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License Requirements

Fishing Regulations Maine Freshwater Fishing

No resident of this state, 16 years of age or older, or nonresident, 16 years of age or older, may fish in inland waters or transport fish taken from inland waters without first obtaining a valid Maine fishing license. Maine residents* may obtain a fishing license from any resident license agent. Nonresidents** may obtain fishing licenses in person or by mail from the IF&W Department Office in Augusta or from any of the numerous nonresident license agents throughout the state. Residents and nonresidents are also able to purchase licenses on our website mefishwildife.com.

A person is required to keep his/her fishing license with him/her at all times while fishing or transporting fish and must exhibit their license for inspection by any warden, department employee, guide or landowner upon request. An electronic license or permit can now be displayed in lieu of a physical paper license or permit.

Possession of fishing tackle in the fields or forest or on the waters or ice of this State without a fishing license is prima facie evidence of fishing in violation of the law.

The commissioner may allow a licensee who has received a complimentary fishing license to have a person accompany and assist that licensee in fishing. The person accompanying and assisting the holder of a complimentary fishing license may do so without obtaining a separate fishing license. This subsection does not authorize the person accompanying and assisting the licensee to assist that licensee with more than one fishing rod and reel. The person accompanying and assisting the licensee must remain within the immediate proximity of the licensee while that licensee is fishing.

Free (Complimentary) Fishing License Provisions

A free fishing license will be issued, upon application, to the following (these free licenses may be obtained at the Department Office in Augusta):

  1. Any Maine resident who is blind;
  2. Any Maine Native American who is a member of the Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Maliseet, or Micmac Tribe (must obtain licenses from their respective tribal headquarters);
  3. Any Maine, NH, or VT resident who is a war veteran and has a service-connected disability of 50%;
  4. Any Maine resident (or nonresident, if reciprocal privileges exist in the home state of the nonresident) who is suffering from the loss, or loss of use, of both lower extremities;
  5. Any person with a developmental disability (as defined in Title 5, §19503);
  6. Any person with a head injury (as defined in Title 22, §3086); and
  7. Any resident 16 or 17 years old in the custody of the Dept. of Health and Human Services.

SPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUTH AND ELIGIBLE COMPLIMENTARY LICENSE HOLDERS

Special fishing opportunities for youth anglers (under 16 years of age) and complimentary license-holders with physical or cognitive disabilities are indicated by the S-9 code in the special rules sections of this lawbook, which begin on Southern & Eastern Counties. Complimentary license holders eligible to fish in S-9 waters include:

  1. Any Maine resident who is blind;
  2. Any Maine, NH, or VT resident who is a war veteran and has a service-connected disability of 50%;
  3. Any Maine resident (or nonresident, if reciprocal privileges exist in the home state of the nonresident) who is suffering from the loss, or loss of use, of both lower extremities;
  4. Any person with a developmental disability (as defined in Title 5, §19503);
  5. Any person with a head injury (as defined in Title 22, §3086), and
  6. Any resident 16 or 17 years old in the custody of the Dept. of Health and Human Services.

NOTE: Certain waters are reserved for fishing only by persons under 16 years of age. These waters are indicated by the S-11 code in the special rules sections of this lawbook, which begin on Southern & Eastern Counties.

RESIDENCY DEFINITIONS

*Resident means a citizen of the United States who is domiciled in this State or an alien who has been so domiciled for one year. You will not be considered a resident unless:

  • if registered to vote, registered in Maine;
  • if licensed to drive a motor vehicle, applied for a Maine motor vehicle license;
  • if owning a motor vehicle(s) located within the State, registered each vehicle in Maine;
  • complied with the State income tax laws; and
  • if a full-time student at a Maine college or university, resides in Maine AND satisfies above requirements.

**Nonresident means a person who does not fall within the definition of resident.