Statewide General Fishing Laws

fishing laws book cover

General Fishing Laws for Inland Waters

A valid fishing license is required. See License Requirements and Fees.

Seasons

Lakes and Ponds

North Region Lakes and Ponds (See Map)

  • From April 1 to September 30: Open to open water fishing under general law bag and length limits. The use of all legal forms of bait, artificial lures, and artificial flies are permitted.
  • From October 1 to March 31: Closed to all fishing.

South Region Lakes and Ponds (See Map)

  • January 1 to December 31: Open to ice and open water fishing under general law bag and length limits. The use of all legal forms of bait, artificial lures, and artificial flies are permitted.

Rivers Streams and Brooks- North & South Regions

  • From April 1 to August 15: Open to open water fishing under general law bag and length limits. The use of all legal forms of bait, artificial lures, and artificial flies are permitted.
  • From August 16 to September 30: Open to open water fishing using artificial lures or flies only. General law length and bag limits apply, except daily bag limit one landlocked salmon and one brook trout.
  • From October 1 to March 31: Closed to all fishing.

General Law Daily Bag, Possession and Length Limits

The daily bag, possession and minimum length limits in the table below apply to all waters open to fishing. The term "trout" includes brook trout, brown, trout, rainbow trout, splake, and Arctic char (Sunapee trout and blueback trout).

Species Daily Bag & Possession Limits Length Limit
Lakes/Ponds Rivers, Streams, Brooks Lakes/Ponds Rivers, Streams, Brooks
Brook Trout
(incudes Splake & Artic char)
North Region: 5 fish
South Region: 2 fish
5 fish 6 inches minimum 6 inches minimum
BrownTrout 2 fish 2 fish 14 inches minimum 6" min & 25" max
Rainbow Trout 2 fish 2 fish 12 inches minimum 6 inches minimum
Landlocked Salmon 2 fish 2 fish 14 inches minimum 14" min & 25" max
Togue (Lake Trout) 2 fish 2 fish 18 inches minimum 18 inches minimum
Species Daily Bag & Possession Limits Minimum Length Limit
Bass
(Largemouth & Smallmouth)
North Region: Unlimited None
South Region: 2 fish No minimum length. Only 1 may exceed 14 inches.
Whitefish 3 fish None
Smelts 2 quarts None
American Eel 25 fish 9 inches
Sea-run Atlantic Salmon Federally Endangered Species - No Fishing Permitted for this Species
Freshwater fish not listed above Unlimited None

For recreational angling regulations for migratory fish, including alewives, striped bass, and shad, see Recreational Saltwater Fishing.

Map of North and South Regions

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