New Jersey Fishing License (2024): Cost, Types & How to Buy

Here’s all the details on what fishing license you need to fish New Jersey, where to buy it and what discounts are available to reduce the cost.

Think fishing in New Jersey and a lot of people probably think about the state’s excellent striped bass fishery. But there’s a lot of excellent freshwater and saltwater fishing in New Jersey to enjoy beyond that.

It is vital to make sure you have the correct New Jersey fishing license to enjoy the great fishing on offer and remain within the local laws and regulations.

In this article, we explain what kind of license anglers need, where to get a license, how much it costs, and what kind of discounts and exemptions apply.

How Much is a New Jersey Fishing License?

An annual New Jersey fishing license for residents costs $22.50. For nonresident anglers, an annual New Jersey fishing license costs $30.

There are a range of other types of licenses with different prices, which we have summarised in the tables below.

Who Needs a Fishing License in New Jersey?

Bass fishing New Jersey

A valid fishing license is required for residents at least 16 years and less than 70 years of age (plus all non-residents 16 years and older) to fish the fresh waters of New Jersey, including privately owned lakes and other waters.

Fishing can be done using a handline, rod and reel, or a bow. If someone intends to fish for trout or salmon, they will also need to obtain a trout stamp.

Here is the license fees pages: https://dep.nj.gov/njfw/fishing/freshwater/buy-a-license/

New Jersey Fishing License Age

Children can fish in New Jersey without needing a fishing license up until age 16 when they are required to buy a license.

Who Is Exempt From Needing a Fishing License in New Jersey?

New Jersey offers some exemptions to its freshwater fishing license requirement. The following individuals are exempt:

  • Anglers (resident and non-residents) under 16 (see here for info on ages at which a fishing license is needed in other states)
  • NJ residents who are age 70 or older. A driver’s license or other acceptable proof of age containing the date of birth and a physical description will serve as the actual fishing license.
  • Farmers and immediate family members who live on the farm.
  • Those fishing on a free fishing day

It’s important to note that, even if you qualify for an exemption, you’ll still need to follow all New Jersey fishing regulations.

New Jersey Fishing License Cost and Types

New Jersey Fishing License

In order to fish or catch fish in any of the waters within the state of New Jersey, you are required to possess one of two types of NJ fishing licenses. The specific license you need depends on whether you plan to fish in freshwater or saltwater areas.

Freshwater Fishing Licenses

If you intend to fish in the rich freshwaters of New Jersey, it is necessary to obtain a fishing license. The state offers a range of licenses with different durations, age requirements, and options for combining fishing with hunting.

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.

Resident Fishing Licenses

Resident fishing licenses are available to individuals who have resided in New Jersey for at least six consecutive months before purchasing the license. Proof of residency, such as a valid New Jersey driver’s license or identification card, is required.

License Type (annual)Cost
All Around Sportsman (Fishing and Hunting)$72.25
Resident Fishing (Ages 16-64 yrs.)$22.50
Sr. Resident Fishing (Ages 65-69 yrs.)$12.50
Resident Trout Stamp$10.50

Non-Resident Fishing Licenses

Non-residents, including out-of-state visitors and foreign individuals, can obtain a non-resident fishing license to fish in New Jersey’s inland and saltwater areas. Non-resident licenses are typically valid for a specific duration, such as a day, week, or year.

License Type (annual)Cost
Non-Resident Fishing (Ages 16 and up)$34.00
Non-Resident Trout Stamp$20.00
7-Day Vacation Fishing (nonresidents only)$19.50
2-Day Vacation Fishing (nonresidents only)$9.00

Who Can Purchase Discounted New Jersey Fishing Licenses?

New Jersey Fishing License Disabled angler

New Jersey offers discounted fishing licenses to certain individuals. These discounts are available to:

  • Residents who are 65 years or older
  • Honorably discharged military veterans
  • Individuals with disabilities, and
  • Active-duty military personnel

Proper identification and documentation may be required to qualify for these discounted licenses.

See also:

Fishing Buddy Licenses

A special type of license is also available to anglers introducing a “Buddy” to freshwater fishing. The Fishing Buddy License offers both a current and a new angler (or two new anglers) reduced-price fishing licenses.

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 TypeRegular Price“Fishing Buddy” Price
Resident Fishing$22.50$11.75
Non-Resident Fishing$34.00$17.50
All-Around Sportsman$72.25$62.50

Special Fishing Licenses in New Jersey

New Jersey offers various special licenses that cater to the specific needs of the following:

Servicemen and Servicewomen

A person who is on active duty in the armed services of the United States is entitled to fish with a resident fishing license. They need to provide their active duty military ID to the license agent as evidence of their eligibility.

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

Free hunting and fishing licenses, stamps, and permits are available for resident veterans with a service-connected disability.

Legally Blind Residents

Residents with total blindness may obtain a free license. Call 609-292-2965 for an application.

Where Can I Buy a New Jersey Fishing Licence?

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: 

New Jersey Game and Fish Commission Offices

Fishing licenses can be purchased in person at authorized license agents, such as the Division of Fish & Wildlife offices, throughout the state. Office locations can be found here.

You can also call the New Jersey licensing hotline at 609-292-2965. 

Online

You can buy a NJ fishing license online through the New Jersey Integrated Electronic Licensing System (IELS). The online process is convenient and allows anglers to obtain their licenses from the comfort of their homes. The official website provides step-by-step instructions on how to purchase a license online.

Walmart and other Retail Outlets

Fishing licenses are also available for purchase at various retail outlets across New Jersey. These include Walmart stores, sporting goods stores, bait and tackle shops, and other authorized license retailers. A list of authorized license retailers can be found here.

What Happens With New Jersey Fishing License Fees?

The funds generated from fishing license fees in New Jersey are utilized for the management, conservation, and enhancement of the state’s fish and wildlife resources. These funds support activities such as stocking fish, habitat restoration, research, law enforcement, and educational programs.

Does New Jersey Have Reciprocal License Arrangements With Neighboring States?

New Jersey Fishing License Reciprocal States

New Jersey has reciprocal fishing license agreements with neighboring states, including Delaware (see here for Delaware fishing license info), New York (see here for New York fishing license info), and Pennsylvania. These agreements allow anglers with a valid fishing license from their home state to fish in specific shared waters without the need to purchase an additional license. However, it is important for anglers fishing in the Delaware River to be aware of the fishing regulations of each state.

Does New Jersey Offer Lifetime Fishing Licenses?

At present, New Jersey does not offer lifetime fishing licenses. Anglers must obtain annual or shorter-term licenses based on their residency and fishing preferences.

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Rick Wallace is a passionate angler and fly fisher whose work has appeared in fishing publications including FlyLife. He's appeared in fishing movies, founded a successful fishing site and spends every spare moment on the water. He's into kayak fishing, ultralight lure fishing and pretty much any other kind of fishing out there.
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