To legally fish in Massachusetts, both residents and non-residents aged 15 and older must have a valid fishing license. The cost of an annual freshwater fishing license for Massachusetts residents is $27.50 in 2024. Non-resident licenses are $37.50 for an annual freshwater fishing permit.

Massachusetts also offers several other license options depending on your needs:

  • Resident Minor Fishing License (ages 15-17): $11.50
  • Resident Fishing License (ages 65-69): $16.25
  • Resident Fishing License (age 70 or older): Free
  • Non-Resident 3-Day Fishing License: $23.50
  • Quabbin Fishing License (1-day for non-residents fishing Quabbin Reservoir): $5.00

All fishing licenses are valid for the calendar year, from January 1 through December 31.

How to Purchase a Massachusetts Fishing License

You can conveniently purchase your Massachusetts fishing license online through the Massachusetts Wildlife Fishing/Hunting Licenses portal. The online system allows you to print a PDF license immediately after purchasing.

Fishing licenses are also available in-person from vendors across the state, including some town clerks, retail stores, and bait & tackle shops. The MassFishHunt site has a vendor locator to find a nearby license sales location.

Additional Fishing Permits in Massachusetts

Depending on the waters you plan to fish, you may need additional stamps or permits beyond the standard freshwater fishing license:

  • Trout Stamp ($5.25): Required when fishing for trout or salmon stocked by MassWildlife in lakes, ponds, rivers and streams.
  • Quabbin Reservation Stamp ($4.60): Needed to fish the Quabbin Reservoir in addition to a fishing license.

Saltwater anglers fishing in coastal waters, including Cape Cod, do not need to purchase a state saltwater license. However, they must register with the National Saltwater Angler Registry which has a $0 fee for Massachusetts.

Free Fishing Days in Massachusetts

Massachusetts offers two “free fishing days” each year when anyone can fish state waters without a license:

  • Third Saturday in June (June 17, 2024)
  • Labor Day Weekend (September 2, 2024)

These free fishing days apply to both freshwater and saltwater fishing and are a great opportunity to try the sport without purchasing a license first.

Fishing Regulations and Resources

In addition to having a valid license, all anglers 15 and older must follow Massachusetts fishing regulations on limits, seasons, gear restrictions and more. Key resources include:

By purchasing the required licenses and permits, you are supporting the conservation efforts of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife that sustain the state’s aquatic resources for future generations.

Can I use my fishing license from another state in Massachusetts?

No, fishing licenses from other states are not valid in Massachusetts. You must obtain a Massachusetts fishing license to fish legally in the state’s waters.

Do I need a separate license for freshwater and saltwater fishing?

Yes, Massachusetts offers separate licenses for freshwater and saltwater fishing. However, you can also purchase a combination license that covers both freshwater and saltwater areas, providing maximum flexibility for your fishing adventures.

Can I fish on a charter boat without a fishing license?

No, you still need a valid fishing license even if you are fishing on a charter boat in Massachusetts waters. The license requirement applies to all fishing activities, regardless of whether you are fishing from shore or a boat.

How long is a fishing license valid in Massachusetts?

Most fishing licenses in Massachusetts are valid for one calendar year from the date of purchase. However, there are also short-term licenses available for those planning a brief fishing trip, such as 3-day or 10-day licenses.

Can I renew my fishing license online?

Yes, you can renew your fishing license online through the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife website. This convenient option allows you to quickly and easily renew your license without having to visit a physical location.

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