Obtain Your NJ Fishing License A Complete Guide.jpg scaled

Obtain Your NJ Fishing License: A Complete Guide

Fishing is a beloved pastime in New Jersey, with its diverse waterways teeming with a variety of fish species. Whether you’re an avid angler or a newcomer to the sport, obtaining a valid fishing license is a crucial step before casting your line. This guide will walk you through the process of acquiring a New Jersey fishing license, ensuring you’re fully prepared to embark on your next angling adventure while complying with state regulations.

Understanding New Jersey Fishing License Requirements

In New Jersey, anyone aged 16 or older must possess a valid fishing license to fish in the state’s freshwaters, including privately owned waters. This requirement applies to both residents and non-residents. However, there are a few exceptions:

  • Children under 16 years old are exempt from needing a license.
  • Residents aged 70 and above do not require a fishing license or trout stamp.
  • Anglers fishing on a licensed fishing preserve do not need a separate license.
  • Native Americans fishing on reservation lands are exempt.

Types of New Jersey Fishing Licenses

New Jersey offers several fishing license options to cater to different angling needs:

  1. Resident Fishing License: For New Jersey residents aged 16 to 69. Valid for one year from the date of purchase.
  • Cost: $22.50
  1. Non-Resident Fishing License: For non-residents aged 16 and older. Valid for one year from the date of purchase.
  • Cost: $34.00
  1. Trout Stamp: Required for fishing for trout or salmon in New Jersey waters. Can be purchased in addition to a fishing license.
  • Cost: $10.50 for residents, $20.00 for non-residents
  1. Buddy Fishing License: A discounted license option for two anglers (one new and one experienced) to fish together.
  • Cost: $16.50 for residents, $27.00 for non-residents
  1. Short-Term Licenses: For those planning a brief fishing trip, New Jersey offers 2-day and 7-day licenses for both residents and non-residents.

Purchasing Your New Jersey Fishing License

New Jersey offers several convenient options for purchasing your fishing license:

  1. Online: Visit the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife’s website (www.nj.gov/dep/fgw) and follow the prompts to purchase your license online. This is the quickest and most convenient method.
  2. In-Person: You can purchase your license at various authorized license agents throughout the state, including sporting goods stores, bait and tackle shops, and some municipal offices.
  3. By Phone: Call the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife’s licensing hotline at 1-888-773-8450 to purchase your license over the phone.

When purchasing your license, be prepared to provide personal information such as your name, address, date of birth, and proof of residency (for resident licenses).

Additional Permits and Regulations

Depending on your fishing plans, you may need to obtain additional permits or follow specific regulations:

  1. Boat Ramp Permit: If you plan to use certain Wildlife Management Area boat ramps, you’ll need to purchase a Boat Ramp Permit.
  2. Commercial Fishing Permits: For those interested in commercial fishing, separate permits are required and can be obtained from the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife.
  3. Catch and Size Limits: New Jersey has established catch and size limits for various fish species to promote sustainable fishing practices. Familiarize yourself with these regulations before heading out.
  4. Fishing in Saltwater: While a freshwater fishing license is not required for saltwater fishing, anglers must register with the NJ Saltwater Recreational Registry Program. This free registration is valid for one year.

Tips for a Successful Fishing Experience

To make the most of your fishing adventure in New Jersey, consider the following tips:

  1. Check for Closures: Some waterways or areas may be temporarily closed for fishing due to restocking or conservation efforts. Stay informed by checking the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife’s website or contacting local authorities.
  2. Respect Private Property: Obtain permission before fishing on privately owned waters or lands.
  3. Practice Catch and Release: Consider practicing catch and release, especially for threatened or endangered species, to promote sustainable fishing practices.
  4. Familiarize Yourself with Regulations: Review the current fishing regulations and guidelines to ensure you’re in compliance and avoid potential fines or penalties.
  5. Invest in Quality Gear: Invest in high-quality fishing gear, such as rods, reels, lures, and tackle, to enhance your fishing experience and increase your chances of success.
  6. Consider Hiring a Guide: For those new to fishing in New Jersey or exploring unfamiliar waters, hiring a professional fishing guide can be a valuable investment, providing local knowledge and expertise.


Obtaining your New Jersey fishing license is a straightforward process that opens the door to countless angling opportunities in the state’s diverse waterways. By following the steps outlined in this guide and adhering to regulations, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on a memorable and responsible fishing adventure. Remember to prioritize safety, respect the environment, and enjoy the thrill of the catch. Tight lines!

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