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

SPECIESClosed SeasonMinimum LengthDaily Bag LimitSpecial Rules
American EelNo closed season (except surrounding fishways)9 inches25 fish per dayFishway closures apply October 2 – June 14 (see Coastal Harvest)
American Plaice*14 inches
American ShadAll shad must be immediately released
Atlantic Cod* Oct. 1 – July 31 24 inches1 fish
Atlantic Halibut41 inches1 fish per trip/vesselHead and tail intact while on or leaving waters of the state
Atlantic Sea HerringFederal 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 WolffishPossession is prohibited
Black Sea Bass13 inches10 fish per dayLength does not include filament/tail extension
Bluefin TunaFederally managed — follow federal regulations (call 1-888-USA-TUNA) or visit hmspermits.gov
Bluefish10 fish per day
Dogfish, SpinyFinning prohibited
Haddock*Mar. 1-April 1417 inches15 fish per dayHead and tail intact, unless fillet is 10 inches minimum
Monkfish17 inches
Pollock*19 inches, if taken in federal waters
Rainbow Smelt (Saltwater)4 liquid quartsHead and tail must remain intact
Redfish*9 inches
River Herring (Alewife/Blueback Herring)Closed sunrise Wednesday – sunrise ThursdaySee 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 DefinitionsNo closed season1 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 Bass28 inches1 fish per dayHead and tail must remain intact while on or leaving state waters or shores (no fillets); Gaffing is prohibited; No sale allowed, regardless of origin
SturgeonClosed year roundPossession is prohibited
Summer Flounder*15 inchesRecreational angling only; No sale allowed
White Perch25 fish per daySale is prohibited
Winter Flounder*12 inches8 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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