February 9, 2016

IFW NEWS: Free Fishing Weekend Approaches; Ice Safety Reminder

AUGUSTA - The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is reminding everyone to take advantage of the upcoming free fishing weekend.

On Saturday, February 13 and Sunday, February 14, any person may fish for free without a license on Maine’s waterways, except those who have had their license suspended or revoked. All other rules and regulations, including bag and possession limits, apply.

“Fishing during the winter is a wonderful way to get out of the house and make memories with family and friends that are sure to last a long time,” said Governor Paul R. LePage.“We offer this free fishing weekend in the hopes that more and more people will be introduced to the many winter fishing opportunities Maine offers, particularly on our frozen lakes and ponds. And remember, safety first. Please check the condition of the ice before you go out.”

“Whether on open water or ice, fishing is one of the most popular activities in Maine. Maine’s nearly 6,000 lakes and ponds and more than 30,000 miles of rivers and streams offer endless opportunities for the thousands of residents and non-residents who fish them each year,” said Chandler Woodcock, IFW Commissioner. “The free fishing weekend is a great chance for people to try fishing for the first time or for more experienced anglers to teach a child the joys of the sport.”

Due to varying weather conditions this winter, game wardens are reminding everyone to be cautious and check ice conditions before venturing out. The general guidelines for ice safety are a minimum of four inches of solid ice for on foot travel and six to eight inches for snowmobiles and ATVs. Due to uneven temperatures and high winds, ice conditions are currently very unpredictable and it is not advisable to drive vehicles onto the ice.

“Test the thickness of the ice using an ice chisel or ice auger in several locations on the lake or pond,” said Major Chris Cloutier of the Warden Service. “Remember that new ice is usually stronger than old ice and ice seldom freezes uniformly. Ice that forms over flowing water and currents, especially near streams, bridges and culverts, can be particularly dangerous.”

The Department will also offer a free fishing weekend on June 4 and 5.

For a complete list of fishing regulations, including limits and sizes, visit www.mefishwildlife.com

For additional ice and winter safety tips, visit http://www.maine.gov/wordpress/insideifw/2014/12/31/ice-safety-tips/