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Maine Fishing Regulations
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Maine Minimum Sizes & Regulations

 

 

DEFINITIONS

1. ARTIFICIAL LURE means any fishing lure constructed by humans as an imitation or substitute for natural bait or fish forage and includes, but is not limited to artificial flies, spinners, spoons, poppers, plugs, jigs and plastic, rubber or other artificial imitations of natural bait. An artificial lures only rule prohibits the use of any live, dead or chemically preserved natural or organic bait or food.

2. TO FISH means to take, catch, kill, molest or destroy, or attempt to take, catch, kill, molest, or destroy any fish.

3. FLY means a single pointed hook dressed with feathers, hair, thread, tinsel, or any similar material to which no additional hook, spinner, spoon or similar device is added.

4. FLY FISHING means casting upon water and retrieving in a manner in which the weight of the fly line propels the fly. No more than 3 unbaited artificial flies individually attached to a line may be used. (NOTE: It is unlawful to troll a fly in waters restricted to fly fishing only).

5. HOOK means a single fishhook constructed with 1, 2 or 3 points.

6. MINIMUM LEGAL LENGTH is the total length of a fish measured from the tip of the snout to the tip of the tail with the lobes of the tail squeezed together.

7. SALMON means the same as landlocked salmon.

8. SET LINE means a line extending into the water and rigged to catch fish that has one end secured to the shore or to a fixed or buoyant object and that is not personally attended.

9. SINGLE-BAITED HOOK means a single baited apparatus designed to catch only one fish at a time.

10. SNAGGING means to fish by manipulating a hook or hooks in such a manner as to pierce or snag the fish in a part of the body other than the mouth.

11. TRIBUTARY means a brook, stream or river flowing directly or indirectly into a lake, pond or another brook, stream or river. A lake or great pond shall not be construed to mean tributary. The tributary to a great pond shall not be considered a tributary to the outlet of that great pond.

12. TROLL means to fish by trailing a line rigged to catch fish behind a watercraft being propelled by mechanical, wind or manual power. (Tandem flies are allowed when trolling.)

FREE FISHING DAYS - June 19 & 20, 2005

Free fishing days will take place on the Saturday and Sunday of Father's Day weekend annually.  On both of these days, any person (except those whose license has been suspended or revoked) may fish without a license. All other laws and regulations apply on these days.

GENERAL LAW

STATEWIDE DAILY BAG AND POSSESSION LIMIT FOR SALMON, TROUT AND TOGUE:  5 fish in any combination not to include more than the individual species limits listed below.
(BE SURE TO CHECK THE COUNTY LISTING FOR ANY SPECIAL REGULATIONS)


SPECIES

SEASON DATES BAG LIMIT

MINIMUM LENGTH LIMIT

SPECIAL REGULATIONS

Bass April 1 - June 20 1 Fish 12 inches* Artificial Lures Only
June 21 - September 30 3 fish 12 inches* 
only 1 may exceed 14 inches

* In Aroostook, Hancock, Piscataquis & Washington counties, the minimum length 
limit on bass is 10 inches.

Between August 16 and September 30 rivers, brooks and streams are restricted to the use of artificial lures only and the TOTAL daily bag limit for salmon, trout and togue is 1 fish.

October 1 - November 30

Catch and Release on lakes and ponds in Androscoggin, Cumberland, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Waldo, and York Counties.

Salmon April 1 - September 30 2 fish 14 inches
Between August 16 and September 30 rivers, brooks and streams are restricted to the use of artificial lures only and the TOTAL daily bag limit for salmon, trout and togue is 1 fish.

October 1 - November 30

Catch and Release on lakes and ponds in Androscoggin, Cumberland, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Waldo, and York Counties.

Togue
 (Lake Trout)

April 1 - September  30

2 fish 18 inches

Between August 16 and September 30 rivers, brooks and streams are restricted to the use of artificial lures only and the TOTAL daily bag limit for salmon, trout and togue is 1 fish.

