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These pages are being provided for your information, and to help you to better understand the fishing regulations in Northern Maine. If you would like information on a particular body of water, and you know the county it is in, just click on the county name below and look up that particular body of water.

GENERAL LAW

OPEN WATER FISHING SEASON: APRIL 1 - SEPTEMBER 30 (with the following exceptions):

Lakes and ponds in Androscoggin, Cumberland, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Waldo and York counties remain open to open water fishing through November 30. From October 1 - November 30, all salmon, trout, togue, and black bass caught must be released alive at once. WATERS HAVING SPECIAL REGULATIONS WILL BE LISTED.

Between August 16 and September 30, rivers, brooks and streams are restricted to the use of artificial lures only and the TOTAL daily bag limit for salmon, trout and togue is 1 fish.

(All dates are inclusive; however, it is unlawful to fish into inland waters while positioned on ice; waters must be naturally free of ice).

STATEWIDE DAILY BAG AND POSSESSION LIMIT FOR SALMON, TROUT AND TOGUE: 5 fish in any combination - not to include more than the individual species limits listed below.

SPECIES

SEASON DATES BAG LIMIT

MINIMUM LENGTH LIMIT

SPECIAL REGULATIONS

Bass April 1 - June 20 1 Fish 12 inches* Artificial Lures Only
June 21 - Sept. 30 3 fish 12 inches* 
only 1 may exceed 14 inches

* In Aroostook, Hancock, Piscataquis & Washington counties, the minimum length 
limit on bass is 10 inches.

Salmon April 1 - Sept. 30 2 fish 14 inches  
Togue
 (Lake Trout)
April 1 - Sept. 30 2 fish 18 inches  
Brook Trout 
(includes Splake)
April 1 - Sept. 30 5 fish* 6 inches

*On lakes and ponds in Androscoggin, Cumberland, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, 
Oxford, Sagadahoc, Waldo and York counties, the daily bag limit is 2 fish and the minimum length limit is 8 inches.

Brown Trout April 1 - Sept. 30 2 fish 12 inches - lakes and ponds*
6 inches - rivers, brooks and streams

*14 inches on lakes and ponds in Hancock 
and Washington counties.

Rainbow Trout April 1 - Sept. 30 2 fish 12 inches - lakes and ponds
6 inches - rivers, brooks and streams

 

 

 

Pickerel April 1 - Sept. 30* 10 None

From Aug. 16 - Sept. 30, rivers, brooks and streams are restricted to the use of artificial lures.

Whitefish April 1 - Sept. 30* 8 None
Smelts April 1 - Sept. 30* 2 Quarts None
Other Species April 1 - Sept. 30*

No length or bag limit restrictions on species not mentioned (except Atlantic Salmon Regulations which are contained in a separate publication.

*Lakes and ponds in Androscoggin, Cumberland, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Waldo and York counties remain open to open water fishing through November 30.

BAG LIMIT (ALL FISH): Any legal fish except baitfish and smelts, taken from inland waters shall be immediately released alive into the water from which it was taken or shall be killed at once. Any fish killed becomes part of the daily bag limit.

COUNTY LINES: Whenever county lines divide a body of water, the more liberal county rule shall apply.

NIGHT FISHING: Except as otherwise provided by special rule, all waters are open to fishing at night during the open water season.

POSSESSION LIMIT (ALL FISH): A person shall not possess at any time more fish than may lawfully be taken in one day.

SEASON DATES: All dates are inclusive; however, it is unlawful to fish into inland waters while positioned on ice; waters must be naturally free of ice.

TROUT: The term "trout" WHEN USED ALONE, includes brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, sunapee trout, blueback trout and splake. The term "Brook trout" includes both brook trout and splake.

TWO LINE RESTRICTION: It is unlawful to fish with more than 2 lines at any one time during the open water season.

