Marine Waters Fishing License
What is a Marine Waters Fishing License (MWFL) and who is required to have one?
The Marine Waters Fishing License (also known as a Saltwater Fishing License) is an annual sport fishing license issued on a calendar year basis. Anyone age 16 or older, fishing (taking or attempting to take fish or bait species) from shore or from a boat in the marine district of this state or landing marine fish or bait species in Connecticut taken from offshore waters is required to have one.
Please see: Can I fish in federal waters or in another state’s waters with a Connecticut Marine Waters license? and Can I fish in Connecticut's marine waters if I hold a marine fishing license in another state?
Where can I get a Marine Waters Fishing License?
Most of our fishing and hunting licenses are available on our website through the Online Sportsmen Licensing System. Licenses are also available at some DEEP offices and participating Town Clerks and retail vendors. Please see the Marine License section of our Permits and Licenses page for more information.
How much does the license cost?
The fee is $10 for residents age 16-64, the license is free for residents age 65 and older, and $15 for non-residents age 16 and older.
Will anglers age 65 and older be required to get the Marine Waters Fishing License every year?
Yes. The license is free for resident anglers age 65 and older, but a new license must be obtained every year. This is needed to meet the requirements for exemption from a federal registry.
Are combination licenses available with hunting or freshwater fishing?
Yes. A number of combination licenses are available. See the Permits and Licenses page.
Why do I need to supply my full name, phone number, and address when purchasing a MWFL?
Under an exemption agreement between DEEP and NOAA, DEEP is required to submit to the National Saltwater Angler Registry complete and accurate contact information for each angler holding a Connecticut MWFL. Using angler information from the Registry, NOAA’s MRIP program randomly surveys anglers about their fishing habits.
Can I fish in federal waters or in another state’s waters with a Connecticut Marine Waters Fishing License (MWFL)?
The following is provided for general guidance only. Always check with the state you plan to fish in for the latest licensing requirements.
Federal waters: Yes. Connecticut MWFL holders will be exempt from the federal registry requirement. However, if you intend to take tunas, sharks, swordfish or billfish in federal waters, you must also have the appropriate federal Highly Migratory Species (HMS) permit. NOAA HMS website
New York: Yes. Note the following text provided on NYDEC web site as of April 2012: “You do not need to register if you are a Connecticut or Rhode Island resident who has a marine waters fishing license from their respective states.” For more information visit the NYDEC website: www.dec.ny.gov/permits/54950.html.
RI: Yes. RI DEM website: www.saltwater.ri.gov/
NH: No. Fish and Game website: www.wildlife.state.nh.us/marine/faqs.html
MA: Yes. MA DMF website: www.mass.gov/marinefisheries
ME: Yes. ME DMR website: www.maine.gov/dmr/recreational-fishing/licenses/index.html
OTHER States: No, UNLESS that state does not have a marine or saltwater fishing license requirement. In such cases a valid MWFL (Marine Waters Fishing License) from Connecticut (or any other exempt state) will satisfy the federal registry requirement.
Can I fish in Connecticut's marine waters if I hold a marine fishing license in another state?
Yes. Under reciprocity agreements with Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York, anglers holding a valid marine fishing license in any of these states may fish in the marine district and land marine fish in this state (CT). Note that Connecticut residents must hold a valid Connecticut marine waters fishing license to fish in this state.
If I enroll in the federal registry can I fish in Connecticut's marine waters?
No. Anglers must either have a valid CT, MA, RI, ME or NY marine fishing license to fish in Connecticut's marine waters.
What is the federal registry?
Effective January 1, 2010, federal law requires marine anglers to register with the National Saltwater Angler Registry Program unless the angler is exempted by having a marine waters fishing license issued by a state with a qualified licensing program. Connecticut’s MWFL is designed to satisfy the requirements for an exemption from the federal registry. The registry requirement is part of a major effort to improve the quality of recreational fishery statistics used in fisheries management. For more information on the federal registry visit: www.countmyfish.noaa.gov
Are there exceptions to the Marine Waters Fishing License requirement?
Yes. Passengers on a party or charter fishing vessel registered as such with CT DEEP and fishing in the marine district are exempt from the license requirement.
Do I have to carry my license with me when fishing?
Yes. Like all licenses, the holder must have a valid license in his/her possession.
Does the revenue from this license go back to my sport?
Yes. State and federal law requires that all revenue from hunting and fishing licenses be used exclusively to support fish and wildlife conservation programs.
When did the Marine Waters Fishing License become law?
The bill containing the marine license requirement was signed into law July 1, 2009. The license requirement became effective the same day.
Will there be special (free) lifetime licenses available for blind, intellectually disabled and certain physically disabled anglers?
Yes. Saltwater anglers will be extended the same benefits as freshwater anglers. See the Permits and Licenses page or contact DEEP License and Revenue (860-424-3105) for more information regarding these special lifetime licenses.
Where is the demarcation line between the Inland and Marine districts?
See the Demarcation Page or page 46 of the Connecticut Fishing Guide.
A license is required to take fish or bait species. What are bait species?
The list of “bait species” includes several fish species found in the marine district: banded killifish, mummichug, striped killifish, tidewater silverside, Atlantic silverside, sand lance or "sand eels", bay anchovy, sheepshead minnow, and mullet species. Additionally, green crabs, fiddler crabs, hermit crabs, Asian or Japanese shore crab, and several shrimp species are listed as bait species.
Do I need a license to take blue crabs?
No. A license is NOT required to take blue crabs in either the marine or inland district.
Do I need a Marine Waters license to take squid using a squid jig?
No. Squid jigs are not capable of catching fish or bait species, therefore no license is required.
Is this license required to have fish on my vessel in Connecticut waters if I am just transiting through?
No. For example you may take fish in Rhode Island or New York waters and transit through Connecticut waters to land the fish in Westerly on the Pawcatuck River without a Connecticut license. Note that Connecticut regulations governing minimum size, creel limit and open/closed seasons are possession limits and anglers must be in compliance with those laws whenever they are on the waters in this state – even just transiting through - or on any parcel of land, structure, or portion of a roadway abutting tidal waters of this state.
Do I need a Marine Waters license if I am commercial fishing?
No. The Marine Waters license is a sport fishing license only. Commercial fishing is licensed separately.
Is a Marine Waters License required for the recreational use of cast nets, minnow traps, dip nets, umbrella nets, seines, eel pots and spearfishing?
Yes. A Marine Waters license is required to take fish and bait species in the marine district by any of these methods.
Do I also need a Marine Waters License to take fish under my Personal Use (10 pot) Lobster License?
No. Personal Use Lobster License holders are permitted to take fish following recreational harvest limits. Harvest of finfish from lobster traps must be reported along with lobster harvest in the annual catch reports submitted to DEEP.
Do I also need a Marine Waters license to take fish under my Personal Use (<60 ft) Menhaden Only Gillnet License?
No. The Personal Use Gillnet License authorizes the holder to take menhaden only, which are reported through annual catch reports submitted to DEEP.
Content last updated March 2020