Massachusetts Fishing Regulations

Fish and wildlife can be found in both inland water and the ocean waters of Massachusetts. The ability to fish in both freshwater and saltwater makes life much more interesting for avid fishermen and women in the state. It also results in an increase in the number of rules and regulations. You should be familiar with the following information.



How to start fishing

If you want to go fishing in Massachusetts, you must first obtain a fishing license from the state. An inland fishing license for freshwater fishing is sufficient for those who wish to pursue fish in inland waters. A fishing license can be obtained by either residents or non-residents.

Some people, on the other hand, can fish without it. Young anglers under 15 years of age, as well as landowners who wish to fish on their property, are permitted to do so without a license, provided they purchase the necessary permits and stamps.

You will need a saltwater fishing permit for coastal fishing if you are 16 years old or older, in addition to your fishing license. A significant advantage of having such a permit is that residents can use it to fish in the coastal waters of neighboring states, which is a tremendous benefit.

People who use state waters for crabbing or lobstering in Massachusetts are required to have a permit in order to do so. This permit entitles you to set traps and fish edible crabs and lobsters by diving off the coast of Maine.


Freshwater season and limits

You need to know when to go fishing and what you can keep in your possession at the end of the day to be successful. Some species are protected, and in Massachusetts, the freshwater trout is one of the species that is being closely monitored by biologists.

Trout fishing is permitted in the major rivers and lakes throughout the year, but no more than three trout may be taken in a single day. If a brown trout reaches 15 inches in length in South Pond or Brookfield, it is the only one that can be caught.

Lake trout harvest is regulated in the Wachusett and Quabbin Reservoirs, with a daily limit of three and two lake trout harvested in each reservoir, respectively.

All other waters, with the exception of the Housatonic River, have a daily limit that decreases from eight trout fish in the months of April through September to three trout fish during the colder months.

The capture of landlocked salmon and American shad is another valuable catch. It is legal to keep up to two salmon per day if they are at least 15 inches in length. However, except for the Connecticut and Merrimack rivers, the American shad is strictly catch-and-release throughout the state. In these waters, there is still a creel limit of three fish per person.

Chain pickerel, black bass, northern pike, walleye, and tiger muskie are some of the other species that are protected under Massachusetts regulations.


Saltwater season and limits

There are dozens of fish species that can be caught in the saltwater areas of Massachusetts, but some of them are more common than others, and only a few of them are restricted to specific seasons.

The black sea bass open season runs from May 21 to the end of August, and fishermen are only allowed to catch a maximum of five per day. You must first measure them to ensure that they are at least 15 inches in length.

The fluke fishing season is open from the 22nd of May to the 23rd of September each year. The statewide limit is four fish that are at least 17 inches in length and width.

If you’re thinking about catching tuna, white marlin, sailfish, swordfish, or blue marlin, you should be aware that there are federal government regulations in place for those species. They are also interested in catching black bass and haddock.

There are some regulations that apply to specific fish species that differ depending on where the fishing takes place. If you are fishing north of Cape Cod, for example, you will be unable to catch more than one codfish at a time. While fishing south or east of Cape Cod, positioning your boat will allow you to increase your daily catch limit to 10 fish.

Other species with catch limits specified by regulations include bluefish, haddock, American eel, dab, and gray sole, among others. When it comes to fishing for monkfish, redfish, and pollock, there are no limits on how much you can bring with you.