How to Get a Maine Fishing License?

As I sit here on the weathered dock, gazing out at the glassy surface of the lake, I can’t help but think back on over 40 years of fishing these bountiful Maine waters. I still remember the thrill of that first catch as a boy—a tiny sunfish that might as well have been a marlin with how big my smile was. From sleepy brooks to the mighty rivers that feed the Atlantic, I’ve fished all across this great state of mine. I’ve seen fish populations rise and fall, watched the old timers shake their heads at shrinking catches, and felt the chill in the air that signals the changes coming. But even after all these years, I still get that same rush of excitement when I feel the first tug on the line. That’s something that will never change.

And I know many of you reading this understand that feeling. You’re veterans like me—the kind of anglers who will happily spend all day on the water even if the fish ain’t biting. Who meticulously tie lure after lure, forever seeking that perfect presentation to tempt another strike. The kind who don’t just enjoy fishing but respect it. After all, we’re guests here, borrowing this precious resource that we must also protect.

That’s why I wanted to talk to you all about fishing licenses here in Maine. I know sometimes rules and regulations can feel like unnecessary hurdles between us and the water. But proper licensing ensures that this sport we love so much will be sustained for generations to come. As climate change impacts fish populations, we anglers have to be that much more thoughtful in our practices. Call me an old softie, but I want my grandkids’ grandkids out here catching bucketmouths someday too.

So let’s go over everything you need to know to legally and ethically fish these waters.

Who Needs a Maine Fishing License

If you’re 16 years of age or older and plan to fish inland waters (or transport your catch from them), you’ll need some form of license. This goes for both residents and out-of-staters like yourself. There are a few exceptions, however:

  • Children under 16 can fish license-free. Take those kids out and get them hooked early!
  • Certain veterans, disabled residents, Native Americans, and senior residents may qualify for free or discounted licenses. Check the official Maine licensing site for specifics.
  • Landowners fishing from property they own and immediate family members can fish that land and water without a license. Just make sure to stay within those property lines!

Types of Maine Fishing Licenses for Non-Residents

Alright, now here’s the nitty-gritty for you out-of-staters looking to access Maine’s bounty. The following licenses are available:

  • Season License ($64): Covers you for the entire open water and ice fishing seasons. If you’re making multiple trips or staying for an extended vacation, this is likely your best bet.
  • 15-Day License ($47): A flexible two-week license for more brief trips. You can even upgrade to the season license later by just paying the difference in cost.
  • 7-Day License ($43): Looking for a quick fishing fix? This one-week pass gets you on the water without breaking the bank.
  • 3-Day License ($23): Can be purchased up to 5 times per year for short weekend getaways.
  • 1-Day License ($11): If you just can’t resist wetting a line, a 24-hour license lets you seize the moment.

There are also combination fishing and hunting licenses available if you want to double down on the outdoor experience!

How to Get Your Maine Fishing License

Alright, you know what you need; now let’s get you actually licensed and legal. You have a few options:

  • Purchase Online: The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife lets you conveniently buy fishing licenses on your computer or mobile device. Have your information ready, and just follow the steps.
  • Local Agents: Many bait shops, sporting goods stores, town clerk offices, and convenience stores sell licenses over the counter. I prefer supporting my local tackle shop whenever possible.
  • Department Office: You can also purchase in person (or via mail) through the IFW main office in Augusta.

Once purchased, you can display either a paper license or an electronic copy on your phone. Just have it on you while fishing or transporting your catch. And don’t lose it! Replacement licenses come with a $25 fee.

What Else Should This Grizzled Angler Know?

I think that covers the basics of getting properly licensed here in Maine. But I wanted to leave you with a few final thoughts before you head out on the water…

The world of fishing is always changing. As an old-timer, I’ve seen techniques and technology advance in ways I never imagined back in my youth. And I know things will keep changing after I’m gone. But the true spirit of the sport lives on. Respect for these fish, these waters, and this craft that we love. If there’s one thing I hope you take from this grumpy old angler, it’s that.

So go out there and chase that thrill that got us all hooked. Notice what the seasons bring, keep only what you’ll use, and ensure this gift we’ve been given will be there for those to come. Get yourself licensed properly. Then get your line wet! Tight lines to you all, and may your braggin’ rights stay plenty heavy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top