The Best Guide to Getting Your New Hampshire Fishing License

Last Updated on June 2, 2023

If you’re planning to go fishing in The Granite State, you’ll need to get a valid New Hampshire fishing license first. 

Depending on your residency status and the length of your stay, New Hampshire offers several different types of licenses available to choose from.

All have varying costs and durations that ensure fishermen can have a safe and enjoyable time fishing in the state.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed about all the license options, don’t worry. We’ve got all the information you need to get your license quickly and easily. 

Who Needs a New Hampshire Fishing License

NH Fishing License Age Requirements 

Any angler 16 years of age or older must have a valid NH fish and game license before they can legally fish any freshwater body in the state.

Additionally, out-of-state fishermen over the age of 16 must also possess a license to fish while visiting New Hampshire.

An NH Saltwater Recreational Fishing License is also required for all persons aged 16 and older who wish to recreationally fish in the coastal and estuarine waters of the state.  

These regulations apply to spearfishers, as well as anyone using other fishing gear for personal use and not for commercial purposes. 

Various saltwater species can be found in New Hampshire’s waters, including striped bass, bluefish, cod, haddock, and summer flounder.

What age do you need a fishing license in New Hampshire

Children under 16 years old, including both residents and non-residents, do not need to purchase a New Hampshire fishing license.

Anyone over the age of 16 is required to have a fishing license.


In New Hampshire, a person’s domicile/residence is established when they make that town or ward their principal place of physical presence to the exclusion of all other places.

Residents are able to take advantage of licenses at rates that are less expensive than people who do not reside in the state.

For NH residents born in 1947 or earlier, a free permanent Milestone license is available for freshwater fishing or a combination of hunting and fishing.


Non-residents are able to get both freshwater and saltwater fishing licenses, however, they will be billed at a higher price than residents. 

Full-time students attending school in New Hampshire can get non-resident fishing and hunting licenses at the resident rate.

To be eligible, students must be enrolled for at least 12 credit hours per semester, and show a valid, current school ID.

These licenses are only available either in person or by mail at:

Fish and Game Headquarters 

11 Hazen Drive, Concord NH 03301.

Newborn Lifetime License

Newborns in New Hampshire can obtain a Lifetime NH Hunting & Freshwater Fishing license if their parent/legal guardian is an NH resident. 

The child’s birth certificate is required to make the purchase, which can be done at Fish and Game headquarters or by mail up until the day before the child’s first birthday.

Newborn Lifetime NH Hunting & Freshwater Fishing license is $304.50.

New Hampshire Hunting and Fishing Licenses

For those looking to get a combination hunting and fishing license, the New Hampshire Fish and Game proof of completion of a hunter education course or owning a valid previous hunting license is required.

Estuarine Waters

In New Hampshire, “Coastal and estuarine waters” refers to all waters within the rise and fall of the tide, as well as any water below a fishway or dam. 

Anglers need an NH Saltwater Recreational Fishing License to fish below the dam on the Lamprey River in Newmarket, whereas they would require an NH Freshwater Fishing License for above the dam.

How to Buy a New Hampshire Fishing License

fish and tackle shop

New Hampshire offers three different ways to purchase your fishing license, online, in person, or by mail. 

Those looking to purchase a license will need to have some form of ID, like a driver’s license.


To purchase your New Hampshire fishing license online, visit, fill out the application, and choose the right license for your needs. 

NHFG Office

If you live near a New Hampshire fish and game department office, you can visit and make an in-person purchase there as well. 

Or, you are able to mail in your application with a check to:

Fish and Game Headquarters 

11 Hazen Drive, Concord NH 03301.

Local Retailers

New Hampshire has 185 license agents located across the state that are listed on so anglers are able to purchase a license in person if ordering online is not an option.

How much is a fishing license in New Hampshire

All NH fishing license costs include a license fee. 

There is a $1.00 agent fee and a $1.00 Fisheries Habitat Fee, plus a $2.00 transaction fee ($2.75 online) for each license form. 

For hunting licenses, an additional $2.50 wildlife habitat fee is required. Fishing licenses allow taking of fish in freshwater.

