Shore fisherman in New Jersey

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

New Jersey is a perfect destination for outdoor lovers, particularly anglers. In fact, according to the Department of Environmental Protection, New Jersey has over 400 reservoirs, lakes, and ponds open to the public. It also has over 240 creeks, streams, and rivers that guarantee you a great fishing experience.

If you love saltwater fishing, you can enjoy the beautiful view of the mighty Atlantic while casting your line. Remember, this state has a coastline 130 miles long for anglers to explore. And one of the unique places in New Jersey that I have always wanted to visit is the Barnegat Light. Situated on the Jersey Shores, this town offers some of the best fishing opportunities in this state.

One thing that makes it an excellent destination for anglers is the Barnegat Inlet. This inlet is a true oasis for anglers thanks to its deep waters that shelter a wide range of game fish, including Striped Bass, Fluke, and Bluefish. But you need a license to fish legally in New Jersey. After thorough research, we compiled the following guide on fishing licenses in New Jersey and everything you need to know about fishing in this state. So let’s dive right in.

  • Resident fishing license (ages 16 and 64): $22.50
  • Senior Resident Fishing License ($65-69): $12.50
  • Non-resident fishing license (over 16 years): $34.00
  • Non-resident 7-day vacation license: $19.50
  • Non-resident 2-day fishing license: $9.00

For more details, here is a link to the New Jersey website. (source)

Guide Tip: Get a FREE copy of the New Jersey Fishing Regulations. πŸ‘‰ FRESHWATER New Jersey Fishing Regulations PDF or the SALTWATER New Jersey Fishing Regulations PDF

Does New Jersey Have Free Fishing?

Unlike most states, New Jersey offers fall and spring free fishing days. The first free fishing day in 2023 is the first Saturday of June; the second will be on October 21. (source) On these days, everyone (both beginners and experienced anglers) can cast their lines without a license.

But they must follow the fishing rules and regulations the state sets. Remember, some water bodies have some particular regulations you must follow.

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

Yes, during the free fishing days, anyone can access the public waters, including non-residents. Free fishing day is excellent for enjoying the New Jersey waters before purchasing your license.

Rainbow Trout Scales
Rainbow Trout Scales – click πŸ‘‰ Learn to Catch Rainbow Trout

Types of Fishing License in New Jersey

Generally, anyone over 16 needs a license to fish in New Jersey’s water with a rod, reel, handline, or bow. Remember to apply for the correct permits and licenses before leaving your hometown. Remember, New Jersey does have licenses for different types of anglers, ranging from kids to seniors. They also have special permits for the blind and veterans with service-associated disabilities. Some of the most common licenses in New Jersey include:

Resident Fishing License (Ages 16 and 64 Years)

Generally, anyone over 16 years and below 70 needs a license to explore New Jersey’s freshwater bodies. Fortunately, senior residents don’t need a trout stamp or fishing license to fish in this state. So when purchasing this license, make sure you have a driver’s license or any form of identification showing your date of birth.

If you were not born in New Jersey, you must have lived in this state for six months. Fortunately, you don’t need a license to fish the marine waters. But you have to register with the NJ Saltwater registry every year.

On top of the license, anglers between 16 and 70 years planning on harvesting salmon and trout must purchase a resident trout stamp.

Looking for more Striper articles?

Senior Resident Fishing License (Ages 65 to 69)

All the senior residents between 65 and 69 years old can get a discounted fishing license. And as aforementioned, anyone over 70 years old doesn’t need a trout stamp or license.

Non-resident Fishing License (Over 16 Years Old)

For non-residents over 16 years old, the state has a valid non-resident license that lets them fish in all the public freshwaters. Remember, there is no senior non-resident fishing license, so even those over the 70 need this license.

On top of that, you’ll require a non-resident trout stamp to possess or fish salmon and trout in New Jersey.

Short-Term Licenses

The state has some short-term licenses for non-residents planning on fishing in New Jersey for a few days. If you plan to fish for a week, you can purchase a week’s vacation license and enjoy your holiday with family members and friends. But if it’s only for a weekend, then a 2-day license can do. Don’t forget to purchase a trout stamp, especially if you plan on harvesting salmon and trout.

All Round Sportsman License

You can purchase this combo license instead of two if you love hunting and fishing. With this license, you can hunt using a bow and arrow or a shotgun while fishing all the freshwater lakes in New Jersey.

License for Active Military

All active US military personnel, irrespective of their current residency, are entitled to a resident fishing license in New Jersey. But you must produce your active duty military ID to the licensing agent for you to be allowed to purchase the resident fishing license.

Veterans With a Service-Linked Disability

New Jersey has free fishing and hunting permits, stamps, and licenses for veterans with service-linked disabilities. Disabled veterans can apply for fishing and hunting stamps and licenses by sending their documentation and application to the NJ Fish and Wildlife department. Remember, these offices don’t accept these applications in person, so you will have to mail your application to them.

