The Complete Guide to Fishing Licenses and Regulations in Massachusetts

The Complete Guide to Fishing Licenses and Regulations in Massachusetts

Fishing is a popular recreational activity in Massachusetts, with abundant opportunities across the state’s freshwater lakes, ponds, rivers, and marine waters. Anglers looking to enjoy the state’s fisheries must understand the licensing requirements, regulations, and conservation measures in place to preserve fish populations. This guide covers key aspects of legally and responsibly fishing in Massachusetts.

Freshwater Fishing Licenses

Anglers ages 15 years or older need a license to fish in freshwater. Licenses are available through the MassFishHunt system online, by phone, mail, or in person.

Reciprocity agreements allow license validity in bordering states under certain conditions.

Saltwater Fishing Permits

saltwater permit is required for ages 16 and older. The annual fee is $10 for those under 60 and free for those 60 and older. Obtain it online through MassFishHunt or in person.

Reciprocity agreements with neighboring states allow permits to be valid under specific conditions.

Freshwater Regulations and Seasons

Seasons, limits and size restrictions help conserve fish populations. Examples:

  • Trout: open year-round, 8 fish daily limit, no size limit.
  • Bass: open year-round, 5 fish daily limit, 12 inch minimum.
  • Crappie: open year-round, 25 fish daily limit, no size limit.

Additional regulations may apply to specific waters.

Saltwater Regulations and Seasons

Seasons, possession limits and size restrictions aim to ensure sustainability. Examples:

  • Striped Bass: Open year-round, 1 fish daily limit, 28-31 inch slot limit.
  • Bluefish: open year-round, 10 fish daily limit, no size limit.
  • Fluke: See the site for current regulations.

Specific regulations also apply to federal waters.

Conservation and Ethical Angling

Fishing license sales support conservation efforts for habitats and fish populations. Practicing ethical catch and release helps ensure the future of recreational fishing.


Understanding Massachusetts’ fishing licenses, regulations, and conservation measures allows anglers to legally and responsibly enjoy the state’s top-rated freshwater and saltwater fisheries.

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