GENERAL LAWS

1. CLOSED SEASON. It is unlawful to fish for any fish during the closed season on that species or to possess any fish taken during the closed season on that species.(§ 7601)

2. CLOSED WATERS. It is unlawful to fish at any time in waters which are closed to fishing.(§ 7602)

3. VIOLATION OF LIMITS. It is unlawful to fish for or possess fish in violation of the number, amount, or size limits of any rule adopted by the commissioner.(§ 7604)

4. ILLEGAL FISHING. Except as otherwise specifically provided, it is unlawful to fish other than by the use of the single baited hook and line, artificial flies, artificial lures and spinners.(§ 7618)

5. USE OF ILLEGAL IMPLEMENTS. Except as otherwise specifically provided, it is unlawful to fish with grapnel, spear, spear gun, trawl, weir, gaff, seine, gill net, trap or set lines.(§ 7608)

6. POSSESSION OF ILLEGAL IMPLEMENTS. Except as otherwise specifically provided, it is unlawful to possess any grapnel, trawl, weir, seine, gill net or trap or set line on or adjacent to any of the inland waters..(§ 7609)

7. USE OF EXPLOSIVE, POISONOUS OR STUPEFYING SUB- STANCE. It is unlawful to take or destroy any fish by use of an explosive, poisonous or stupefying substance.(§ 7617)

8. ADVANCE BAITING. It is unlawful to deposit any meat, bones, dead fish or other food material for the purpose of luring fish.(§ 7622) However, it is lawful to place food particles in a baitfish trap for the purpose of luring baitfish.(§ 7630)

9. SALE OF CERTAIN FISH PROHIBITED. It is unlawful to buy or sell, directly or indirectly, trout, togue, landlocked salmon, black bass, white perch or pickerel (except fish which have been lawfully produced by commercial producers).(§ 7615)

10. FAILURE TO LABEL FISH. It is unlawful to keep black bass, salmon, togue or trout at any sporting camp, hotel or public lodging place without attaching to the fish the name and address of the person who caught them.(§ 7625)

11. TEN ACRE PONDS. All ponds of 10 acres or less formed on brooks, streams or rivers are governed by the same fishing rule which apply to the brook, stream or river on which the pond is situated, whether the pond is natural or artificial. (This does not apply to private ponds as set forth in § 7605-A.(§ 7551)

12. SMELTS. Smelts may be taken at any time by use of a dip net, in the usual and ordinary way, from inland waters or portions of inland waters which are naturally free of ice, and where the taking of smelts is not prohibited by rule.(§ 7552)

13. SNAGGING. Except as provided in #16 (below), it is unlawful to fish for any fish by snagging.(§ 7607)

14. SALMON EGGS AS BAIT. Commercially prepared eggs from species that do not naturally occur in this State may be used for bait.(§ 7630)

15. REMOVAL OF BAG LIMITS ON BASS. In waters where the bag limit on black bass has been removed by special rule, the season on black bass and the method of fishing for them shall be the same as for trout and salmon.

16. SUCKERS. A person licensed or otherwise entitled to fish may take suckers for their own use between April 1st and June 30th from all rivers, brooks and streams which are open to fishing by use of a hand spear, bow and arrow or by snagging. (Note: If suckers are taken by bow and arrow, the arrow must have a barbed or pronged point and must be attached to the bow with a line).(§ 7377)

17. IMPORTATION OF FISH. It is unlawful to import any live freshwater fish or eggs into this State without written permission from the Commissioner.(§ 7613)

18. ALEWIVES. A licensed fisherman may take one bushel of alewives daily from inland waters by use of a dip net or single hook and line for consumption by himself or members of his family, except that alewives may not be taken from waters where a municipality or individual has been granted exclusive rights under laws regulating marine resources.(§ 7377)

19. USE OF LIVE FISH AS BAIT. See bait dealers laws-page 63 of Open Water Fishing Regulations Booklet.

20. UNITY UTILITIES DISTRICT. All waters on the property of the Unity Utilities District, located on Route 139 and Prairie Road in the Town of Unity, Waldo County, are closed to fishing at all times.(§ 7553)

21. FISHWAY DAMS. The area within 150 feet of any dam in which a fishway is located IS CLOSED TO FISHING, EXCEPT:

At the following places, the fishway and the area within 75 feet of any part of the fishway are closed to fishing at all times:

(1) Grand Falls Powerhouse Dam on St. Croix River in Baileyville

(2) Woodland Dam on the St. Croix River in Baileyville.

