What You Should Know About the New Jersey Fishing License

Last Updated on June 2, 2023

Getting your New Jersey fishing license is a must, whether you’re an experienced angler or a beginner just starting out. 

Our guide provides all the information you need to know before getting your license, such as the types of licenses available, the cost, and where to purchase one. 

With this knowledge under your belt, you can confidently hit the water and enjoy all the great fishing New Jersey has to offer- because this state claims that it has the #1 bass fishery in the US. 

Going fishing in New Jersey? Then give a read to our Best Bass Fishing Lakes in New Jersey review.

Who Needs a Fishing License in New Jersey

New Jersey Fishing License Requirements

New Jersey fishing regulations require that a valid fishing license is held by anyone who is planning on participating in any type of angling, such as hand line or rod and line, spearfish or fish by hand in fresh waters of New Jersey. 

Annual freshwater fishing licenses expire every year on December 31st, regardless of the date of purchase. 

All fishing licenses need to be visibly worn on outer clothing at all times when fishing. There is no New Jersey saltwater fishing license.

NJ Freshwater Fishing License

Mercer Lake, New Jersey

Those aged 16 and over must obtain a New Jersey freshwater fishing license to fish in fresh waters, including private waters. This includes the use of handline, rod, and reel, or bow fishing. 

If you would like to fish for trout or salmon, then an additional Trout Stamp is also required.

NJ Saltwater Fishing License

New Jersey does not have a saltwater fishing license, but what it does have is the free NJ Saltwater Recreational Registry Program. 

This registry serves as an important tool for fishermen, policymakers, and other stakeholders to better account for the contributions of saltwater anglers to ocean ecosystems and coastal economies. 

It is part of an initiative called the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) that involves improving how NOAA collects and reports recreational fishing data. 

The objective of this program is to provide reliable data that can be used to assess fish stocks, so anglers, fisheries managers, and other stakeholders can work together to set rules that ensure the sustainability of recreational fishing in the long run.

Sportsman Licenses

To obtain a Sportsman License in New Jersey (fishing and hunting license combination), individuals must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 17 years old or on active duty.
  • Have been an NJ resident for the past six months or possess a prior resident license from another state.
  • Complete the Hunter Education Course, which includes live fire or prior resident firearms license from another state.

Trout Stamp

The Division of Fish and Wildlife requires that both New Jersey residents and non-residents aged 16 and older must have both a valid fishing license and a trout stamp if they wish to fish for or possess trout and salmon. 

Buddy Fishing Discount

The Fishing Buddy License was created as a way to save money when introducing someone new to fishing or learning how to fish with a friend. 

Resident anglers aged 16-64, and nonresident anglers aged 16 and up can get a 50% discount on their fishing license by purchasing it with a “Buddy”. 

A new angler is defined as one who has never purchased an annual fishing license since 2010 or has yet to ever purchase one.

What Age Do You Need a Fishing License in New Jersey?

family fishing in New Jersey

A valid fishing license is required for both resident and non-resident fishermen aged 16 and over who wish to fish in both saltwater and freshwater in New Jersey.


New Jersey residents under the age of 16, do not need an NJ fishing license. Additionally, no license or Trout Stamp is necessary for residents aged 70 and above. 

In order to be considered a resident, they must have lived in the state for six months prior to applying for a license. 

Farmers and their immediate family members, living on the farm they own, do not need a license to fish there, but must still observe all fishing regulations.

Resident disabled veterans, with a service-connected disability, are eligible for free hunting and fishing licenses, stamps, and permits. 

Residents in New Jersey who are afflicted with total blindness can also obtain a free fishing license.

Lastly, New Jersey National Guard personnel in good standing are eligible for free hunting and fishing licenses, permits, and stamps. 

Unfortunately, these privileges cannot be obtained from Fish & Wildlife’s website but instead must be acquired through the NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs’ DMAVA website.


While most non-residents 16 and older are required to purchase fishing licenses at a higher rate than residents, this does not apply to military members on active duty. 

Members of the United States Armed Services on active duty are entitled to purchase a resident New Jersey fishing license, regardless of their current residency.

Active duty military ID must be presented to the license agent as proof of eligibility.

Non-residents also have the option to get a 7-day vacation license or a 2-day vacation license if they are not ready to commit to an entire annual license. 

How to Buy a New Jersey Fishing License 

New Jersey lake

Regular fishing licenses and permits can be purchased online or in person from a license retailer.

However, any free fishing license (disabled veteran, blind, etc.) are not able to be purchased online, and much be purchased one of the following ways:

“NJ Dept of Military and Veterans Affairs 

Attn: MSG (Ret.) Robert Greco (RSB-RALV)

PO Box 340

Trenton, NJ 08625-0340”


You can get your NJ fishing license online from the Division of Wildlife’s website, njfishandwildlife.com.

Just remember that there is a service charge and credit card processing fee when you go this route. So don’t forget to factor these costs into the overall price. 

Local Retailers

You can also purchase a fishing license in person from a local retailer.

Retailers can be found by using The Division of Fish and Wildlife licensed agent locator found on the state of New Jersey website

How Much is a Fishing License in New Jersey

All licenses and stamps are valid from their date of purchase until December 31 of the same year, unless it is a two or seven-day license.

Fishing License New Jersey
License TypePrice
Resident Fishing (Annual License)$22.50
Sr. Resident Fishing (Annual License)$12.50
Resident Trout Stamp$10.50
Non-resident Fishing License$34.00
Non-Resident Trout Stamp$20.00
7-day Vacation License (Non-residents only)$19.50
2-day Vacation License (Non-residents only)$9.00
All Around Sportsman License$72.25

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Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I fish in NJ without a license?

Where you can fish in NJ without a license is very limited.

Unless you are under 16 or over 69, you need to have a fishing license while fishing in the Garden State, even if you are on private property.

The only exception to this rule is on a free fishing day in the fall, which allows anyone to fish for free in the state without a license.

Does NJ require a saltwater fishing license?

NJ does not require a saltwater fishing license, but anglers must register with the free NJ Saltwater Recreational Registry Program. 

Can you fish for free in NJ?

You can fish for free in New Jersey only if it is a free fishing day, you are under the age of 16 or a resident over the age of 70.

Final Thoughts

Fishing is both a recreational activity and an important part of the environment, so it’s essential to obtain your fishing license to protect and conserve New Jersey’s aquatic resources. 

Getting your license is easy and affordable, so there is no reason to not do our part to be responsible anglers by getting one. Before you know it, you can be out on the lake or river catching all kinds of bass.

So, once you have your New Jersey Fishing License, be sure to download our free bass fishing lures cheat sheet. It tells you exactly what lures to throw, and when to throw them.