Whether it's freshwater or saltwater fishing you prefer, New Jersey has much to offer. Marlu Lake in Thompson Park in Lincroft is home to freshwater largemouth bass, carp, sunfish and crappies. The water of Delaware River is the teeming with smallmouth bass. Port Monmouth, Raritan Bay is the place to be for big stripers! But before casting that lure, a New Jersey fishing license is required. Knowledge of existing fishing rules and regulations is necessary.

With just a few clicks, one can purchase a NJ fishing license online through the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish & Wildlife. For those who prefer to get theirs up front, there are hunting and fishing equipment shops that are approved license vendors.

Before buying a fishing license one should understand the different fishing licenses available as fishing for freshwater fish and saltwater fish are two different things, with its own set of fishing rules and regulations. It is best to understand the different fish species to make it easier to apply existing fishing regulations.

The preservation and conservation of the waters and fish populations not only in New Jersey but the rest of the country is an ongoing project. Much effort has been done to ensure that there will be fish to catch for future anglers. One way anglers can contribute in the conservation effort is to strictly follow NJ fishing laws and regulations.

Being in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, New Jersey is known for its beaches, people, and culture. But you know what else they are known for? The fishing experience that it waters give! 

But before you go on a fishing trip with your buddies or your family to New Jersey, you need to have a valid fishing license first. The license will give you access to beautiful fishing opportunities like fishing for smallmouth bass on the Delaware River from Bull's Island State Park or catching striped bass at the Spruce Run Reservoir. 

Getting a fishing license in New Jersey is pretty simple, and this quick guide will walk you through the different things you need to know so that you can start packing your fishing bags and heading to your trip to the Garden State!

Here is everything you need to know about New Jersey fishing license requirements:

Who is required to purchase a New Jersey Fishing License? 

As a general rule, all anglers who wish to fish or take fish in the waters of New Jersey are required to purchase an NJ State Fishing License. Specifically, if you are one of the following, you need to purchase a fishing license before fishing: 

  • Residents at least 16 years and less than 70 years of age
  • All non-residents 16 years and older
  • Persons who are on active duty in the armed services of the United States
  • Eligible NJ National Guard personnel (can obtain the license for free)
  • Resident NJ veterans with a service-connected disability (can obtain the license for free)
  • Residents who are legally blind (can obtain the license for free here)

There are also some exemptions to the licensing requirements. If you are one of the following individuals, you are NOT required to purchase or possess a fishing license when fishing in New Jersey: 

  • Anglers (resident and non-residents) under 16
  • NJ residents age 70 and over, provided that they can provide proof of age and residency. A driver's license or other acceptable proof of age containing the date of birth and a physical description will function as the actual fishing license/trout stamp for New Jersey residents 70 and over.
  • Farmers and family members that live on a farm (must obey all fishing regulations)

What kind of license is needed to fish in New Jersey?

All throughout the state of New Jersey, you need at least one of the two types of fishing licenses in order to be allowed to fish or take fish from any of the state's waters. Licenses depend on whether you want to take fish from a freshwater fishing location or a saltwater area. 

Freshwater Fishing Licenses

If you are planning to catch fish in one of the rich freshwaters of New Jersey, then you need a fishing license. The state is selling a variety of licenses that vary in terms of duration of validity, age of the licensee, or whether you also plan to hunt at the same time as you fish. You can choose either of the following: 

  • Two-day vacation fishing licenses
  • Seven-day vacation fishing licenses
  • Annual non-resident fishing licenses.
  • Non-resident trout stamps
  • Annual resident fishing licenses
  • Senior resident fishing licenses
  • Resident trout stamps
  • Combination sportsman fishing and hunting licenses

Please note that short-term licenses like the 7-day license or the two-day license can only be purchased by non-residents. If you are a resident who is required to purchase a license, you need to buy one of the annual licenses that are available. 

Saltwater Fishing Licenses

The good thing about fishing in a saltwater area in New Jersey is that you are not required to purchase any fishing license. Instead, everyone who is 16 years of age or older is required 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.

How much do fishing licenses in New Jersey Cost? 

