Saltwater Fishing Guide

Bait Species, Crab, Lobster, Shellfish Regulations

For additional information, refer to the Marine Fisheries Information Circular or call the Marine Fisheries Program at: 860-434-6043.

Recreational Fishing for Bait Species, Lobster, Crab, and Shellfish

Bait Species
  • Recreational marine fishing license required to take bait within the marine district.
  • Species that may be taken:
    • Menhaden (see Menhaden below)
    • Striped Killifish and Banded Killifish
    • Atlantic Silverside
    • Tidewater Silverside
    • Mummichogs
    • Sea Herring (Atlantic Herring)
    • Sand Lances (Sand Eels)
    • American Eel
    • Sea Lamprey
    • Bay Anchovy
    • Mullet Species
    • Sheepshead Minnow
    • Shrimp Species
    • Green, Fiddler, Asian Shore and Hermit Crabs
  • Net and traps which may be used in the marine district to catch bait species:
    • Cast Nets.
    • Minnow Traps: no larger than 20″ long by 15″ in diameter.
    • Umbrella Nets: not more than 4 ft. in length by 4 ft. in width.
    • Scoop or Scap Nets: no larger than 36″ in diameter.
    • Seines: no longer than 30 feet in length.
    • Up to two eel pots.
    • Hook and line.
    • By hand.
Menhaden (Bunker)
  • Personal Use Gillnet License required ($100.00)
  • Annual Report of Catch
    • See Personal Use Gillnet License Guidelines for a complete list of requirements.
    • Information: call 860-434-6043, ask for the Personal Use Menhaden Gillnet License Guidelines.
  • Legal Menhaden Capture Methods
    • Use of a single gillnet, not more than 60 feet in length and 3 inch minimum mesh size.
  • Prohibited
    • The taking of any species other than menhaden.
  • Personal Use Lobster License required ($60.00).
  • Annual Report of Catch required.
  • See Guidelines for Personal Use Lobster Fishing for a list of requirements.
  • Information: call 860-434-6043, ask for the Guidelines for Personal Use Lobster Fishing in Connecticut.
  • Lobster Gauges can be purchased ($4) at the Marine Fisheries office in Old Lyme or from DEEP Licensing at: 79 Elm Street, 1st Floor, Hartford, CT 06106-5127; 860-424-3105.
  • Legal Lobster Capture Methods:
    • Ten pots or less (pot tags required)
    • Skin Diving
    • SCUBA Diving
    • Hand Capturing
Blue Crab
  • Blue Crab Fact Sheet
  • No license required.
  • All devices must be attended at all times.
  • Legal Blue Crab Capture Methods:
    • Scoop Net, Hand Line, Dip Net, Trot Line.
    • Star Crab Trap (or similar device).
    • Circular Topless Trap (not exceeding 26″ in diameter).
    • Semi-Circular Cylindrical Trap (12″ or less in diameter)
  • Open Season
    • May 1 – November 30.
  • Minimum Shell Width: (spike tip to spike tip)
    • 5″ hard shell crabs
    • 3½” soft shell crabs
  • Prohibited
    • Possession of uncooked blue crab meat without the body shell attached.
    • Possession of more than 2 claws per body.
    • Possession of egg bearing females.
    • Chesapeake-style crabs traps.
Jonah Crab
  • No license required.
  • For personal use only; not for sale.
  • 50 crabs per day.
  • Possession of egg bearing females prohibited.
  • No license required if taken using a squid jig.
  • For personal use only.
  • Not for sale.
  • DEEP does not issue shellfish licenses.
  • Town Shellfishing License required.
  • Contact the town where you plan to harvest shellfish for permit information.
  • Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Aquaculture Shellfishing information at 203-874-0696. email:
  • Species Include:
    • Mussels
    • Oysters
    • Clams
    • Scallops


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Please contact the Fisheries Division with any questions. 

Phone: 860-434-6043

Content last updated January 2021