Thank you for visiting the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department website. NH Fish and Game





Baitfish Species and Import Rules


Approved Baitfish Species: Possession, Importation and Release

NH 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)


Importation of Finfish for Bait (Fis 502.07)
Licensed bait dealers shall obtain a permit from the NH 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 commersonii, common/white sucker
  • Erimyzon oblongus, Eastern creek, chub sucker
  • Fundulus sp., tomcod/killifish
  • Notemigonus crysoleucas, golden shiner/Arkansas shiner
  • Luxilis cornutus, common shiner
  • Notropis hudsonius, spottail shiner
  • Hybognathus regius, Hunt's shiner/Eastern silvery minnow
  • Notropis atherinoides, emerald shiner
  • Couesius plumbeus, lake chub
  • Semotilus atromaculatus, creek chub
  • Semotilus corporalis, fallfish
  • Osmerus mordax, rainbow smelt [See Fis 502.07 (c) paragraph (i)]


Live fish imported for use as freshwater fishing bait may only be imported from states with an aquatic invasive species monitoring program approved in advance of the importation by the executive director, and meeting the testing criteria contained in Fis 803.09 and Fis 803.10.


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.