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Family Fishing

A father and his two sons are fishing in Maine.

A father and his two sons are fishing in Maine.


Reeling in a wriggling fish on the end of a line is a thrill enjoyed by people of all ages. The variety of fishing available in Maine is what makes the sport so easy for everyone in the family.

Local outfitters offer basic fishing gear and instruction to equip you and your family for a Maine fishing adventure. No experience is necessary! Since fishing does require patience, children might appreciate occasional planned games, activities and snack breaks throughout the day. Keep in mind that warm-water fish are the easiest to catch, and might offer children and beginners the best opportunity for excitement and action.

Whatever game fish is your favorite, you'll find it here. Best of all we've got lots of them. With more than 2,500 lakes and ponds and 5,000 streams, you can spend a lifetime fishing new places in Maine.

What You Need To Go Fishing in Maine With Your Family

Remember when you first started fishing? The wonder of what was down there. The excitement and anticipation of something lurking just below the surface, ready to eat your bait or lure. The sights, sounds and smells of a day on the water.

Today, now more than ever, it's important that we share this magical feeling of being outside with your kids. Below is some information that's designed to help you not only get your children fishing and engaged in outdoor activities, but how to make the most of the time once you're out there. We all know there's a nationwide movement to get kids outdoors more. Fishing is one of the best ways to do this. Studies show that over 80% of adults today that consistently enjoy outdoor activities got their first taste of the outdoors through fishing. Maine is fantastic place to introduce your family to the wonders of the outdoors.

Maine is an angler’s paradise with over 6000 lakes and ponds, thousands of miles of rivers and streams and a 3000-mile coast. Public access is available in many places including state maintained public boat launches on many of our bodies of water. If you choose to fish at a public boat access site make sure to stay out of the way of folks launching or loading their boats.

Licenses are required to fish in Maine in most cases and are available online and from many retailers. Not everyone needs a license though and there are options for the length of a license.

On freshwater, non-residents may buy licenses for one, three, seven or fifteen days or the entire year. Non-residents under 12 do not need a license, but if you are planning to assist a child and are over 12 you should have one.

On Saltwater, in 2010 there is a Federal Registry requirement for saltwater anglers older than 16 you can apply online if you fish with a federally licensed captain or guide you do not need to register.

It simplifies the trip to have your equipment all set up and ready to go. A little prior planning will make the day go more smoothly. Closed face spinning reels are the easiest for beginners to master. Keep in mind thought that cheap equipment is just that it may last for an outing or two but if you plan to make fishing a regular event you will be much happier with rods and reels from a reputable outfitter. Whether you choose to fish with lures or bait and the species of fish you are after will help you choose the type and size of hooks that you will need. Keep in mind that if you are fishing with bait you will need to have something to keep it in and arrange to get it ahead of time. Worms are easy, many small stores sell them and if kept in a cool place out or the sun will survive nicely.

Plan on catching a fish. How are you going to land it? Who will remove the hook? Are you going to keep it or release it? If you decide to keep it is it legal to keep? A small pair of needle nose pliers and a rag can make removing hooks much simpler. If you decide to keep a few fish make sure you are prepared with a way to keep them cool until you are ready to prepare them to eat.

What can you catch? Focus on fish that live close to shore. The most easily caught species in freshwater are yellow perch and sunfish. In saltwater mackerel are easily caught from many docks and along the shore. Perch and sunfish will congregate around the weedy shallows where the water is warmer and they are easily caught. Since you will be around the water having some simple safety equipment is important. Consider personal flotation devices (required for anyone under 10 in a boat) always handy to have around. Sunscreen is important because you will likely be exposed to the full strength of the sun on the water and any reflection from the surface of the water. At certain times of the year and day insect repellent may be a good idea. The best part is that every fishing trip is an adventure for all involved. Enjoy the adventure you never know what could happen next outdoors!

By Harry Vanderweide