Governor Janet Mills has signed an Executive Order to create a “Free Fishing License Week” from Saturday, February 13 – Sunday February 21 when people who register may fish for free without a license on Maine’s waterways. Since the pandemic began, Governor Mills and Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner Judy Camuso have strongly encouraged Maine people to enjoy the outdoors.
“Exploring the great outdoors in Maine is a healthy and safe way to spend time during the pandemic,”said Governor Mills. “As an avid angler myself, it is my hope that this week of free fishing will encourage Maine people to enjoy the outdoors.”
In order to participate in “Free Fishing License Week”, people need to register online at www.mefishwildlife.com/icefishing. Any person who registers may fish for free without a license on Maine’s waterways from February 13-February 21, 2021, except those who have had their license suspended or revoked. All other rules and regulations, including bag and possession limits, apply. The dates coincide with public schools’ February vacation.
“No matter your age, spending time outside can boost your physical, mental and emotional health, which is more important now during the pandemic than ever before,” said Commissioner Camuso. “Ice fishing is an excellent opportunity to get outside safely this winter and I encourage everyone to take advantage of Free Fishing License Week to do so.”
The Governor’s Executive Order extends the Family Fishing Weekends. The legislature created these family fishing weekends years ago, recognizing the importance of getting people outside and introducing them to a lifetime activity of fishing.
The Governor’s Executive Order builds on her work to expand access to outdoor activity during the pandemic, like suspending the need for a fishing license in April and extending boating registrations in the spring of 2020.
Last year, over 345,000 people were licensed to fish in Maine and fishing contributes over $370 million to Maine’s economy.
Helpful Links for Fishing in Maine
For people who have never ice fished before or people who would like to learn more about ice fishing: check out the Department’s Guide To Ice Fishing. The Guide will help you learn about essential gear, how to find a place to go, and what to do.
For people who are wondering where to go to ice fish or where the fish are biting: check out the February fishing report compiled by MDIFW Fisheries Biologists.
For people hoping to purchase a fishing license outside of “Free Fishing License Week”: visit mefishwildlife.com. There are license options for a day, a week, 15 days or a season. The cost for a day of fishing is less than a ticket to the movies and kids under 16 always fish free.
Money from license sales helps protect Maine’s waters, enhance Maine’s fisheries and provide water access on many of Maine’s lakes and rivers.
Find out which locations have been stocked recently here. The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife stocks more than 1 million fish each year and manages more than 20 species of freshwater game fish.