Importation of baitfish prohibited
It is unlawful to import any live baitfish or smelts into Maine.
Bait Dealer’s license
It is unlawful for any person to deal in live baitfish or live smelts without first obtaining a valid dealer’s license. For further information, contact IF&W. (Note: A person may take live baitfish for their own use, by the use of hook and line or bait trap only, if that person holds a valid fishing license.)
When using drop nets to fish through the ice for baitfish/smelts, all holes made in the ice must be marked either by evergreen boughs placed around the hole, or by suspending at least 1 strand of fluorescent biodegradable tape at least 3 feet above the ice around the entire perimeter of the hole so that the tape is visible from all sides.
Storing live baitfish
Live baitfish may not be stored or held in any waters where the use or possession of live fish as bait is prohibited during the entire ice fishing or the entire open water fishing season. This includes waters restricted to the use of artificial lures only, waters restricted to fly fishing, and where there are other prohibitions on the use of live fish as bait. To obtain a list of Maine waters where baitfish cannot be stored please contact IFW’s Augusta Office, or visit IFW’s website: mefishwildlife.com.
Taking of Bait Fish for Personal Use
Preparing for a Carving
Plan ahead! Keep a soft tape measure and camera in your fishing gear. Take a few pictures of the fish to help record distinguishing characteristics and color. Measure the fish’s length (from the center of the tail to the snout) all while handling the fish out of water as little as possible. Then follow the Tips for Catching and Releasing Fish on Catching & Releasing.
The information is all that a carver needs to make a replica of the catch you made and the fish is available to be caught by another lucky angler.
Trouble by the Bucketful
That’s what the illegal introduction of exotic species brings to Maine’s waters.
Some thoughtless individuals are attempting to destroy the future of Maine’s native fisheries. These non-sportsmen illegally stock the type of fish they prefer to catch, without regard for the environmental havoc they inflict on the resource. Illegal stocking selfishly denies the people of Maine the right to decide what is best for our waters.
Please help fight this serious problem.
To report information about an illegal introduction please call:
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.