Maine Fishing License Guide: Everything You Need to Know

Confused About Maine Fishing Licenses? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Are you an avid angler looking to explore the bountiful waters of Maine? Before you cast your line, it’s crucial to understand the state’s fishing license requirements. Navigating the various types of licenses, fees, and regulations can be overwhelming, but fear not! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about obtaining a Maine fishing license in 2024. Whether you’re a resident or visitor, a seasoned pro or a beginner, we’ve got you covered. So, grab your tackle box and let’s dive in!

Types of Maine Fishing Licenses

Maine offers several types of fishing licenses to cater to different angling needs. Here are the main categories:

  1. Resident Fishing License: If you’re a Maine resident, this is the license for you. It allows you to fish in all inland waters and tidal areas of the state.
  2. Non-Resident Fishing License: Visiting from out of state? You’ll need a non-resident fishing license to enjoy Maine’s fishing opportunities. Choose from options like a 1-day, 3-day, 7-day, or season-long license.
  3. Combination Fishing and Hunting License: For those who love both fishing and hunting, Maine offers a convenient combination license. It includes all the privileges of a fishing license plus hunting permissions.
  4. Senior Lifetime License: Maine residents aged 65 or older can purchase a senior lifetime fishing license at a discounted rate. It’s a one-time fee that grants fishing privileges for life.
  5. Youth Fishing License: Anglers under the age of 16 can obtain a youth fishing license at a reduced cost. It’s a great way to introduce kids to the joys of fishing while teaching them about conservation and responsibility.

How to Apply for a Maine Fishing License Online

Gone are the days of waiting in long lines or filling out paper forms. In 2024, applying for a Maine fishing license is a breeze thanks to the online application system. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Visit the official Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website at
  2. Click on the “Licenses & Permits” tab and select “Fishing” from the dropdown menu.
  3. Choose the appropriate license type based on your residency status and desired duration.
  4. Fill out the required personal information, including your name, address, date of birth, and contact details.
  5. Pay the license fee using a credit card or electronic check. Fees vary depending on the license type and duration.
  6. Once your payment is processed, you’ll receive an email confirmation with your digital fishing license. You can print it out or save it on your mobile device for easy access.

Applying online is not only convenient but also helps conserve paper and reduce waste. Plus, you can purchase your license anytime, anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection.

Maine Fishing License Fees and Durations

Now that you know how to apply for a Maine fishing license, let’s talk about the costs and validity periods. As of 2024, here are the fees for the most common license types:

  • Resident Fishing License: $25 for an annual license
  • Non-Resident Fishing License:
    • 1-Day: $11
    • 3-Day: $23
    • 7-Day: $43
    • Season (annual): $64
  • Combination Fishing and Hunting License: $42 for residents, $149 for non-residents
  • Senior Lifetime License: $8 for Maine residents aged 65 or older
  • Youth Fishing License: $7 for anglers under 16 years old

It’s important to note that these fees are subject to change, so always check the official Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website for the most up-to-date information.

Most licenses are valid for a specific duration, such as 1 day, 3 days, 7 days, or a full season (annual). The season-long licenses are typically valid from January 1st to December 31st of the same year. Senior lifetime licenses, as the name suggests, are valid for the lifetime of the license holder.

Exemptions and Special Regulations

While most anglers need a valid fishing license to fish in Maine’s waters, there are a few exemptions and special regulations to be aware of:

  1. Free Fishing Weekends: Twice a year, usually in February and June, Maine offers free fishing weekends where residents and non-residents can fish without a license. This is a great opportunity to try fishing for the first time or introduce someone new to the sport.
  2. Private Ponds: If you own a private pond or have written permission from the pond owner, you can fish there without a license. However, all other fishing regulations still apply.
  3. Tribal Lands: If you’re a member of a recognized Native American tribe in Maine, you may be exempt from certain fishing license requirements when fishing on tribal lands. Check with your tribal authorities for specific details.
  4. Disabled Veterans: Maine offers free fishing licenses for disabled veterans who meet certain criteria. Contact the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife for more information on eligibility and how to apply.
  5. Complimentary Licenses: In some cases, complimentary fishing licenses may be available for specific groups, such as disabled individuals or youth organizations. These licenses are issued on a case-by-case basis and have specific requirements.

It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with any exemptions or special regulations that may apply to your situation before heading out to fish.

Fishing Regulations and Restrictions

To ensure the sustainability of Maine’s fisheries and promote responsible angling, there are several regulations and restrictions that license holders must adhere to. Here are some key points:

  1. Bag Limits: Each water body in Maine has specific bag limits for different fish species. These limits determine how many fish of each species you can keep per day. Always check the regulations for the specific water body you plan to fish.
  2. Size Restrictions: Some fish species have minimum or maximum size limits to protect juvenile fish and maintain healthy populations. Measure your catch carefully and release any fish that don’t meet the size requirements.
  3. Seasons: Fishing seasons vary depending on the water body and fish species. Some waters may be closed to fishing during certain times of the year to protect spawning fish or sensitive habitats. Check the regulations before planning your fishing trip.
  4. Gear Restrictions: Maine has rules regarding the types of fishing gear allowed, such as hook and line, fly fishing only, or artificial lures only. Make sure you’re using the appropriate gear for the water body you’re fishing.
  5. Bait Regulations: There are restrictions on the use of live bait in some waters to prevent the spread of invasive species. Only use bait that is legal for the specific water body and dispose of any unused bait properly.
  6. Catch and Release: In some cases, you may be required to release your catch immediately. This is often the case with endangered or threatened species, or in waters with special conservation regulations. Handle the fish gently and release them quickly to minimize stress.

By following these regulations and restrictions, anglers can help preserve Maine’s valuable fisheries for generations to come. Remember, it’s our shared responsibility to be stewards of the environment and respect the rules put in place to protect it.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I fish in Maine without a license? No, with a few exceptions, all anglers aged 16 and older must have a valid Maine fishing license to fish in the state’s waters. Exemptions include free fishing weekends and fishing in private ponds with the owner’s permission.
  2. How long does a Maine fishing license last? The duration of a Maine fishing license varies depending on the type of license you purchase. Options include 1-day, 3-day, 7-day, and annual (season-long) licenses. Senior lifetime licenses are valid for the lifetime of the license holder.
  3. Can I purchase a Maine fishing license for someone else? Yes, you can purchase a fishing license as a gift for someone else. You’ll need to provide their personal information, such as name, address, and date of birth, during the online application process.
  4. Do I need a separate license to fish in saltwater? No, a Maine fishing license covers both inland and tidal waters, including saltwater areas. However, if you plan to fish for specific species like lobster or eel, you may need additional permits.
  5. What happens if I lose my fishing license? If you lose your fishing license, you can easily reprint it from the online system. Log into your account on the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website, navigate to your license history, and click the “Reprint” button next to the lost license.


Obtaining a Maine fishing license is a simple and essential step for any angler looking to explore the state’s abundant waters. By understanding the different license types, fees, and application process, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable fishing experience. Remember to familiarize yourself with the regulations and restrictions specific to the waters you plan to fish, and always practice responsible angling. With a valid license in hand, you’re ready to embark on an unforgettable fishing adventure in the beautiful state of Maine.

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