Fishing in Massachusetts offers a diverse and rewarding experience for anglers of all ages. With its rich variety of freshwater and saltwater fishing opportunities, the state is a prime destination for fishing enthusiasts. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of the fishing regulations in Massachusetts for 2024, including license requirements, fees, and conservation efforts.

License Requirements

Who Needs a License?

In Massachusetts, anyone aged 15 and older needs a fishing license to fish in freshwater, and anyone aged 16 and older needs a permit to fish in saltwater. There are specific exemptions and discounts for certain age groups and individuals with disabilities.

Types of Licenses

Freshwater Fishing Licenses

  • Resident Fishing License: $33.00
  • Resident Minor Fishing License (Age 15-17): Free
  • Resident Fishing License (Age 65-69): $16.50
  • Resident Fishing License (Age 70 and older): Free
  • Non-Resident Fishing License: $43.00
  • Non-Resident Minor Fishing License (Age 15-17): $7.40
  • Resident Fishing (3-day): $15.00
  • Non-Resident Fishing (3-day): $25.70
  • Quabbin Reservoir 1-day Fishing: $5.00

Saltwater Fishing Permits

  • Saltwater Fishing Permit (Under 60): $10.00
  • Saltwater Fishing Permit (60 and Over): Free

How to Purchase a License

Licenses can be purchased online through the MassFishHunt system, by mail, in person at select retail stores, or at MassWildlife offices. Administrative fees may apply depending on the method of purchase.

License Validity and Fees


All fishing licenses in Massachusetts are valid from the date of purchase until December 31 of the same year. Anglers must carry a valid license, either in physical or digital form, while fishing.

Additional Fees

  • Wildlands Conservation Stamp: $5.00 (added to the first resident license purchased each year and all non-resident licenses)
  • Administrative Fees: $1.45 per license, plus a 2% convenience fee for online transactions
  • Agent Fees: Up to $1.50 for in-person purchases at retail stores or town offices

Conservation Efforts

Funding and Support

All funds from freshwater fishing, hunting, and trapping license purchases go directly into the Inland Fish and Game Fund, which supports MassWildlife programs and services. Funds from saltwater fishing permits go into the Marine Recreational Fisheries Development Fund, administered by the Division of Marine Fisheries.

Conservation Initiatives

Massachusetts is committed to maintaining its rich biodiversity and supporting sustainable fishing practices. Conservation efforts include habitat restoration, fish stocking, and public access improvements. The state also conducts regular surveys and research to monitor fish populations and health.

Fishing Regulations

Freshwater Fishing Regulations

  • Species and Limits: Regulations vary by species and waterbody. Anglers should check the latest rules on the MassWildlife website.
  • Seasons: Fishing seasons may vary for different species. Specific dates and limits are provided annually.

Saltwater Fishing Regulations

  • Species and Limits: Similar to freshwater, saltwater fishing regulations are subject to change. Anglers should consult the Division of Marine Fisheries for the most current information.
  • Seasons: Specific seasons and limits apply to various saltwater species, including cod, haddock, and striped bass.

Special Regulations

  • Catch and Release: Certain species may have catch-and-release requirements to protect vulnerable populations.
  • Gear Restrictions: Specific gear types may be restricted or prohibited in certain areas to minimize environmental impact.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Fishing without a valid license or violating fishing regulations can result in fines and penalties. The minimum penalty for fishing without a license is a $60 fine, but it can lead to larger fines or arrest depending on the severity of the violation.


Fishing in Massachusetts offers a wealth of opportunities for anglers, but it is essential to adhere to the state’s regulations to ensure sustainable and enjoyable fishing experiences for all. By obtaining the necessary licenses and following the rules, anglers contribute to the conservation and management of the state’s valuable fish resources. For the most up-to-date information on fishing regulations, visit the MassWildlife and Division of Marine Fisheries websites.

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