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Ice Fishing in Maine

There’s no reason to put away your bait and tackle just because it’s cold outside. In Maine, we love ice fishing. Spending time on a frozen lake with friends and family is one of the best ways to have fun and (hopefully) catch dinner in the winter. Tasty land-locked salmon, lake trout, brook trout, cusk, smelt and white fish are all popular catches.

Ice fishing begins on Jan. 1 and lasts until March 31. You will need a license, but those are easy to get all over the state, from convenience stores to sporting goods stores and online, and the waterway needs to be open to ice fishing as many in the northern part of the state are closed to protect the fish population.

Properties like Wilsons on Moosehead Lake rent cabins right on Moosehead Lake so you can easily walk to an ice shack and they can provide all you need for a day on the ice.

In Central Maine, Cobbosseecontee Lake is an ice fishing favorite. Many of the state's largest bass have come from this lake and it is considered one of the best bass lakes in the Northeast. Rangeley Lake Region offers several remote lakes perfect for ice fishing. You can also relax in a cozy smelt shack on tidal rivers like the Kennebec and Cathance Rivers, watching the jig poles for a wiggle when the little fish start to bite.

Hire a Maine guide for a guided fishing excursion, all your supplies are provided, and your only job is to dress warmly and be patient. New England Outdoor Center offers full- or half-day ice fishing trips on ponds and lakes near Mt. Katahdin.

Ice fishing derbies are a great way to see if you like ice fishing. There are often free clinics so you can learn the ropes and, if you catch a winning fish, there are prizes. Derbies are a fun way for the community to gather and enjoy all that winter in Maine can offer.

When you’re ready to try your luck, contact one of these Maine guides or lodging properties.

Look Out for ME Ice Fishing Tips

  • Ensure ice is thick enough to safely walk on
  • Pack any garbage & waste out with you when you leave
  • Don’t cut, mark or damage trees
  • Always recreate within your personal limits
  • Be weather wise & dress appropriately
  • Bring a basic first aid kit & travel with a friend
  • Bring a waterproof map & compass

For more info on how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly, visit our Look Out for ME page.

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