Unlocking the Secrets: When Does Fishing Season Start in New Hampshire?

When does fishing season start in New Hampshire

Fishing is a beloved pastime for many outdoor enthusiasts in New Hampshire. Whether you are an experienced angler or just starting out, it’s essential to know when the fishing season begins in this beautiful state. In this blog post, we will provide you with all the information you need to plan your next fishing adventure.

Understanding Fishing Seasons

Fishing seasons are established by state wildlife agencies to protect fish populations during their spawning periods and ensure sustainable fisheries. Each state sets its own dates for various species of fish and different bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, and ponds.

New Hampshire Fishing Season Schedule

In New Hampshire, the fishing season typically starts on April 1st each year but may vary depending on weather conditions and specific regulations. It’s crucial to stay up-to-date with any changes that may occur before planning your trip.

Inland Waters

The inland waters of New Hampshire include lakes, ponds, rivers, brooks, streams, and other freshwater bodies away from tidal influence.

  • Trophy Trout Ponds: The trophy trout pond season opens on January 1st until Labor Day (first Monday in September).
  • Rainbow Trout & All Other Species: From January 1st to March 31st (catch-and-release only) unless otherwise specified by special regulation.
  • All Species (General): For most inland waters like lakes and rivers not covered under special regulations or trophy trout ponds: April 1st through October 15th is considered general open water season.

Catch-And-Release Waters

New Hampshire has catch-and-release waters that allow anglers to practice the sport of fishing without keeping any fish.

  • Catch-And-Release Trout Ponds: These ponds are open from January 1st through March 31st for catch-and-release only, unless otherwise specified by special regulation.
  • Designated Fly-Fishing Only: Some rivers and streams may have fly-fishing-only regulations throughout the year. Check specific locations for more information.

Saltwater Fishing

New Hampshire’s beautiful coastline offers excellent opportunities for saltwater fishing enthusiasts as well. In most cases, saltwater fishing is open year-round with various species available at different times of the year. Always consult local authorities or check online resources for updated regulations and bag limits before heading out on a saltwater excursion.

Fishing Licenses and Permits

To legally fish in New Hampshire, you must obtain a valid fishing license or permit, with some exceptions such as Free Fishing Day (typically held in early June), during which no license is required. Licenses can be purchased online through the official New Hampshire Fish & Game Department website or from authorized agents across the state.

Tips for a Successful Fishing Trip in New Hampshire

To make your fishing trip in New Hampshire enjoyable and rewarding, consider these helpful tips:

  1. Research your preferred fishing spot to determine if any special regulations apply beyond general season dates mentioned earlier.
  2. Pack appropriate gear including rods, reels, tackle boxes filled with bait/lures suitable for target species, waders (if necessary), sunscreen, insect repellent, snacks/drinks etc.
  3. Check weather conditions before heading out and dress accordingly to stay comfortable during your fishing expedition.
  4. Be aware of daily bag limits, size restrictions, and any additional regulations for the fish species you intend to catch.
  5. Respect nature and leave no trace behind. Dispose of waste properly, including used fishing line or other potentially harmful items.


New Hampshire offers an abundance of fishing opportunities throughout its beautiful inland waters as well as along its scenic coastline. By knowing when the fishing season begins and understanding all relevant regulations, you can plan a successful trip that adheres to sustainable practices while enjoying this wonderful outdoor activity. So grab your gear, obtain a valid license, and get ready for an unforgettable angling experience in the Granite State!