Fishing and Shellfishing

The NSRWA offers opportunities to fish or shellfish with us at various times of year. Check out our events page for the current information on when!


Many popular recreationally fished species can be found in the rivers, including striped bass, menhaden, and bluefish, particularly near the mouth of the North and South Rivers at “the Spit”. In the freshwater portions of the rivers, brook trout, large and small mouth bass and other freshwater species can be found.

Saltwater fishing now requires a $10 license in most circumstances (children under 16 don’t require a permit). If you are fishing in the North River, a saltwater license is required below the Rt. 3 bridge. Above the bridge a freshwater permit is required. All fees go toward managing recreational fishing resources. 

Reminder: It is illegal to catch river herring in the state of Massachusetts!

Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries Saltwater Recreational Fishing Guide


The clam flats in both the North and South Rivers are now open starting November 1.
They generally close by May 31st unless there is a Red Tide. 

North River Shellfishing Map              South River Shellfishing Map

north-river-clam-beds-open-11-1-16    south-river-clam-beds-open-11-1-16

Please visit the Division of Marine Fisheries website for more information.

The North River shellfish beds are open from the 3A bridge to the mouth. The beds are only open to residents with a valid shellfish permit.

The towns of Scituate and Marshfield, in cooperation with the Division of Marine Fisheries, do shellfish seeding. After seeding, recreational shellfishing is closed. This is often done in June so the shellfish beds are closed before then to allow for the seeding program.  Water quality is still good but shellfishing is prohibited due to the seeding project.

The NSRWA’s role in opening shellfish beds

In spring of 2011, the South River shellfish beds reopened after twenty years of closures. Over the past two decades, we have together worked with the Towns of Scituate and Marshfield to improve water quality by increasing treatment of polluted runoff from rainstorms; upgrading septic systems; and extending the sewer system in Marshfield. Over the past 5 years, in order to open the beds the water quality had to be tested consistently to prove that water quality had improved to safe shellfishing levels. The town of Marshfield’s Harbormaster stepped up to help ensure that the Division of Marine Fisheries could collect that data consistently. We appreciate both the Town of Marshfield and Division of Marine Fisheries persistence in making the opening a reality. And of course thank you to our members for supporting the cause of cleaner water!