Fishing Regulations

Maine publishes two sets of fishing regulations, one for open water and one for ice fishing. No one should fish any body of water in Maine without consulting these regulations first. Special regulations apply to various locations, so what may be legal on one lake may be prohibited on another.

Admittedly, Maine’s regulations are complex. Efforts are under way to simplify them but even simplified versions will be lengthy. You will need to study the regulations carefully before fishing any body of water in Maine.

Some of these special regulations are a comprehensive part of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife Quality Fishing Initiative (QFI), which goes into effect in 1996. This program is designed to provide high catch

Special fishing regulations are designed to ensure high-quality fishing and trophy-sized fish for years to come.

As this sign indicates, fishing is a family affair rates for mature fish. Essentially, the regulations allow game fish to grow to large sizes by keeping them in the water until they become adults. The regulations vary from artificial-lures-only to no-live-fish-as-bait and fly-fishing-only. Some waters are listed as no-kill and others have slot limits for game species.

Maine Governor Angus King, discussing the QFI at a 1995 sportsman’s congress, said, ”We have the resources that are the envy of the nation. We can absolutely have world-class fishing.” Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife Commissioner Ray B. Owen, addressing the same gathering, said the initial purpose of the QFI is “to increase size class of fish, mostly brook trout, bass, brown trout, and landlocked salmon.” According to Owen, one percent of Maine’s ponds and between one and two percent of its rivers and streams will fall under the QFI.

Maine’s fisheries managers are breaking new ground in enacting these historic regulations. With such progressive management techniques, Maine’s angling opportunities are limitless.


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