bag and possession limit. Plus, other fishing spots have a catch-and-release policy. Fortunately, they do stipulate these rules. You can find these rules on their official website. (source)

The regulations document can even inform you when certain waters are open for fishing. It can even tell you the proper fishing technique to use.

What Is the Fishing License Age Requirement for New Hampshire?

Generally, anyone over 16 years old must have a fishing license to cast their line in this state’s waters. Over 68-year-old anglers can apply for senior fishing and hunting licenses. But the kids below 16 years old can fish for free.

When Does the New Hampshire Fishing License Expire?

All fishing licenses in New Hampshire run a full calendar year, meaning they all expire on December 31. Therefore, it doesn’t matter when you purchase the annual fishing license; all you need to know is that they expire at the end of the year.

The short-term New Hampshire licenses have a set deadline; for instance, the 7-day permit lasts for a week, but you can always renew it.

Can You Fish Without a License in New Hampshire?

For adults over 16 years old, the only time you can fish for free is during the free fishing days, held annually. Kids below 16 years old can fish for free on all the public waters, but they must adhere to the rules and regulations set by the officials.

Can You Fish on Private Property Without a License?

Unlike most states, you need a fishing license to fish on private land. As such, you’ll still need to get written permission from the owner if you want to avoid a lawsuit. On the other hand, landowners and kids below 16 can still fish without private property licenses.

But you must follow the land owner’s rules and regulations, which means sticking to the bag and possession limit.

What Is the Fine for Fishing Without a License in New Hampshire?

Fishing without a license is illegal for anyone over 16, only in New Hampshire. And if caught without one, you may end up paying a fine of about $500 and a jail term of 60 days. In the worst-case scenario, you may be banned from fishing in New Hampshire.

What Is the Fishing Season in New Hampshire?

Generally, fishing is open all season in New Hampshire. Therefore, you can find a perfect fishing spot in New Hampshire at any given point, even in winter, if you love ice fishing. Remember, ice fishing in this state starts with safe ice and becomes unsafe with time. So following the fish and wildlife department updates can come in handy.

Unfortunately, some of these fishing spots are partially opened yearly, with fishing of certain species being closed at a certain point. So before leaving your home, you should find out which lakes are open and which species you can harvest at a certain period. For more details on the fishing season in New Hampshire, please read on.

Salmon/Lake Trout Lakes

A considerable percentage of the water bodies in New Hampshire are managed for landlocked salmon and lake trout. These lakes are usually open to the public all year round, with lake trout fishing limited between January 1 and September 30. But ice fishing for trout is allowed between January 1 and March 31.

If your goal is catching the landlocked salmon, you should visit the state between April 1 and September 30. On the other hand, the pleasant lake is only open to the public between the fourth Saturday of April and the end of September.

Brown, Brook, and Rainbow Trout and Their Hybrids

Trout fishing in New Hampshire’s streams and rivers is open between January and October 15. You can only access the wild trout streams from January 1 to Labor Day. But if you love trout pond fishing, you should visit NH between April and October 15. On the other hand, you can only access the wild trout ponds from the last Saturday of April and Labor Day.

Fortunately, trout fishing is open all year round in the other state waters. Therefore, you’re bound to chase your trophy trout every time you’re in New Hampshire.

Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass

The largemouth and smallmouth bass species are popular in New Hampshire; unfortunately, you can only catch and take some home at the salmon waters between January 1 and March 31. But in the other water bodies, anglers practice catch and release.

For instance, you can only catch and release in most waters except between May 15 and June 15. You can try the trout pond between the fourth Saturday of April and October.

Fish speciesOpening dateClosed date
General fishingJanuary 1December 31
Lake Trout                  January 1September 30
Landlocked SalmonApril 1September 30
BassJanuary 1March 31

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Can I Fish in New Hampshire?

If you have lived in this state your entire life, you know someone who loves fishing. Unfortunately, most local anglers rarely disclose some of their best fishing spots. But with some research, you can discover some of the best options in New Hampshire. And if your favorite spot is overcrowded, then you can try the following hidden gems:

Lake Contoocook, Jaffrey

Contoocook Lake is a beautiful hidden gem occupying an area of about 344 acres situated in Rindge and Jaffrey. This lake and the Pool Pond are part of the River Contoocook’s headwaters. It’s an exceptional place for bass, sunfish, catfish, white perch, bass, and chain pickerel.

And the great thing about this place is that it’s easily accessible, which makes it a perfect destination for a newbie. Get a map of Lake Contoocook, Jaffrey

Hilton’s Point, Dover

If you love visiting places with great history, you should start with the Hilton’s Point. The region was named after William and Edward Hilton, an English fishmonger who established the fishing industry in the area. The Hilton’s Point was established over 400 years ago and is still a prime fishing spot. You’ll catch some massive fish behind the General Sullivan Bridge’s pillars.

Atlantic Ocean

New Hampshire has a 13 miles long shoreline with the Atlantic Ocean that can offer you a perfect saltwater fishing experience. The boats going to Hampton, Rye, and Portsmouth offer anglers an excellent opportunity to land a haddock or even land cod.

Connecticut River, Lebanon

Generally, river Connecticut forms this state’s western border, offering an exceptional fishing opportunity for anglers. New Hampshire’s western border has some of the state’s best fly fishing spots, particularly in the Upper Valley. If you want to catch some Northern pikes, you should try this destination. Get the river streamflow 👉

For more details on the best place to fish, click here.

Can I Fish at Night in New Hampshire?

Yes, there is no law against fishing at night in New Hampshire. Anglers can fish at any time of the night and day. Provided it is accessible, you can have fan fishing all night long.

The only exception in this state is salmon and trout, which you can only fish two hours before dusk and an hour before dawn. So when fishing at night, ensure you have the right gear and lighting that cannot scare the fish away. Last but not least, you should be dressed warmly for night fishing; in some places, it can get frigid.

How Many Fishing Poles Can I Have?

Well, the answer to this question will depend on several factors. But legally, anglers are only allowed to use one rod at a time, and if you want to use two, you will have to pay more. With the two-rod validation, you can fish using two lines and rods and increase your chances of catching a giant fish.

Do You Need a Fishing License in New Hampshire if You’re Over 65?

Yes, the fish and wildlife department does have a resident senior fishing license for the locals. Therefore when you reach 68 years old, you can purchase this fishing license and fish your year away. Unfortunately, they don’t have a seniors package for non-residents.

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  1. New Hampshire Fish and Game department staff, NH Fishing and Hunting License Prices, accessed January 10, 2023.
  2. New Hampshire Fish and Game department staff, Free Fishing Days in NH, accessed January 10, 2023.
  3. New Hampshire Fish and Game department staff, Senior Licenses for HN Residents, accessed January 10, 2023.
  4. New Hampshire Fish and Game department staff, Lifetime hunting and fishing licenses, accessed January 10, 2023.
  5. New Hampshire Freshwater Fishing, Licenses: Fees and Requirements, accessed January 10, 2023.
  6. New Hampshire Fish and Game department staff, Online license sales system, accessed January 10, 2023.
  7. New Hampshire Freshwater fishing, accessed January 10, 2023.
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