Buddy Fishing License

Do you want to introduce a friend to fishing or learn how to fish with your pals? Then you should purchase the Buddy License. This license lets you save up to 50% on fishing and hunting licenses. This license offers you and 2 of your pals reduced license prices.

These licenses are available to non-residents over 16 years old and residents between 16 and 64 years old. Generally, a new angler is someone who has never bought a New Jersey fishing license or hasn’t bought one since 2010.

Annual Ages 16 to 64 years old $22.50N/A
Annual over 16 years oldN/A$36.00
Senior annual fishing license (Ages 65 to 69 years)$12.50N/A
7-day vacation fishing licenseN/A$19.50
2. Day fishing licenseN/A$9.00
Trout stamp: Ages 16 to 69 years $10.50N/A
Trout stamp: over 16 years oldN/A$20.00

Where Can I Buy a Fishing License in New Jersey?

Anyone over 16 can purchase their license online or in person. You should click this link to make a purchase online. (source). After finding the right fishing licenses and permits, you can proceed and click “NEXT.” By clicking “NEXT,” the site will direct you to a new page where you can finally create an account or log in using your usual credentials. If you don’t have an account, you can create one and make a purchase.

After logging in, you can pick the license you want to purchase and check out. You can pay for the license using your MasterCard or VISA. Finally, you can print them and start fishing all over New Jersey.

Another option is contacting the licensing agent near your home. Fortunately, you can find a list of authorized dealers by clicking here. You can use your address or the name of where you live to find the authorized dealers near your home. You can call the local dealer and find out if they’re open and make a purchase. Remember, you may have to pay a small processing fee at the dealer’s location.

How Much Is a New Jersey Fishing License at Walmart?

Generally, the fishing license price at Walmart is the same as the price at the Fish and Wildlife department’s official website. But you will have to pay a processing and printing fee.

Foundation Fly Rod Combo
Foundation Fly Rod Combo πŸ‘ˆ Link to Amazon

Sage Foundation Fly Rod and Reel Combo

Are you ready to up your casting game? Looking for a rod that casts a little farther with more accuracy? The Foundation Setup will to step up and deliver. Plus when your buddies see the Sage name you’ll get those jealousy looks.

Read my review Here and watch my on-water review of the Foundation HERE ON YOUTUBE

Check out the link below for more reviews and current pricing.

Where Can I Get the Fishing Regulations in New Jersey?

There are several regulations that everyone has to follow when fishing in New Jersey. Breaking any of these rules can result in a hefty fine or, in some cases, a jail term. Failing some of these rules can result in license cancellation; you may even get banned from purchasing a license for a few years.

Luckily, you can find these regulations online (source) and download them. So make sure you go through them before leaving your home. This document will stipulate the fishing seasons, bag limit, and the correct fishing method for specific places.

What Is the Fishing License Age Requirement for New Jersey?

Age requirement for a fishing license in New Jersey
Age requirement for a fishing license in New Jersey

In New Jersey, anyone between the ages of 16 and 70 requires a license to fish in marine and inland waters. But kids below 15 can fish for free.

When Does the New Jersey Fishing License Expire?

Regardless of when you buy your New Jersey license, it will expire on December 31. Plan to get your license in January and fish all year round.

Brown Trout Fly Fishing
Brown Trout Fly Fishing learn more in this article πŸ‘‰ How to Fly Fish for Brown Trout

Can You Fish Without a License in New Jersey?

Other than on the free fishing days, every resident between 16 and 69 years old need a license to fish in New Jersey’s water bodies. But the following people can fish for free:

  • Kids below 15 years old
  • Senior residents over 70 years old
  • Blind residents
  • Veterans with service-liked disabilities (source)

Can You Fish on Private Property Without a License in New Jersey?

Everyone between 16 and 69 needs a valid fishing license to fish in all the freshwater ponds on private land. But the fishing license doesn’t give you a right to trespass onto private land and fish. So you’ll need to get permission from the land owner or manager. And make sure you follow the rules and regulations the land manager and land owner set.

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

Anyone found fishing without a license can pay a fine of between $50 and $200. (source) In the worst-case scenario, you may even serve a jail term or get banned from fishing in New Jersey for a few years.

What Is the Fishing Season in New Jersey?

Little Red Light House between New York and New Jersey on the Hudson River
Little Red Light House between New York and New Jersey on the Hudson River

New Jersey offers the best saltwater and freshwater fishing experience on the East Coast. Therefore, knowing the best time to fish and the best season can significantly impact your fishing weekend. Remember, some water bodies are closed to fishing between March 20 and April 8 thanks to trout restocking.

On the other hand, some waters are open to anglers all year round. But if you are chasing a particular fish species, you should know when its fishing season starts before leaving your home. So here are some of the most common fishing seasons in New Jersey.

Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass Fishing Season

In New Jersey, you are likely to find a bass lake near you. Some of the best destinations for bass fishing include Splitrock Reservoir, Delaware Lake, and Monksville Reservoir. So you can explore these water bodies for smallmouth and largemouth from January 1 to April 4 and June 16 to December 31. But between April 15 to June, 15 angles are only allowed to practice catch and release.

Northern Pike Fishing Season

Another popular species in Northern New Jersey is the Northern Pike. Some of the best fishing spots in New Jersey for fishing include Cranberry Lake, Pompton Lake, Budd Lake, and Spruce Run Reservoir.

Northern pike fishing is open all year round in most of the Pike water bodies. But between March 20 and May 20, you can only catch and release at Mercer Lake, Monksville Reservoir, and Echo Lake Reservoir. (source)

Walleye Fishing Season

For the last few years, walleyes have become quite popular among anglers, and the state waters produce excellent catches. Known for their low light vision. Plan for walleye fishing are at night, dusk, dawn, choppy waters, and overcast days.

Measuring walleye for legal length in New Jersey
Measuring walleye for legal length in New Jersey

You can fish walleye from January 1 to the end of February and between May 1 and December 31. From March 1 to April 20, you’re only allowed to practice catch and release.

SpeciesOpening dateClosing date
Largemouth bass and smallmouth bass Catch and release  January 1 April 15 June 16  April 14 June 15 December 31
Northern PikeJanuary 1December 31
MuskellungeJanuary 1December 31
Chain pickerelJanuary 1December 31
Striped bassMarch 1December 31
Hybrid Striped bassMarch 1December 31
American Shad (saltwater fishing)January 1December 31
Crappie (white and black)January 1December 31
Channel catfishJanuary 1December 31

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Can I Fish in New Jersey?

With the massive Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Delaware River on the other, New Jersey guarantees some of the most exhilarating fishing experiences in the United States.

So if you want to try deep-sea fishing, ice fishing, and freshwater fishing, you must visit New Jersey. And if you’re unsure, you should try visiting this state during the free fishing days and test the waters before purchasing your license. Some of the most popular fishing destinations in New Jersey include:

The Atlantic Ocean

You should try exploring the Atlantic Ocean from Garden State if you love saltwater fishing. Besides skiing and kayaking, you can cast your lines from the shores, or if you have a boat, you can sail to some of the best fishing spots off-shore. Some of the most common species you can chase here in summer include albacore tuna, bigeye, yellowfin, and Bluefin.

Delaware Bay

Occupying an area of about 782 sq. miles, Delaware Bay is an exceptional fishing destination that guarantees a memorable fishing experience. And that’s because River Delaware and several small rivers feed it. Plus, its freshwater mixes with the saltwater from the Atlantic Ocean for several miles.

With a variety species available to the sportsman, the Delaware Bay can produce big. Delaware Bay’s brackish waters hold several species, including striped bass, tilefish, tautog, bluefish, and black sea bass.

Merrill Creek Reservoir

Occupied by a healthy population of several species, this reservoir offers anglers an excellent opportunity to catch a giant trout. This reservoir has a 7 miles long shoreline and occupies an area of about 650 acres. Fortunately, you can catch some colossal lake trout from the shores.

Some fish species you can harvest here include white crappie, black crappie, bass, trout, white perch, chain pickerel, and yellow perch. This lake is one destination that must be on your bucket list.

For more details on places where you fish in New Jersey, click here.

Can I Fish at Night in New Jersey?

Yes, there is no law against fishing at night in New Jersey. So as long as it’s accessible and there is a special restriction, you’re good to go. More and more people are discovering that night fishing pays off. Therefore, you should prepare for night fishing by correctly lighting and dressing for the weather.

Proper lighting can improve your vessel’s visibility, but ensure it doesn’t scare the fish away. Remember, most trophy fish species tend to be active at dusk and dawn, so you better be ready for the fight from some mighty fish species.

How Many Fishing Poles Can I Have in New Jersey?

Unlike in most states, in New Jersey, anglers can use a maximum of 3 rods and lines.

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

Generally, resident anglers between 16 and 69 years old need a license to fish in New Jersey. But, seniors over 70 can fish in this state without a license.  

Looking to Learn the Tips and Techniques for the Fish You Love to Chase? I’ve Got You Hooked Up Below

Hi David Humphries Owner of Guide Recommended. I love everything to do with fly fishing. Casting, Tying, YouTube, writing about it and even teaching. I’ve got a FREE video workshop teaching how to dry fly fish at this link How to Fly Fish


  1. Department of environmental protection staff, buy a license, accessed February 11, 2023.
  2. Department of environmental protection staff, accessed February 11, 2023.
  3. Department of environmental protection staff, License information, accessed February 11, 2023.
  4. Justia US Law staff, 2013 New Jersey Revised Statues, accessed February 11, 2023.

Size, Season, and Creel Limits, accessed February 11, 2023

Scroll to Top