Massachusetts Saltwater Fishing
This recreational fishing guide is produced to provide information for a variety of angler interests and skills helping everyone enjoy the Commonwealth’s saltwater fishing experiences to the fullest! Recreational saltwater fishing in Massachusetts is a sport people in the hundreds of thousands enjoy each year. With some of the best angling in the country, DMF is dedicated to conducting cutting-edge research designed to protect and preserve our unique marine biodiversity and recreational activity.
Each year, DMF biologists conduct research on many of our key sportfish species, including striped bass, tautog, black sea bass, cod, and haddock (to name just a few!). This research feeds directly into improved and more effective management practices for these important species. For example, take the release-mortality research work completed in recent years on both Gulf of Maine cod and haddock. By studying the survival of fish released back to the ocean after a catch, researchers have been able to make more better-informed recommendations for size and bag limits, as well as utilizing the findings in the upcoming stock assessments.
In addition to questions about research programs and projects managed here at DMF, another popular question we receive is, “Where does the money from my fishing permit go?” One hundred percent (100%) of those funds goes directly into the Marine Recreational Fisheries Development Fund to be used only for the benefit of recreational saltwater fishing. Some of the activities supported by the fund include: improving public access for saltwater fishing opportunities; development of saltwater angler education programs; artificial reef development and monitoring; and much more!
With one-third of these funds supporting improvement projects for public access, past years have been quite busy with completion of several projects repairing fishing piers, total pier rebuilds, and new construction. In 2019 DMF will break ground on the construction of a brand-new recreational fishing pier on Deer Island in Winthrop. This pier will allow anglers to access a rich fishing area in Boston Harbor from a safe and well-lit location, as well as the opportunity for new angler education and retention clinics!
There will be growth of the Saltwater Angler Education Program with the addition of adult-targeted clinics in 2019. With the success of our kids’ saltwater clinics, DMF’s Outreach and Education staff will offer opportunities to learn surfcasting techniques and saltwater fly-fishing. Improved access to loaner gear and more group-event planning is also underway, so stay tuned in the New Year for additional information and dates.
No matter what type of angler you are from a novice to expert, you’ll find our guide will help you have a better day on the water. So, “Go fish!” – not the card game, but our command for your on-the-saltwater enjoyment.
David E. Pierce, Ph.D.
Your Permit Dollars at Work
- Develops and maintains three large fishing piers – Yarmouth, Oak Bluffs, Newburyport
- Funds small projects improving or repairing existing access sites – Rockport, Marblehead, Gloucester, Manchester, Beverly, Weymouth, Quincy, Marshfield, Duxbury, Fall River, Swansea, Yarmouth and more!
- Funds the deployment of dedicated recreational artificial reefs – Harwich Reef
- Provides free clinics for young anglers
- Develops online resources for classroom educators
Improved Recreational Catch Data
- Increases the sampling size for the Marine Recreational Information Program and the Access Point Angler Intercept Survey
Research and Conservation
- River herring population management and restoration work
- Striped bass migratory patterns and genetics
For more information see our website www.mass.gov/marinefisheries