With over 32,000 miles of rivers and streams and 6,000 lakes and ponds, Maine offers one of the best fishing and hunting opportunities in the country. Maine’s rivers, lakes, and streams are teeming with life and house an abundance of different fish species.
If you’re planning to visit some of these streams and lakes, you need to know when the fishing season ends in Maine.
Maine’s waterways are divided into two zones – the north and the south zone. Lakes and ponds in the North zone are closed to all fishing from October 1 to March 31. Rivers, streams, and brooks in the North and South zones are closed to all fishing from October 1 to March 31.
Read on to learn more about Maine’s general fishing laws and daily bag, possession, and length limits in Maine. We’ll also talk about the open-water fishing season on lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, and brooks.
General Fishing Laws and Season in Maine
Anyone planning a fishing trip in Maine must check the state’s rules and regulations for open-water fishing. Persons 16 years of age or older must carry a valid fishing license issued by the state of Maine when fishing in inland waters or transporting fish taken from inland waters.
Possessing fishing tackle on the water or ice or in the fields or forests of this state without a valid fishing license is considered evidence of illegal fishing.
Before you head out fishing in Maine, check out the state fishing rules and regulations to avoid paying a fine.
General fishing laws in Maine, daily bag, length, and possession limits apply to all inland waters open to fishing.
Brook Trout (Includes Artic charr & Splake)
The daily bag and possession limit for brook trout are five fish when fishing in the North zone’s lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, and brooks. These fish need to be a minimum of 6 inches long, otherwise, you risk getting a fine.
In the South zone, the daily bag and possession limit for brook trout is two fish. Brook trout taken from state ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, or brooks in the South zone must be at least 6 inches long.
The daily bag and possession limit for brown trout caught in Maine’s lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, or brooks is two fish. Brown trout taken from lakes or ponds must be at least 14 inches long.
Brown trout caught in rivers, streams, or brooks must be at least 6 inches long but can’t be longer than 25 inches.
The daily bag and possession limit for rainbow trout are two fish in all open waters. In lakes and ponds, the rainbow trout must be at least 12 inches long. Fish caught in rivers, streams, or brooks have a length limit of a minimum of 6 inches.
In Maine, anglers can’t take more than two landlocked salmon per day from lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, or brooks. Landlocked salmon caught in lakes and ponds must be at least 14 inches long.
Fish caught in rivers, streams, or brooks have a minimum length limit of 14 inches and a maximum length limit of 25 inches.
Togue (Lake Trout)
The daily bag and possession limits for the Togue are two fish with a minimum length of 18 inches.
Bass (Largemouth & Smallmouth)
There are no length or bag limits for largemouth bass when fishing in the North zone. In the South zone, the daily bag and possession limit for smallmouth and largemouth bass is two fish. There’s no minimum length limit, but only one bass can exceed 14 inches.
The daily bag and possession limits for open-water fishing for whitefish are three fish, and there is no length limit.
Sea-run Atlantic Salmon
Maine fishing laws treat Atlantic salmon as a federally endangered species, and no fishing is permitted.
Maine’s open waters are divided into two zones – the North zone and the South zone. When the Maine fishing season starts and ends depends on the fishing zone and the type of waterway.
Lakes & Ponds
Maine’s lakes and ponds in the North zone are open to open-water fishing from April 1 to September 30. From October 1 to March 31, the fishing season is closed for all types of fishing.
In the South zone, lakes, and ponds are open to open water and ice fishing from January 1 to December 31.
Rivers, Streams & Brooks
Rivers, streams, and brooks in the North and South zones are open to open-water fishing from April 1 to August 15.
From August 16 to September 30, the fishing season is open to fly fishing and open-water fishing using artificial lures. General fishing laws, length limits, and bag limits apply except for one landlocked salmon and one brook trout.
From October 1 to March 31, all rivers, streams, and brooks in Maine are closed to fishing.
What Fish Are in Season in Maine?
With ocean access, miles of rivers, and thousands of lakes, Maine is home to various fish species. Some of the most popular Maine freshwater fish species are landlocked salmon, brown trout, togue, perch, pike, largemouth, and smallmouth bass.
Can You Fish Year-Round in Maine?
Yes, anglers can fish year-round on lakes and ponds in Maine. Year-round fishing isn’t possible on rivers and streams with separate general fishing laws and regulations.
Can You Fish in Maine in December?
Yes, fishermen can fish in Maine in December. Lakes and ponds in the South zone are open for ice and open-water fishing from January 1 to December 31.
Can You Fish in Maine in the Winter?
Yes, anglers can fish in Maine in the winter. Ice fishing in Maine is becoming increasingly popular, despite cold fronts and snowy winters. During the winter, anglers can catch salmon, trout, pike, and perch, among other fish species.
Maine offers extraordinary fishing opportunities to people of all ages. Maine’s lakes and ponds are open for fishing all year round and are teeming with different fish species.
From landlocked salmon, togue, perch, brown trout, and pike to bluefin tuna, sharks, haddock, and Atlantic mackerel, Maine has something for everyone.