The New Jersey fishing scene has a lot to offer to local and visiting anglers alike. Fishing is a big part of life here, and sinking a line in the “Garden State’s” waters is a great way to spend your day. From ice fishing to deep sea fishing adventures, you’ll find the versatility of New Jersey a breath of fresh air.
You don’t need much preparation for fishing here – all you need is a New Jersey fishing license! We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about getting one. So by the time you’re done reading this post, you’ll be ready to go!
Looking for info on neighboring states, or around the US in general? Check out our full list of licensing guides here.
Who needs a fishing license in New Jersey?
When it comes to freshwater fishing, everyone age 16 or over needs to have a fishing license to fish with a handline, rod and line, or bow and arrow. There are no general saltwater fishing licenses, but there are some special permits. More on that later.
One thing to note is that you need to have your fishing license in a prominent place on your outer clothing while fishing, and you need to show it to law enforcement agents on request.
Let’s take a look at what license you actually need to spend a day fishing the waters of New Jersey with peace of mind. We’ve split the information into resident and non-resident sections, so you can quickly jump to the section you’re interested in.
Fishing licenses in New Jersey are pretty straightforward. If you’ve been living in the state for the six months immediately before applying for a fishing license, you fall under the resident category.
Residents who are 70 and older don’t need to get a license or a Trout Stamp – all they need is proof of age, like a driver’s license. There are some other cases in which you don’t need to get a license. These include:
- National Guard Members
- Veterans with a Service-Connected Disability
- Legally Blind Residents
Farmers are another exempt group if they’re fishing on their own farm. However, they will need to obey all fishing regulations. Also, any person on active duty in the armed services can fish with a resident license.
Now let’s take a look at different fishing licenses available to residents and the costs. Note that these are all valid from the date of purchase to December 31 of each year.
|Resident License Type||Cost|
|All Around Sportsman (Fishing and Hunting)||$72.25|
|Freshwater Fishing (Age 16–64)||$22.50|
|Freshwater Fishing (Age 65–69)||$12.50|
The All Around Sportsman License will allow you to hunt with a shotgun or bow and arrow, and to fish the freshwaters of New Jersey. If you get the Freshwater Fishing License, you get to fish in freshwater throughout the state until the end of the year.
If you’re just visiting New Jersey and would like to get a taste of the fishing scene, there’s a variety of licenses you can get. Luckily, non-resident fishing licenses are pretty straightforward, so you’ll have no issues finding the right one for you. They differ in duration and cost, so let’s take a look at your options:
|Non-Resident License Type||Cost|
|Freshwater Fishing (Age 16 and up)||$34.00|
|7-Day Vacation Fishing||$19.50|
|2-Day Vacation Fishing||$9.00|
If you get the non-resident freshwater fishing license, note that it’s valid until December 31 of each year.
One more thing to keep in mind is that you normally can’t fish for, keep, or kill Trout in New Jersey waters. If this is what you’re after, you’ll need to get a Trout Stamp in addition to your regular license. If you’re a resident of the state of New Jersey, the cost of the Trout Stamp is $10.50. For non-residents, it’s $20.00.
And if you’re looking to organize a fishing tournament, there’s a license for that too! You’ll only need one in case the tournament is conducted on waters within a designated state Wildlife Management Area. All you need to do is fill out this application.
New Jersey Fishing Buddy Licenses
There’s a special type of license for anglers who are introducing a “Buddy” to freshwater fishing. These are discounted licenses for anglers who are buying their freshwater fishing license with a friend. At least one of the two has to be a new angler who hasn’t bought an annual license since 2010 or who has never bought a fishing license. Take a look at the table below for more information on the “Buddy Licenses.”
|Resident License Type||Regular Price||“Fishing Buddy” Price|
|All Around Sportsman||$72.25||$62.50|
You can get these both online or at license agents. Another thing to keep in mind is that you can’t get these licenses if you’re already eligible for a free or discounted license. Also, Trout Stamps are not discounted.
What about saltwater?
There are no general saltwater licenses in New Jersey. So if you’re planning a trip to the Atlantic, it should be easy. All you need to do as an individual is register with the New Jersey Saltwater Recreational Registry Program and follow all the regulations.
If you plan on hiring a charter vessel to take you out on the water, it’s the captain’s responsibility to register in the Saltwater Registry Program, as well as to be on top of all the regulations, so you don’t have to think about anything. Except for the fish!
That being said, there is a variety of licenses and permits for crabbing, clamming, and commercial saltwater fishing. A Shellfish license is required for harvesting all species of benthic mollusks, and you can get it online or at an agent.
|Shellfish License Type||Cost|
|Resident Recreational Shellfish License||$10.00|
|Resident Senior Lifetime Recreational License (62 and older)||$2.00|
|Resident Commercial License||$50.00|
|Juvenile Recreational License (under 14)||$2.00|
|Non-Resident Recreational License||$20.00|
|Non-Resident Commercial License||$250.00|
How to Buy a New Jersey Fishing License
Anyone looking to buy a New Jersey fishing license needs to have their own Conservation Identification Number (CID). This is a unique number that appears on all licenses, permits, and stamps. For first-time license holders, you can get your CID when you create a customer account on the license website, or at an agent.
There are different ways of getting your fishing license in New Jersey. Just follow one of the steps below and you’re all set!
- Online: One of the easiest ways of getting your license is by heading over to the DFW website. Note that you need to have an NJ Driver’s License in order to buy your fishing license online.
- Agent: If you prefer to get your fishing license in person, you can visit one of the many Licensing Agents throughout the state.
- Phone/e-mail: For any information you might need in the process of getting your license, or if you need help at any step of the way, feel free to call 908-637-4125, or send an e-mail to [email protected]
What if I lose my license?
Not to worry! If you happen to lose your license, permit, or stamp, you can easily replace it at any license agent, online, or by phone at (888) 773-8450. And if you lose your saltwater registration, you can retrieve a duplicate copy by going on the Saltwater Registry page and choosing “Generate Duplicate Registration.”
We’ve tried to cover all the information may need. If you still have questions about getting your New Jersey fishing license, get in touch with your local DNR office. Also, feel free to drop us a comment below. Otherwise, get your license, find a guide near you, and start your NJ fishing adventure!
Vule is a biologist with a love for the natural world, writing, and technology. As a kid, he used to go camping and fishing with his father, falling in love with the experience of being in the wild. Today, he writes about fishing, and when he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him chilling by a river somewhere.