At the following places the area within 75 feet of the mouth of the fishway is closed to fishing at all times:

(1) East Grand Lake Dam in Forest City Township, T9R4 NBPP;

(2) Spednic Lake Dam in Vanceboro;

(3) At the so-called ice control dam on the Narraguagus River in the Town of Cherryfield, the area within 100 feet of the dam shall be closed to fishing at all times; and,

(4) At the East Outlet Dam in Sapling Township (T1R7) in Somerset County and in Big Squaw Township (T2R6) in Piscataquis County at the outlet of Moosehead Lake; the fishway and the area within 50 feet of any part of the fishway shall be closed to fishing at all times.

(5) There is no fishing in or from the fishway at the Sheepscot Lake Dam in the Town of Palermo in Waldo County. (Note: These provisions do not restrict the taking of alewives and smelts in accordance with laws regulating marine resources).(§ 7553)

22. SPECIAL BAG LIMIT. Whenever any waters have a special bag limit, no person shall possess more than one day's bag limit taken from those waters.

23. MARK FISH. It is unlawful to tag, fin clip or otherwise mark any fish to be released alive into the inland waters of the State without the expressed written consent of the Commissioner.

24. SPECIES IDENTIFICATION. It is unlawful to possess or transport fish dressed in such a manner that the species of the fish cannot be identified unless the fish are being prepared for immediate cooking. (Smoking does not constitute cooking).

25. REMOVAL OF HEADS AND TAILS. It is unlawful to alter the length of salmon, trout, togue and black bass unless the fish are being prepared for immediate cooking. (Smoking does not constitute cooking).

26. THOROUGHFARES AND BOGS. The general fishing laws which govern lakes and ponds also apply to thoroughfares and bogs (includes seasons, bag limits, length limits, etc.).

27. LEGAL FISH BECOME PART OF A DAILY BAG LIMIT. Any legal fish, except baitfish and smelts, taken from inland waters shall be immediately released alive into the waters from which it was taken or shall be killed at once. Any fish killed becomes part of the daily bag limit.


DEFINITIONS

1. ARTIFICIAL LURE means any fishing lure constructed by humans as an imitation or substitute for natural bait or fish forage. "Artificial lure" includes, but is not limited to artificial flies, spinners, spoons, poppers, plugs, jigs and plastic, rubber or other artificial imitations of natural bait. An artificial lures only rule prohibits the use of any live, dead or chemically preserved natural or organic bait or food.

2. TO FISH means to take, catch, kill, molest or destroy, or attempt to take, catch, kill, molest, or destroy any fish.

3. FLY means a single pointed hook dressed with feathers, hair, thread, tinsel, or any similar material to which no additional weights, hook, spinner, spoon or similar device is added.

4. FLY FISHING means casting upon water and retrieving in the usual and ordinary manner not more than 3 unbaited artificial flies individually attached to a line to which no extra weight has been added. (Note: It is unlawful to troll a fly in waters restricted to fly fishing only).

5. GREAT POND means any natural body of water more than 10 acres in size. (Any person on foot may engage in any activity on a great pond which is not inconsistent with any other law or regulation of the State or its political subdivisions).

6. HOOK means a single fishhook constructed with 1, 2 or 3 points.

7. INLAND WATERS means all waters within the State above the rise and fall of the tide, except private ponds.

8. OPEN SEASON means the time during which it is lawful to fish for or possess any fish, as specified and limited by law or rule.

9. SALMON means the same as landlocked salmon.

10. SET LINE means a line extending into the water and rigged to catch fish that has one end secured to the shore or to a fixed or buoyant object and that is not personally attended.

11. SINGLE-BAITED HOOK means up to 3 hooks attached together or in tandem to the end of a line and baited as a single apparatus designed to catch only one fish at a time.

12. SNAGGING means to fish by manipulating a hook or hooks in such a manner as to pierce or snag the fish in a part of the body other than the mouth.

13. TRUBUTARY means a brook, stream or river flowing directly or indirectly into a lake, pond or another brook,, stream or river. A lake or great pond shall not be construed to mean tributary. The tributary to a great pond shall not be considered a tributary to the outlet of that great pond.

14. TROLL means to fish by trailing a line rigged to catch fish through or over the water behind a watercraft being propelled by mechanical, wind or manual power.

15. TROUT. The term "trout" when used alone, includes only brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, sunapee trout, blueback trout and splake.

16. WATER THOROUGHFARE means a waterway, without flowage, connecting tow bodies of water.

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