October 1 - November 30

Catch and Release on lakes and ponds in Androscoggin, Cumberland, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Waldo, and York Counties.

Brook Trout 
(includes Splake)
April 1 - 
September 30
5 fish* 6 inches

*On lakes and ponds in Androscoggin, Cumberland, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, 
Oxford, Sagadahoc, Waldo and York counties, the daily bag limit is 2 fish and the minimum length limit is 8 inches.

Between August 16 and September 30 rivers, brooks and streams are restricted to the use of artificial lures only and the TOTAL daily bag limit for salmon, trout and togue is 1 fish.

October 1 - November 30

Catch and Release on lakes and ponds in Androscoggin, Cumberland, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Waldo, and York Counties.

Brown Trout April 1 - September 30 2 fish

12 inches - Lakes and Ponds*
6 inches - Rivers, Brooks and Streams

*14 inches on lakes and ponds in Hancock 
and Washington counties.

Between August 16 and September 30 rivers, brooks and streams are restricted to the use of artificial lures only and the TOTAL daily bag limit for salmon, trout and togue is 1 fish.

October 1 - November 30

Catch and Release on lakes and ponds in Androscoggin, Cumberland, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Waldo, and York Counties.

Rainbow Trout April 1 - September 30 2 fish 12 inches - Lakes and Ponds
6 inches - Rivers, Brooks and Streams

Between August 16 and September 30 rivers, brooks and streams are restricted to the use of artificial lures and only and the TOTAL daily bag limit for salmon, trout and togue is 1 fish.

October 1 - November 30

Catch and Release on lakes and ponds in Androscoggin, Cumberland, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Waldo, and York Counties.

Pickerel April 1 - September 30* 10 None

From August 16 - September 30, rivers, brooks and streams are restricted to the use of artificial lures.

Whitefish April 1 - September 30* 3 None
Smelts April 1 - September 30* 2 Quarts None
Other Species April 1 - September 30*

No length or bag limit restrictions on species not mentioned (except Atlantic Salmon Regulations which are contained in a separate publication).

*Lakes and ponds in Androscoggin, Cumberland, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Waldo and York counties remain open to open water fishing through November.


ANADROMOUS FISH SPECIES REGULATIONS:

American Eels: Recreational daily bag limit: 50 fish.  Minimum length limit: 6 inches.
Shad: Daily bag limit: 2 fish.
Striped bass: It is unlawful to take or possess more than 1 striped bass per day which may be between 20 and 26 inches in total length, or 40 inches or greater in total length.

TWO LINE RESTRICTION: It is unlawful to fish with more than 2 lines at any one time during the open water season.

NIGHT FISHING: Except as otherwise provided by rule, all waters are open to fishing at night during the open water season.

BAG LIMIT (ALL FISH): Any legal fish except baitfish and smelts, taken from inland waters shall be immediately released alive into the water from which it was taken or shall be killed at once. Any fish killed becomes part of the daily bag limit.

POSSESSION LIMIT (ALL FISH): A person shall not possess at any time more fish than may lawfully be taken in one day.

COUNTY LINES: Whenever county lines divide a body of water, the more liberal county rule shall apply.

TROUT: The term "trout" WHEN USED ALONE, includes brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, sunapee trout, blueback trout and splake.  The term "Brook trout" includes both brook trout and splake.

SEASON DATES:  All dates are inclusive; however, it is unlawful to fish into inland waters while positioned on ice; waters must be naturally free of ice.

SMELTS:  Smelts may be taken at any time by use of a dip net, in the usual and ordinary way, in inland waters or portions of inland waters that are naturally free of ice, and where the taking of smelts is not prohibited by rule. (§7552)

BLACK BASS:  The term "bass" or "black bass" includes large mouth and small mouth.

INLAND WATERS means all water within the State above the rise and fall of the tide, except private ponds.

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