Fishing

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Fishing In Maine - What You Can Catch, and Where

Fisherman

Serving Portland, Bangor, Saco, Biddeford and Augusta Regions

For many people, there's no better escape from the grind of daily life than to pack up the fishing rods and head for the lake. In a state like Maine, where the outdoors are such a great place to relax and there's so much of it to enjoy, fishing is a popular pastime. However, if you don't know the state's fishing laws, taking a trip to one of Maine's nearly 6,000 ponds can quickly lead to the trouble and headaches that you're looking to get away from.

Faced with having to find a balance between letting people enjoy the outdoors now, and keeping enough fish in the waters for future generations to enjoy, as well, Maine's Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife regulates various aspects of fishing, such as the number and size of fish that can be caught, as well as when and where you can fish. The complexity of making sure that there will be enough for everyone, both now and years from now, is daunting, and has created a haze of regulations, with many lakes, ponds, and rivers having their own, specific rules.

Generally, there are rules that regulate the fish you can catch by species, number, and size:

   

Minimum Length

Type of Fish

Daily Bag

Lakes & Ponds

Rivers, Streams & Brooks

Brook Trout (includes Splake and Arctic char)

5*

6 inches

6 inches

Landlocked Salmon

2

14 inches**

14 inches**

Togue (Lake Trout)

2

18 inches

18 inches

Brown Trout

2

14 inches**

6 inches**

Rainbow Trout

2

12 inches

6 inches

Bass (large and smallmouth)

2

10 inches, with only 1 exceeding 14 inches

Pickerel

10

None

Whitefish

3

None

Smelts

2 quarts

None

Northern Pike

Unlimited

None

Muskellunge

Unlimited

None

American Eel

25

9 inches

Shad

2

None

Striped Bass

1

20-26 inches in total length, or 40 inches or greater in total length

Atlantic Salmon

Federally endangered species – no fishing allowed

Alewife

25

None

Other species

Unlimited

None

*On lakes and ponds in Androscoggin, Cumberland, Franklin, Hancock, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Oxford, Penobscot, Sagadahoc, Waldo, Washington and York counties the daily bag limit on brook trout is 2 fish.

**Several counties are exempt from this rule. Additionally, in Hancock and Washington counties, there is also a maximum length of 25 inches.

These regulations, though seemingly complex enough, are only the general rules: Each body of water can have its own set of rules, governing what kinds of fish can be pulled from them, and how. These rules have been compiled online, and are divided between water in the southern and eastern counties, and in the northern and western counties of Maine. Some bodies of water follow the general rules, set in the table above. Other bodies of water are given an “S Code” and a “Season Date Code.” Each of the 33 S Codes is a special rule for fishing in that body of water, while Season Date Codes can affect when it's permissible to fish there. Some bodies of water are further split, with one S Code given to one part of the waterway, and another S Code given to another part.

Knowing the rules and regulations of a fishery that you want to enjoy is your responsibility, so be sure to look up that body of water and see if it has its own S Code or Season Date Code. If it does, make sure to abide by it, or you could face penalties for poaching. If there's no S Code specific for that body of water, you still need to abide by the general rules.

If you've been accused of violating Maine's fishing regulations, or want to make sure that you're following them correctly, call the law office of William T. Bly at (207) 571-8146. His experience with the state's conservation laws as a defense attorney give him invaluable experience, and allow him to protect you against unreasonable charges.

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Biddeford, ME 04005
(207) 571-8146
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