The Pine Tree State is known for being one of the lushest states, thanks to the over 40,000 acres of wild blueberries, but did you know that it’s an exceptional angler’s destination? I discovered this last year when I finally explored its long, rocky Atlantic Coast. Maine has some of the best striped bass in the country, which gave me quite a challenge because the equipment I brought was geared toward trout fishing. But I won’t make the same mistake next time I visit Maine.
So, I’ve got Maine striper fishing on my bucket list, I’m figuring between the second week of June and July. After all, it is the best time for anyone looking for a trophy catch.
If this interests you, spend a little bit of time getting up to speed with the fishing rules and regulations and, most importantly, the requirements for a Maine fishing license. For more details on fishing in Maine, please read on.
- Resident season fishing license (over 16 years old): $25
- Non-resident season fishing license (over 16 years old): $64
- 15-day non-resident fishing license: $47
- 7-day non-resident fishing license: $43
- 3-day non-resident fishing license: $23
- 1-day resident fishing license: $11
- 1-day non-resident fishing license: $11
Here is a link to the Maine website to learn more about Maine fishing licenses.
Yes, unlike most states with a single free fishing day, Maine has more than three free fishing days when everyone can enjoy fishing. Therefore, you can easily cast your fishing line on one of its free fishing days, June 3-4 and February 18-19. Finally, get a feel of one of the world’s most relaxing activities. (source)
Therefore, if you have never tried winter fishing, you can have fun with your family members and pals on February 18-19. If summer fishing is your thing, you should visit Pine Tree State in June for exceptional summer fishing experiences. The Free Fishing weekends can come in handy if you plan on extending your fishing days in Maine for free. You can include the weekend in your scheduled short-term fishing days by purchasing your license after the weekend.
During the free fishing weekends, every angler, except the ones whose licenses have been revoked, can fish without a license. Remember, the other regulations and laws still apply on the free fishing days.
Yes, during the free fishing weekends, the state-owned waters are usually open to everyone in the state, including the non-resident.
Guide Pro Tip: Let me help you find the best waters to cast a fly in Maine with a complete guide. Check out this article 👉 The Best Places to Fly Fish in Maine (with Maps)
Anyone over 16 years requires a license to fish in Maine, and you must have it when fishing or transporting some fish. After all, the landowner, guide, department team member, or warden may ask for your license anytime. Fortunately, Maine understands that you can misplace or forget your physical permit at home. Luckily, they introduced an electronic license that you can present anytime.
In 2019, Maine started recognizing folks outside the United States as non-residents and giving them the non-resident license instead of the alien one. Plus, non-resident students between 18-24 years old enrolled in Maine colleges can apply for a resident fishing license.
If you purchase a 15-day fishing non-resident license and wish to upgrade to a season fishing license, you can do it in Maine. You have to pay $17 and an agent fee, and you’re good to go. Some of the most common types of license in Maine include:
If you love fishing in Maine and want access to its waters for the rest of your life, then you should try the lifetime license. For a senior lifetime license, you can pay a one-time fee of about $8 and fish for free for the rest of your life. With a lifetime license, you can also hunt; therefore, you will enjoy more than one sport at a discounted price.
If you’re over 70 years, then you won’t have to pay the above fee for your lifetime license. Instead, all the benefits will be included in your package for free every year. (source)
For this license, you must be a resident of Maine. The Superpack license permits you to fish and hunt in all the state-owned waters in Maine, but you have to stick to the rules and regulations of Maine when fishing. The Superpack license includes coyote, bear, turkey, pheasant, migratory waterfowl, and night hunt.
There are several types of fishing licenses in Maine, designed for non-residents and residents who plan on fishing in Maine. Maine has a package for everyone, including those seeking a short-term permit. So here is a table of the price of all the Maine fishing licenses: (source)
|Season fishing license (over 16 years)||$25||$64|
|Combined fishing and hunting license||$43||$150|
|Serviceman-dependent fishing license||$10||N/A|
|1-day fishing license||$11||$11|
|3-day fishing license||N/A||$23|
|7-day fishing license||N/A||$53|
|15-day fishing license||N/A||$47|
|Duplicate obtained from the issuing agent||$2||$2|
|Superpack Fishing license||$201||N/A|
Unlike some states, Maine has several local retailers selling their fishing licenses; therefore, you can easily find an agent selling them. If you’re in Maine, you can get your license from some of their many agents, including turnpike service centers, town clerks, convenience stores, and sporting goods stores. You can even visit the Department offices in Augusta, Maine, and get your license. Remember, not every town clerk sells non-resident licenses; therefore, you may have to visit an agent to get your non-resident license.
But if you plan on visiting this state in the near future, you can purchase your fishing license online through this link. (source).
