Maine IF&W says Mainers can now go fishing without a license

A small boy fishing. Photo courtesy of Maine IF&W.

AUGUSTA – Want to go fishing? As Mainers continue to practice “social distancing”, Commissioner Judy Camuso at Maine’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department announced today that the state is waiving the requirement to have a fishing license to fish Maine’s inland waters through the end of April.

In a statement making the announcement, Maine IF & W said:

“To encourage Mainers to enjoy their outdoor resources and to support a happy, healthy Maine, Governor Mills and Commissioner Camuso are enacting the following changes effective immediately:Any person (except those whose license has been suspended or revoked) may fish without a license through April 30, 2020. This change does not apply to activities which require a commercial freshwater fishing license or permit.

All inland waters that traditionally open to open water fishing on April 1 will now be open to open water fishing effective immediately. This change does not open any body of water to ice fishing that is currently closed to ice fishing

All other tackle, length and bag limits and special regulations still apply. Click here to review the current fishing laws.”

The department also issued important safety guidelines as many of Maine’s waterways are still extremely cold or ice covered.


“Remember, Maine’s inland waters are very cold this time of year. It is recommended that paddlers wear dry suits when water temps are less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit, or wet suit when temps are between 50 and 60 degrees.

Be sure to wear a lifejacket on or near the water this time of year. Statistics show that most people who unexpected fall from a watercraft without a lifejacket will die. If you think you have enough time to get to your life jacket before a crash or incident, think again.

If you are going to be heading out onto frozen waterbodies please continue to use extreme caution. Accessing lakes and ponds should be avoided unless you can be certain of ice conditions by checking ice thickness.

Before stepping out, use a chisel or auger to test ice thickness in several places. Remember that ice seldom freezes uniformly and conditions are always changing and can vary from one location to the next. Ice that forms over flowing water and currents, especially near streams, bridges and culverts, can be particularly dangerous.”

The department also announced Mainers can find any fisheries and wildlife related updates from the department at:

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