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Fishing Resources & Helpful Hints

Two fisherman standing in their boat, fishing, at sunset.

Two fisherman standing in their boat, fishing, at sunset.



The Maine Fishing Guide was developed by the Fisheries Division of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to assist anglers in locating Maine's most common sportfish and to help plan for your next outdoor fishing adventure.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife provides fishing licenses, manages freshwater fish populations and offers a weekly fishing report.

A Registered Maine Guide can help make your fishing experience the best it can be. Maine Guides can be found at the Maine Professional Guides Association and the Maine Wilderness Guides Organization.

The Maine Department of Marine Resources manages Maine's saltwater resources, and publish Maine: Saltwater Angler's Guide, available at Visitor Information Centers.

Chambers of Commerce provide links to local services like guides, outfitters and accommodations.

L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools in Freeport offer fly-fishing courses you can sign up for on the spot.

Maine Sporting Camps offer legendary hospitality, home-cooked meals and a choice of boats to use for fishing and exploring nearby lakes and rivers.

Where to see fish

The Downeast Fisheries Trail offers opportunities to learn about the coastal waters of Washington County and the fish that are harvested there.

The Marine Resources Aquarium in West Boothbay Harbor showcases a variety of the many species of fish that live in Maine's coastal waters. It also offers free use of fishing equipment. The Aquarium is operated by the Department of Marine Resources.

The Maine Wildlife Park in Gray offers a pool with large trout that can be fed, as well as access to a fish hatchery.

Fish ladders. Some fish species spend part of their lives in both salt and fresh water. In cases where dams block rivers, fish ladders provide migration access for these species. See the map for specific locations or contact the Department of Marine Resources for more information.

Helpful hints

Licensing. Freshwater fishing licenses are available throughout the state. Your license comes with a regulation book, as well as information about the number of fish you can keep in a day.

Fishing Equipment. A good rule of thumb is to keep your selection simple: a rod and reel, hooks, weights, live bait or artificial lures and perhaps a bobber or two. Most tackle shops and stores offer fine, inexpensive combination sets.

Private land.While some Maine waterways are on private land, many landowners allow public access. Please treat all areas respectfully and obey posted signs.

Boat launches. Many towns and cities offer free boat launch access into rivers, lakes or the ocean. Local Chambers of Commerce can direct you to the nearest facilities and explain any relevant rules.

Ask the locals! Don't forget that one of your best resources for information on a day of fishing is the local innkeeper, shop clerk or Visitor Information representative. Many can provide excellent advice on fishing "holes,`` bait and tackle, as well as the best places to gear up.

"Never Dump Baitfish into any Waterway!" You may think you're feeding the fish by dumping your excess bait into the lakes but actually you're introducing non-native fish to Maine's waters. The illegal introduction of non-native fish threatens Maine's fish populations and its delicate aquatic ecosystems. It's become an epidemic that Maine is trying to stop -- and it's a crime! For bait restrictions, see Laws Pertaining to Bait Dealers/Use of Live Bait.

Maine Operation Game Thief is a private, nonprofit organization that works with the Maine Warden Service and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to apprehend individuals poaching or unlawfully introducing non-native fish species into Maine's waters. If you value hunting or fishing or watching our fish and wildlife resources, you owe it to yourself to report those who illegally take these resources. Remember, good fish and wildlife law enforcement is everybody's responsibility. If you see a violation, report it!