As earlier mentioned, if you want to fish in any freshwater fishing areas across the state of New Jersey, you need to purchase a fishing license. These fishing licenses vary depending on your age, residency, and the duration of the license that you want to avail of. Here is a summary of how much each type of fishing license costs in the state of New Jersey:

License Type


All Around Sportsman (includes Resident Fishing, Firearm Hunting and Bow Hunting licenses)


Resident Fishing (Ages 16-64 yrs.)


Sr. Resident Fishing (Ages 65-69 yrs.)


Resident Trout Stamp


Non-Resident Fishing (Ages 16 and up)


Non-Resident Trout Stamp


7-Day Vacation Fishing (nonresidents only)


2-Day Vacation Fishing (nonresidents only)


If you are a resident who is 16 years old to 64 years old, you can purchase an annual freshwater fishing license for only $22.50. Otherwise, as a non-resident older than 16 years old, you can buy the annual fishing license for $34.00. Senior residents can also purchase an annual freshwater fishing license for a discounted rate. If you are a resident aged 65 to 69, you can purchase the license for only $12.50. 

Moreover, if you decide to go to New Jersey as a non-resident and don’t plan to avail of the annual license, you can also purchase one of the two short-term permits sold by the state. You can buy a two-day fishing license for only $9.00, or you can opt to buy a 7-day license for only $19.50. It is important to note that short-term licenses are exclusively sold to non-residents only. Resident anglers need to purchase an annual license even if they just want to fish for a few days. 

If you are also planning to catch trout during your fishing trip, you also need to purchase a trout stamp for $10.50 (residents) and $20.00 (non-residents). Hardcore resident anglers and hunters can also procure an All-Around Sportsman license, which includes Resident Fishing, Firearm Hunting, and Bow Hunting licenses, for only $72.25. All annual licenses are valid from the date of purchase to December 31 of each year. 

Special Licenses

Servicemen and Servicewomen License

A person who is on active duty in the armed services of the United States is entitled to fish with a resident fishing license.

New Jersey National Guard

Only New Jersey National Guard personnel in good standing are entitled to free sporting licenses, permits, and stamps. These privileges are not available using Fish and Wildlife’s website. However, the NJ Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs can issue fishing licenses through their DMAVA website.

Disabled Veterans Licenses, Stamps and Permits

Free hunting and fishing licenses, stamps and permits are available for resident veterans with a service-connected disability. The following are eligible for this license: 

  • any resident of New Jersey who has been honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active service from any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States
  • any resident of New Jersey who has been declared by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, or its successor, to have a service-connected disability of any degree

License for the Blind

Residents afflicted with total blindness may obtain a free permit. Call (609) 292-2965 for an application.

Where to purchase a New Jersey Fishing License? 

There are multiple convenient ways that you can purchase a fishing license in the state of New Jersey. You can choose one of these methods to buy a license: 

Online - You can buy a fishing license online through the New Jersey Integrated Electronic Licensing System (IELS)

Through Call - You can also call the New Jersey licensing hotline at (888) 773-8450. 

Through a license agent - There are literally hundreds of license agents around the state of New Jersey such as sporting goods stores and bait and tackle shops. It is essential that you call the agent first before going there to confirm if their licensing system is active. Visit the NJ Fish and Wildlife website for more information. 

Daily Limits and other Fishing Regulations

The state of New Jersey also imposes several regulations to make sure that the water resources across the state are protected, and a healthy fish population is maintained. Please observe the designated daily and size limits when fishing in state waters. For more information, please download the full fishing regulation guidebook through the following links: 

New Jersey Marine Digest 2020

New Jersey Freshwater Fishing Digest 2020

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When will my annual license expire?

All annual licenses are valid from the date of purchase to December 31 of the year it was purchased. 

Q: What to do if I lose/damage my fishing license? 

A license, permit, or stamp can be replaced at any license agent or online at Fish and Wildlife’s Internet license sales site also linked through their regular website at NJFishandWildlife.com or by phone at (888) 773-8450.

Q: When is the scheduled Free Fishing Day/s in New Jersey?

NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife has split the Free Fishing Days. The first will be held on June 6, 2020, during the summer, as is traditional. The second Free Fishing Day will occur after fall trout stocking on October 17, 2020, to bring attention to this great fishing opportunity.