Maine IFW: Free Ice Fishing Days!


Gather your gear or borrow someone else’s!

Looking for something fun to do this weekend?  Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is offering a free fishing weekend Saturday, February 18th and Sunday, February 19th.  This means anyone can fish for free without a license, so long as they have never had their license suspended or revoked.

Ice fishing is a great activity to share with friends and family.  It’s also a great way to make some happy winter memories that will last a lifetime.  So round up the crew, dust off that fur hat you bought in Fort Kent, and head to a pond or lake near you!

The Lowdown

Dates:  February 18th – 19th
Rules:  All current fishing rules and regulations apply.  Click here to view Maine IFW’s 2017 Open Water & Ice Fishing Rules and Regulations.
Ice:  Could be sketchy in some places due to the warm-cold-warm-cold weather we’ve had this season.  IFW urges people to be cautious and check conditions before heading out onto the ice.  Check the ice in several places with a chisel or auger.  Remember, ice that forms near streams, bridges and culverts will be thinner from the moving water below.
Where Should I Fish?  Did you know the IFW has a Fishing Guide that integrates with Google Earth?  The added layers show you tons of information, including the depth of the water, and species you can catch!  Click here for more information and to download the Maine Fishing Guide layers.

Thick and blue, tried and true.  Thin and crispy, way too risky

Walking on thin ice, no matter what context, is always bad.  If you’re looking for more information about ice safety, IFW had a great blog post in 2014 that shared some great ice safety tips.  Click here to view the post.  Here is a great ice thickness chart and wind chill chart to help you plan and prepare as well.

Don’t dump your bait!

One of the biggest threats to Maine’s freshwater ecosystems is the introduction of invasive species.  This includes baitfish used in ice fishing.  What do you do with unused bait?  Dump them out on land to feed the eagles, or give them to another fisherman.  Dumping baitfish into the water can destroy native fish populations and fishing opportunities for future generations.  Click here to read Maine IFW’s information about illegal fish introductions.

But wait, there’s more!

Prefer to fish in warmer weather?  Maine’s DIFW has got you covered.  They are offering another free fishing weekend June 3rd and 4th, 2017.

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