In fact, anyone, including the residents, can get their licenses online and pay using their credit cards. But you will have to print your license if you prefer to use something other than the electronic version after purchasing it.
Generally, fishing licenses in Walmart cost about the same as they would at the issuing offices. Still, you may have to pay a processing or issuance fee in most stores. The processing fee is usually about 50 cents, but senior anglers can get a discount. Therefore, a non-resident fishing license should go for approximately $25.50 in most stores.
Where Can I Get the Fishing Regulations For Maine?
Every state has its unique fishing regulations that every angler must follow. And to make it easier for anglers, the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife department of Maine has divided the state’s waters into two regions. These are the northern and southern regions, with some waters having special rules and regulations.
Here’s a shortcut link to the FREE Downloadable Maine Fishing Regulations 👉 Maine Inland Fishing Laws
Maine has two sets of rules you must follow as an angler. General rules and regulations apply to all their waters, especially those open from January to December every year. The second set of regulations features some special rules that apply to specific water bodies in Maine.
The particular laws and regulations stipulate when you should fish in certain water bodies and the bag limit. It also shows you which species you can take home every time you cast your line. Remember carrying a prohibited species is illegal, and you can be penalized for that.
Therefore, you need to go through these regulations before fishing in Maine. Fortunately, Maine’s fisheries and wildlife department has made it easier for anglers to access the list of rules and regulations. You can find these fishing regulations on their website using the following link. (source) You can find the fishing laws here.
Unlike most states, Maine hasn’t grouped anglers according to age; instead, it offers a fishing license to anyone over 16. Therefore, anyone over 16 years old, both non-residents and residents, need a fishing license to cast their line in the state’s waters. The youth under 16 years can fish for free in Maine.
Therefore, the seniors don’t get a discount in Maine; instead, they apply for a regular fishing license.
Generally, short-term fishing licenses, like the 7-day fishing license, expire after a week, so you may have to purchase another license if you’re still in Maine. But the season fishing license expires on December 31 of the year you purchased it, irrespective of when you bought it. On the other hand, the lifetime fishing license can last for your entire life, but it’s continually renewed yearly.
Yes, everyone can fish without a license during the free fishing weekend. During the free fishing days, anyone can cast their lines and fish without a license, but if you have a revoked license, you wouldn’t be allowed to fish. Therefore, if you have a revoked license, you will have to wait for reinstatement before joining your friend for free fishing days.
On the other hand, anyone under 16 years old can fish for free in Maine, which means that your kids can tag along, and you won’t have to pay more to teach them how to fish.
Yes, in Maine, you can fish for sturgeon, steelhead, and salmon on private property without a fishing license. But you will have to get permission from the owner; remember, trespassing is illegal in the United States.
Maine is also one of the few states that allow you to fish from private land in public waters without a license. You can fish without a license if public waters border or pass through your property. Other states stipulate that the pond should not have an inlet or outlet to be considered a privately-owned pond.
Fishing without a license classifies under class E crimes. Therefore, every day you fish without a license, you will face a fine of about $50; plus, an amount authorities will impose twice the application fee on you. (source) For details on the penalty for breaking a fishing law in Maine, click the following link.
As aforementioned, Maine’s waters are split into two zones (North and South zones), each with its unique fishing seasons and set of rules. For instance, you can use all legal bait and artificial flies in the south zone, while you can only use artificial lures and live bait in North Zone. (source)
These regions have different general fishing dates, bag limits, brook trout bag limits, and terminal gear restrictions. The region has two zones with varying laws because the North Zone features an abundance of native and wild cold-water fish populations. In contrast, the South Zone features warm water or/and stocked fisheries.
Therefore the difference in the rules and regulations reflects the management requirements of these zones. These rules offer extra protection to the native and wild resources in the Northern parts of the state while providing more fishing opportunities to anglers.
Generally, the ponds and lakes in the North Zone are open between April 1 and September 30, while in the South Zone, they are open all year round. On the other hand, Maine’s brooks, streams, and rivers are closed to fishing from October 1 to March 31. They’re open between April 1 and August 15, but you can only use artificial lures between August 16 and September 30. (source)
Thanks to the fish population and the need to protect the native resources, some lakes and rivers have different fishing seasons. For instance:
Situated in the North Zone, particularly in Brownville, the Abbee Pond is a fantastic water body that isn’t open all year round. Instead, it’s open to ice fishing in November, but the togue, landlocked salmon and trout must be released as soon as caught. This pond is open to water fishing between October 1 and the end of November. Still, the use of live baitfish is prohibited. (source)
The general fishing laws apply to many Abbott Brook in Lincoln Plt in the northern zone. But the stretch from Route-16 Bridge to its confluence with River Magalloway is only open to fly fishing between August 16 and September 30. But even if you will be practicing fly fishing, you must release only some species like togue, landlocked salmon, and trout as soon as caught. (source)
The general fishing laws apply in River Allagash except from the Long-Lake dam to Allagash falls and its branches, where it’s open to artificial lure between August 16 and September 30. From the Falls to its confluence with St. John River, it’s available to muskellunge and bass only from October 1 and November 30. The Allagash Lake is closed to fishing from October 1 to the end of the year.
