Maine Fishing License Costs: Your Complete Guide

Fishing is a popular outdoor recreational activity in Maine that attracts over 1 million anglers annually. However, to legally fish the state’s vast freshwater and saltwater areas, anglers aged 16 and above need to have the proper fishing license. This guide will provide a comprehensive overview of the fishing licenses required in Maine, associated costs and fees, and how to obtain them.

Types of Fishing Licenses in Maine

Maine offers several types of fishing licenses for both residents and non-residents. The license type determines what species you can fish for, in which areas, and for what duration.

Resident Licenses

Residents are defined as people who have lived in Maine for at least 6 consecutive months prior to applying for a license. Some of the common resident fishing license options include:

  • Annual Resident Fishing License – Allows fishing in inland waters for all species except Atlantic salmon. Valid for calendar year. Fee: $25.
  • Combination Hunting & Fishing License – Allows inland fishing and hunting of legal species in season. Valid for calendar year. Fee: $43.
  • Lifetime License – One-time purchase for permanent fishing privileges in inland waters. Various fees based on applicant’s age.
  • Special Privilege Licenses – Offered at no cost to disabled veterans, Native Americans, and residents over 70 years old. Valid for 2 years.

Non-Resident Licenses

Non-residents are people who have lived in Maine for less than 6 consecutive months. Some common non-resident fishing license options are:

  • Annual Non-Resident License – Allows fishing in inland waters for all species except Atlantic salmon. Valid for calendar year. Fee: $64.
  • 7-Day Non-Resident License – Valid for 7 consecutive days from date of issue. Inland waters only. Fee: $43.
  • 3-Day Non-Resident License – Valid for 3 consecutive days from date of issue. Inland waters only. Fee: $23.
  • 1-Day Non-Resident License – Valid for single calendar day specified on license. Inland waters only. Fee: $11.
  • Alien License – Required for non-U.S. citizens without a valid permanent or temporary U.S. residency permit. Same privileges as annual non-resident license. Fee: $84.

Additional Fishing License Requirements

Beyond the standard fishing licenses, certain other permits and fees may be required to fish particular Maine water bodies and species:

  • Atlantic Salmon License – Mandatory for fishing Atlantic salmon in inland and coastal waters. Available through lottery. Fee: $15.
  • Lake and River Protection Sticker – Required when fishing with motorboats on inland waters. Exceptions for disabled veterans and paddlecraft. Fee: $20 for motorboats under 10 horsepower, $30 for 10 horsepower or greater.
  • Saltwater Registry – Required for recreationally fishing coastal waters. Exemptions for children and lifetime license holders. Fee: $10 for residents, $30 for non-residents.

How to Get a Maine Fishing License

Maine fishing licenses can be obtained through the following methods:

Online

Licenses can be purchased online through the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife’s electronic licensing system. Online purchases are fast, convenient and licenses can be printed immediately.

In-Person

Licenses can also be bought in-person at certain approved agent locations such as town clerk offices, fishing and hunting stores, large retailers like L.L.Bean, and some campgrounds.

By Mail

To get a license by mail, you need to download and print the appropriate application form from the IF&W website. Completed forms with payment should then be mailed to the IF&W main office in Augusta. Allow sufficient processing time.

Fishing License Cost Summary

Below is a quick reference table summarizing some of the common fishing license fees in Maine:

License Type Fee
Annual Resident $25
Combination Hunting & Fishing (Resident) $43
Lifetime License (under age 6) $150
Annual Non-resident $64
7-Day Non-resident $43
Lake & River Protection Sticker (10 HP or more) $30

Fishing Regulations Overview

When fishing Maine waters, anglers need to follow certain regulations regarding daily bag limits, size restrictions, and seasonal closures for particular species. Key general inland waters regulations include:

  • 5 fish aggregate bag limit per day on trout, salmon, togue, and black bass unless otherwise restricted
  • Minimum legal lengths for keeping various species
  • Ice fishing season from January 1st to March 31st
  • Special regulations on certain remote ponds – check current law book

Saltwater recreational fishing also has species-specific bag limits, size limits, and seasonal restrictions outlined on the Maine Saltwater Recreational Fishing Laws summary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to some common questions about obtaining a recreational fishing license in Maine:

How much does a basic resident fishing license cost?

A basic annual resident fishing license costs $25. This allows fishing for all inland species except Atlantic salmon.

What additional fees apply for fishing with a motorboat?

A Lake and River Protection Sticker is required to use a motorboat on inland waters. This is $20 for boats under 10 HP and $30 for 10 HP or greater.

Where can I buy a license in-person?

Licenses can be purchased in-person at certain approved agent locations like town clerk offices, tackle shops, large retailers (L.L. Bean), and some campgrounds.

Is an Atlantic salmon license included?

No, a separate Atlantic Salmon license ($15) is required and must be obtained through an annual lottery due to limited supply.

Do I need a fishing license to catch smelt and bait fish?

No, recreational harvesting of smelt, baitfish, and cusk does not require a fishing license in Maine. However, gear type restrictions do apply.

Is a license required for saltwater fishing?

Saltwater anglers need a $10 annual Saltwater Registry or valid lifetime license. Those under 16 or over 70 are exempt from this requirement.

Conclusion

As this guide outlines, several resident and non-resident fishing license options are available in Maine at various price points. Anglers must also adhere to species-specific regulations and acquire certain supplemental stamps or registrations depending on factors like fishing location and use of a motorboat. Review the official Maine IF&W Fishing Laws for complete regulations before heading out on the water.

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