New Hampshire Resident Licenst Cost
License TypeAgePrice
Resident Hunting & Freshwater Fishing16–67$56.00
Resident 1-Day Freshwater Fishing16–67$10.00
Annual Resident Freshwater Fishing16–67$45.00
Annual Saltwater Fishing16+$11.00
Senior Freshwater Fishing68+$7.00
Non-Resident New Hampshire License Cost
License TypeAgePrice
Non-resident Hunting & Freshwater Fishing16+$151.00
Annual Non-resident Freshwater Fishing16+$63.00
Annual Recreational Saltwater Fishing16+$11.00
Non-resident 1-Day Freshwater Fishing16+$15.00
Non-resident 3-Day Freshwater Fishing (Consecutive)16+$28.00
Non-resident 7-Day Freshwater Fishing16+$35.00

NH Fishing Seasons

trout fish

Brook, Rainbow, and Brown Trout can be caught in:

  • Rivers and streams from January 1st to October 15th
  • Wild trout streams are open from January 1st to Labor Day
  • Trout ponds are open from the 4th Saturday of April through October 15th
  • Wild trout ponds are open from the 4th Saturday in April to Labor Day
  • Lake trout and/or salmon waters open from January 1st to September 30th 
  • Ice fishing only between January 1st and March 31st
  • All other NH waters have no closed season

Lake Trout Season: 

Lake Trout can be caught in all waters from January 1st to September 30th (although these fish can only be taken by ice fishing between January 1st and March 31st).

Landlocked Salmon:

  • From April 1 to September 30 
  • The fourth Saturday of each month is reserved for activities in Pleasant Lake and New London

Largemouth Bass and Smallmouth Bass can be harvested from rivers and streams between: 

  • January 1 – October 15, with catch & release practice enforced from May 15 – June 15
  • Trout ponds will host harvesting of largemouth/smallmouth bass between the 4th Saturday in April – October 15, with obligatory catch & release practice enforced from May 15 – June 15
  • Fishing for Lake Trout and/or Salmon is allowed throughout the year, but must be done by ice fishing only during the period January 1 – March 31, while observing a mandatory catch & release policy from May 15 – June 15
  • All other waters permit fishing all year round with a required catch & release practice enforced between May 15 – June 15.

All other New Hampshire species:

  • Rivers & Streams are open for fishing from January 1 to October 15
  • Trout Ponds are open for fishing from the 4th Saturday in April to October 15
  • Lake Trout and/or Salmon waters are open year-round, including during ice fishing season from January 1 – March 31
  • All Other Waters have no closed season

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the fishing seasons in New Hampshire?

The fishing Seasons in New Hampshire vary depending on both the fish and the body of water. 

The easiest way to figure out the fishing season is by visiting New Hampshire’s government website.

What are the different types of fishing licenses in New Hampshire?

There are many different types of licenses in New Hampshire with the most popular being the annual options. 

Below are all the fishing licenses that New Hampshire offers:
– Resident Hunting & Freshwater Fishing 
– Resident 1-Day Freshwater Fishing
– Annual Resident Freshwater Fishing 
– Annual Saltwater Fishing
– Senior Freshwater Fishing
– Non-resident Hunting & Freshwater Fishing
– Non-resident Annual Freshwater Fishing
– Non-resident Recreational Saltwater Fishing
– Non-resident 1-Day Freshwater Fishing
– Non-resident 3-Day Freshwater Fishing 
– Non-resident 7-Day Freshwater Fishing 

Can non-residents fish in New Hampshire?

Non-residents can fish in New Hampshire. 

New Hampshire offers six fishing license options for non-residents, with durations ranging from one day to a year. 

Can you fish in NH without a license?

You can fish in NH without a license if you are under 16 years old or during a free fishing day, which allows everyone to fish without a license for free whether you are a license holder or not.

Final Thoughts

While getting a fishing license in New Hampshire might seem like a hassle, it’s an integral part of conserving the state’s fish population and ensuring that every fisherman can enjoy their time out on the water. 

Doing your part to protect the environment is key, and purchasing a valid fishing license shows that you recognize the importance of protecting the state’s waters. 

So take the time to get your license and make sure you’re doing your part to keep our fisheries healthy for generations to come.

Once you’ve got your New Hampshire fishing license, download our free bass fishing lures cheat sheet so you’ll always know the best lure to throw, no matter where you’re throwing it.