Get Hooked: How to Apply for a Massachusetts Fishing License

As an avid angler, I can attest to the joy and tranquility that come with a day spent by the water, rod in hand. But beyond personal satisfaction, holding a valid fishing license is a testament to our commitment to conservation efforts, ensuring that our waterways teem with life for years to come. In Massachusetts, the path to legal fishing is marked by a few important steps and considerations.

Do You Need a Fishing License?

Before you bait your hook, it’s crucial to determine if you need a fishing license. In the Bay State, anyone aged 16 and older must be licensed to fish in freshwater bodies and many saltwater areas. Yet, there are a few exceptions to this rule:

  • Children under 16 are free to fish without a license, fostering a love for the sport from a young age.
  • Military veterans with a disability rating of 60% or more can obtain a fishing license at no cost, a small token of gratitude for their service.
  • The state’s Free Fishing Weekend in June is a celebration of the sport, allowing everyone to fish license-free.

If you’re not covered by these exemptions, securing a license should be your next port of call before setting sail for your fishing adventure.

Charting the Course: Applying For A Fishing License

Navigating the waters of the application process is straightforward:

  1. Select your license type: freshwater, saltwater, combination, or lobster; each has its own allure.
  2. Decide on the duration: Licenses are available for one, three, or seven-year spans, accommodating both the occasional angler and the seasoned pro.
  3. Prepare your documents. Proof of residency and identity, such as a driver’s license, state ID, or utility bill, will be your bait.
  4. Cast your application: Use the MassFishHunt system online or visit a local vendor to submit your application.
  5. Settle the fee. Costs vary, but consider it an investment in both your hobby and our aquatic ecosystems.

With your license in hand, it becomes your golden ticket to the state’s waterways. Keep it close, as you never know when you’ll need to present it to a conservation officer.

Special Fishing Events

Massachusetts also hosts special events that waive the license requirement:

  • The Marine Fisheries FishCount event is a chance to fish for free in designated areas, making for a perfect family outing.
  • Free Youth Fishing Derbies encourage the next generation of anglers, allowing children to fish without a license.

These events are golden opportunities for those looking to dip their toes into the world of fishing.


Securing a fishing license in Massachusetts is a breeze, but it’s a critical step in your fishing preparations. Adhering to the regulations not only supports our aquatic habitats but also ensures that the thrill of the catch can be passed down through generations. So, gear up, get licensed, and enjoy the bounty that Massachusetts waters have to offer. Here’s to tight lines and the stories that follow!

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