Anglers are required to buy a fishing license in New Jersey prior to engaging in fishing activities on state waters. Fishing licenses are issued by the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife to both residents and non residents visiting the state. Prior to buying fishing licenses, applicants should first peruse the various types of fishing permits available. The NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife offers both freshwater fishing licenses for inland fishing and saltwater fishing licenses for fishing off the NJ coast. Applicants planning to buy saltwater fishing licenses must register with the NJ Recreational Registry Program before embarking on coastal fishing trips. Currently, the best spots to fish in New Jersey include more than 400 lakes, streams and ponds accessible to the general public. A large selection of these bodies of water provide easy access to disabled individuals, who can also apply for fishing licenses for a discounted fee. However, in order to fish at reservoirs such as New Jersey’s Manasquan Reservoir, all anglers must have a permit for both themselves and their boats. The NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife offers two methods for buying freshwater fishing permits in New Jersey: online or through a qualified Division of Fish and Wildlife representative. To complete a fishing permit application submission online, applicants must visit the Division of Fish and Wildlife website. From there, access the NJ Fishing and Hunting License Sales page. To find a qualified Division of Fish and Wildlife representative, check the list of license vendors on the division’s website. Read the sections below for more information on buying fishing licenses in New Jersey:
- Freshwater fishing licenses
- Saltwater fishing licenses
Freshwater Fishing Licenses
Anglers who are considering buying a NJ freshwater license to fish must be at least 16 years of age to meet New Jersey’s minimum age requirement. The Division of Fish and Wildlife offers both New Jersey resident fishing permits and non resident fishing permits to eligible applicants. However, in order to get a resident recreational fishing license, applicants must have lived in the state of New Jersey for at least the six consecutive months prior to submitting a fishing license application. Current active-duty military members also qualify to buy a residential fishing license.
Senior residents who are 70 years of age or older are not required to purchase a New Jersey license to fish. Instead, seniors can use their state driving licenses or another form of identification as their fishing permits.
The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife offers a variety of fishing licenses and stamps including:
- Two-day vacation fishing licenses.
- Seven-day vacation fishing licenses.
- Annual non resident fishing licenses.
- Nonresident trout stamps.
- Annual resident fishing licenses.
- Senior resident fishing licenses.
- Resident trout stamps.
- Combination sportsman fishing and hunting licenses.
Note:NJ freshwater fishing permits are available free of charge for individuals who are legally blind or are military veterans with a disability. All short term fishing licenses (i.e. two-day, seven-day) are available to non residents only.
Saltwater Fishing Licenses
Unlike other states, it is not mandatory in New Jersey to have a license to saltwater fish for deep sea or bay fishing. However, the state does require coastal water anglers 16 years of age or older to sign up with the NJ Saltwater Recreational Registry Program if they fish with a rod and line, a hand line or spearfish. Additionally, anglers who fish in waters outside the state but land the catch in NJ, as well as anglers who fish in fresh tidal waters and marine waters, must also register with the NJ Saltwater Recreational Registry Program.
Note: Anglers who are younger than 16 years of age or only fish on for-hire boats that are already registered with the program are considered exempt from this requirement.
When registering with the Recreational Registry Program, gather your Social Security Number (or passport number if you have no SSN), date of birth, physical address and phone number.
The NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife also offers shellfish licensing for those applicants who would like to catch shellfish species (not including conchs). To purchase your shellfish fishing license, contact a qualified Division of Fish and Wildlife agent in your area, or place your order online.