With the nightmare that was 2020 behind us—FINALLY—it’s time to start thinking in the positives. While I’m not running around Social Media posting a lengthy list of New Year’s resolutions, I am looking forward to better times in the days, weeks and months ahead. And with that it’s also time to begin thinking about renewing my fishing license once again.
It’s pretty much common knowledge that you need to possess a license to fish in freshwater environments, and several years ago a saltwater license or participation in the registry program became mandatory in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states. The only exception to this is when fishing onboard licensed for-hire boats as anglers fish under the boat’s license and do not need to register themselves, although they’re perfectly free to get their own license so if they so choose.
Fishing regulations can be rather tricky to navigate at times, what with the close proximity of many Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States, and the same can be said to a degree as to how each state manages its license/registry program. But as I’ve stated many times before, ignorance is not an excuse for breaking the law!
So after a bit of research, comparison, checking and double-checking, and general confusion at times, I have compiled the following overview of each state’s requirements and reciprocity for any neighboring states. Please note that the following is subject to change at any time and you should still consult local regulations before heading out for a day on the water to be sure that you are 100% compliant.
Here is to many great angling experiences in 2021, catch ‘em up!
Maine saltwater recreational fishing registration is required for individuals over the age of 16. However, individuals that possess a valid Maine freshwater license ($25 for residents and $64 for non-residents) are not required to register separately so long as they acknowledge the “Did you fish in the tidal waters of the State of Maine last year” question. There is no cost for the actual registration. However, a $1 agent fee applies to register at DMR licensing office, and a $2 agent fee applies to register online or through a DMR designated agent.
For more information, please visit maine.gov.
A NH Recreational Saltwater Fishing License is required, with a fee of $11, for individual anglers age 16 and older participating in recreational saltwater fishing for finfish from coastal and estuarine waters of New Hampshire (both residents and non-residents need a license.) Anglers must either possess a valid NH, MA, or ME marine fishing license to fish in New Hampshire waters. Year-long New Hampshire freshwater licenses cost $45 for residents and $63 for non-residents.
For more information, please visit nhfishandgame.com.
The cost for both residents & non-residents age 16 and older is $10 for a marine license. Anglers must either possess a valid MA, CT, RI or NH marine fishing license to fish in Massachusetts waters. Year-long freshwater licenses cost $27.50 for residents and $37.50 for non-residents.
For more information, please visit MassFishHunt.
Freshwater fishing licenses become due each year on March 1. Until that time the previous year’s license remains valid. The cost in Rhode Island for a resident is $18 and $35 for a non-resident. An additional fee of $5.50 for a trout stamp must also be paid if one intends to target trout. The fee for a year-long marine license is $7 for Rhode Island residents and $10 for non-residents. A seven-day license may be purchased for $5 for both residents and non-residents alike. Anglers must either possess a valid RI, MA, CT, ME or NY marine fishing license to fish in Rhode Island waters.
** Please note that inland licenses in Rhode Island do not expire until the final day of February.
For more information on freshwater licenses please visit www.ri.gov, and for saltwater licenses please visit ri.gov.
The fee for a marine license is $10 for residents age 16 – 64, free for residents over 65 and $15 for non-residents age 16 and older. Anglers must either possess a valid CT, MA, RI or NY marine fishing license to fish in Connecticut waters. Year-long freshwater license cost $28 ($32 for All Waters) for residents and $55 ($63 for All Waters) for non-residents. A $5.00 trout & salmon stamp is required for any angler 16 years of age and older fishing in a Trout Management Area (TMA), Wild Trout Management Area (WTMA), Trout Park, or Atlantic Salmon Broodstock Area; or keeping trout, Kokanee Salmon or broodstock Atlantic Salmon anywhere statewide.
For more information, please visit CT DEEP.
Anglers 16 and older must register with the no-fee recreational marine fishing registry to fish in marine waters of New York, which is incorporated into the National Marine Fishing Service nationwide database of recreational marine anglers. Reciprocity is given to anglers holding a marine license from either Connecticut or Rhode Island. Year-long freshwater licenses cost $25 for residents and $50 for non-residents.
For more information, please visit dec.ny.gov.
Anglers 16 and older must register with the no-fee recreational marine fishing registry to fish in marine water of New Jersey, which is incorporated into the National Marine Fishing Service nationwide database of recreational marine anglers. No reciprocity exists and all anglers fishing New Jersey’s marine waters must register. Year-long freshwater licenses cost $22.50 ($10.50 trout stamp) for residents and $34 ($20 trout stamp) for non-residents.
The license covers both fresh and marine/tidal waters and costs $8.50 for residents and $20 for non-residents. Children under the age of 16 and senior residents over the age of 65 are exempt from the new licensing requirements. Residents and non-residents are exempt from the licensing if they are the operator of a vehicle with a valid Delaware surf fishing vehicle permit as long as the vehicle is located on designated Delaware State Park surf fishing area.
For more information, please visit dnrec.delaware.gov.
A valid Pennsylvania fishing license is required of persons age 16 and over to fish for any species of fish and are valid through December 31, 2021. Annual freshwater license in PA is $22.90, a non-resident costs $52.90 (senior and daily pricing is available). If an angler has a valid Pennsylvania fishing license they are not required to register with NOAA to fish Pennsylvania’s tidal portion of the Delaware River.
For more information, please visit fishandboat.com/Fish/FishingLicense.
Anglers 16 and older must register with the no-fee recreational marine fishing registry, which is incorporated into the National Marine Fishing Service nationwide database of recreational marine anglers. Reciprocity exists for anglers possessing a Virginia license. Year-long freshwater/non-tidal licenses cost $20.50 ($5 trout stamp) for residents and $30.50 ($10 trout stamp) for non-residents.
For more information, please visit dnr.maryland.gov.