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Get Your Massachusetts Fishing License in 3 Easy Steps

Are you eager to cast a line in Massachusetts’ beautiful waters but unsure how to get your fishing license? Look no further! As an avid angler with years of experience navigating the Bay State’s licensing process, I’m here to guide you through the steps to obtain your Massachusetts fishing license quickly and easily. Whether you’re a resident or non-resident, 16 or 60, this comprehensive guide has you covered.

Who Needs a Massachusetts Fishing License?

Before we dive into the specifics, let’s clarify who needs a fishing license in Massachusetts:

  • All anglers 16 years and older must have a license to fish in Massachusetts waters, with a few exceptions:
    • Anglers under 16
    • Anglers fishing on permitted for-hire vessels (charter/head boats)
    • Anglers who meet the definition of a disabled person under MA law
  • Residents 16-59 need a paid license, while those 60+ can get a free permit (still required)
  • Non-residents 16+ need a paid license, regardless of age

It’s crucial to note that separate licenses are required for freshwater and saltwater fishing. A combination license is not available.

Types of Massachusetts Fishing Licenses

Massachusetts offers two main types of licenses: freshwater and saltwater. Here’s a breakdown of each:

Freshwater Fishing License

  • Required for fishing in inland waters like lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams
  • Issued by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife)
  • Free for residents aged 15-17 and 70+
  • Annual resident license (18-69): $27.50
  • Annual non-resident license: $37.50
  • 3-day and 1-day options available

Saltwater Fishing Permit

  • Required for fishing in MA marine waters, including up to the first dam in coastal rivers
  • Issued by the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF)
  • $10 for both residents and non-residents aged 16-59
  • Free for anglers 60+ (permit still required)
  • Permits expire annually on December 31

How to Get Your Massachusetts Fishing License

Now that you know what license you need, let’s walk through how to get it. Massachusetts offers three convenient methods:

1. Online via MassFishHunt

The quickest and easiest option is to purchase your license online through the MassFishHunt system:

  1. Create an account or log in
  2. Select the desired license type
  3. Provide necessary information and pay the fee
  4. Print your license or save a digital copy

Note: Online purchases include a small convenience fee.

2. In Person at a License Agent Location

You can buy a license in person at various approved license vendor locations across the state, including some:

  • MassWildlife offices
  • DMF offices in Gloucester and New Bedford
  • Select sporting goods stores and tackle shops

Be sure to bring a valid form of ID. Most locations accept cash, check, and credit cards.

3. By Phone

Licenses can also be purchased over the phone by calling 1-866-703-1925:

  1. Provide the required information to the representative
  2. Pay the fee using a credit card
  3. A printed license will be mailed to you

Reciprocity with Neighboring States

If you plan to fish in neighboring states, it’s important to know about Massachusetts’ reciprocity agreements. Your MA saltwater permit allows you to fish in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Maine (MA to ME only).

However, be sure to check each state’s specific regulations, as they may differ from Massachusetts’.


Obtaining your Massachusetts fishing license is a simple process that grants you access to some of the best fishing on the East Coast. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you’ll be ready to hit the water in no time.

Always keep your license with you when fishing, respect local regulations and bag limits, and practice responsible angling. Your license fees directly support conservation efforts, fish stocking, and improved access—so you’re not just buying a permit; you’re investing in the future of Massachusetts’ fisheries.

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