Approved Baitfish Species: Possession, Importation and Release

N.H. laws and Fish and Game rules related to:

Importing and Releasing Wildlife (RSA 207:14)
No person shall import, possess, sell, exhibit, or release any live marine species or wildlife, or the eggs or progeny thereof, without first obtaining a permit from the NH Fish and Game Department's Executive Director.

Possession and Use of Live Fish for Bait (Fis 402.08)
Only the following species shall be possessed and used as live fish for bait when fishing any freshwaters of the state:

Common name (Scientific name)
Rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax)
Longnose dace (Rhinichthys cataractae)
Blacknose dace (Rhinichthys atratulus)
Northern redbelly dace (Phoxinus eos)
Lake chub (Couesius plumbeus)
Creek chub (Semotilius atromaculatus)
Fallfish (Semotilius corporalis)
Golden shiner (Notemigonus crysoleucas)
Common shiner (Luxilus cornutus)
Emerald shiner (Notropis atherinoides)
Spottail shiner (Notropis hudsonius)
Silvery minnow (Hybognathus nuchalis)
Creek chubsucker (Erimyzon oblongus)
Longnose sucker (Catostomus catostomus)
White sucker (Catostomus commersoni)
Killifish/tomcod (Fundulus sp.)

[NOTE: Fis 402.08 effective on January 1, 2009]
Importation of Finfish for Bait (Fis 502.07)
Licensed bait dealers shall obtain a permit from the N.H. Fish and Game Department (Fis 1104.07) before importing any shipment or lot of baitfish from hatchery sources or wild stock. Such permits shall be issued to import only:

Scientific name, Common name
Catostomus commersoni, common/white sucker
Erimyzon oblonguscreek chub sucker
Fundulus sp., tomcod/killifish
Notemigonus crysoleucas, golden shiner/Arkansas shiner
Notropis cornutu, common shiner
Notropis hudsonius, spot tail shiner
Hybagnathus regius, Hunt's shiner/silvery minnow
Notropis atherinoides, emerald shiner
Couesius plumbeus, Northern/lake chub
Semotilus atromaculatus, Northern creek chub
Semotilus corporalis, fallfish
Osmerus mordax, rainbow smelt (See Fis 502.07 (c) paragraph (h))

No baitfish shall be imported from states known to have waters infested with zebra mussels or from states which allow the import of baitfish from states infested with zebra mussels unless the source of baitfish is approved free of zebra mussels (Fis 502.09 and Fis 502.10).

Release of Fish (Fis 402.06)
(a) No live fish shall be released in any waters of the state unless they shall be returned into the waters from where taken except as permitted by the executive director under a permit to release specified in Fis 805.

(b) No person shall have live lake trout, landlocked salmon, brook trout, black bass, northern pike, or black crappie in their possession, except if the person is participating in a permitted bass tournament, or holds a current aquaculture permit, importation permit, possession permit or permit to release for the fish in possession. [NOTE: Fis 402.06 (b) effective January 1, 2011]


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NH Fish and Game Dept.
11 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03301

603-271-3421
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