The Allagash Stream is open to general fishing all year round except between August 16 and September 30. During this time, the stretch from the red markers at the trestle near Chamberlain Lake and the Round Pond is closed to all fishing.
Situated in the north zone, the Badger pond adheres to the general fishing laws. Still, it is only open to ice fishing in November. Plus, from October 1 to November 30, the Badger Pond is open to open-water fishing. (source)
At the Beaver, pond fishing is prohibited from or in the fishway. In contrast, the Big wood pond is open to ice fishing at night for yellow perch, smelts, and cusks between December 1 and March 31. The Carlton Pond at Detroit, Troy, is open to ice fishing in November, while its stretch at Readfield, Winthrop, is closed to fishing all year.
Therefore, learning these special fishing rules can help you plan your next fishing trip to Maine well and even manage to catch the correct species. These rules can also help you avoid getting fined for exceeding your bag limit or catching a prohibited species. (source)
|Fish||Opening date||Closing date|
|General fishing||January 1||December 31|
|Salmon||April 1||August 15|
|Trout||April 1||August 15|
|Brook trout||April 1||September 30|
Maine has over 3,478 miles of coastline, and its 32 civil divisions have about 5,000 acres of water; therefore, you have more than enough fishing spots to choose from for your adventures. Some of the best places to fish in Maine include the Belgrade Lakes, a group of island-dotted lakes offering an exceptional fishing experience for anglers.
Other unique fishing spots include Sebago Lake, the Grand Lake Stream, Megunticook Lake, and Cobbosseecontee Lake. For more details on where you can fish in Maine, click this link.
Yes, most of the waters in Maine are open all year round and 24 hours per day. Plus, some ponds are open to ice fishing at night in winter; therefore, Maine can be an excellent destination for folks who love fishing at night in winter.
If the water is frozen, you can use a maximum of 5 rods, but you’re legally allowed to use only 2 rods when it’s not frozen. And if authorities catch you using over five poles, you may be fined.
Unlike most states, Maine doesn’t have a fishing license specifically for seniors and youths; instead, it has one type of fishing license for adults over 16 years old.
Looking to Learn the Tips and Techniques for the Fish You Love to Chase? I’ve Got You Hooked Up Below
- I love chasing brown trout, big lake run monsters, night time trophies and memories of big boys that got away. Read 👉 The Complete Guide to Fly Fishing for Brown Trout
- The Complete Guide to Fly Fishing for Rainbow Trout 👈 Steps through the gear, flies and setup for casting flies rainbow trout.
- I’m not sure if any fish is more beautiful than a brook trout. Learn how to find and fish for these beauties 👉 How To Fly Fish for Brook Trout
- The perfect evening for me is floating in a canoe on a tiny lake at that “Magic Hour” around sunset and casting to Bluegills. Read 👉 How To Fly Fish for Bluegill
- Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, License Requirement, and Fees, https://www.maine.gov/ifw/fishing-boating/fishing/laws-rules/license-requirements.html/ accessed October 9, 2022.
- Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, Fishing in Maine, https://www.maine.gov/ifw/fishing-boating/fishing/index.html/ accessed October 9, 2022.
- Maine Government, Moses Hunting & Fishing Licenses, https://www4.informe.org/cgi-bin/online/moses_v3/index/ accessed October 9, 2022.
- Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, General Fishing Laws and Definitions, https://www.maine.gov/ifw/fishing-boating/fishing/laws-rules/laws-definitions.html#laws/ accessed October 9, 2022.
- Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, Maine inland fishing laws, https://www.maine.gov/ifw/docs/20-MDIFW-30-Fishing-Lawbook-2021.pdf/ accessed October 9, 2022.
- General Fishing License, https://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/12/title12sec12501.html/ accessed October 9, 2022.
- Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, Statewide General Fishing Laws for Inland Waters, https://www.maine.gov/ifw/fishing-boating/fishing/laws-rules/statewide-laws.html/ accessed October 9, 2022.
Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, Maine inland fishing laws, https://www.maine.gov/ifw/docs/21-MDIFW-19-Fishing-Lawbook-2022.pdf/ accessed October 9, 2022.