Gov. Janet Mills has signed an executive order to create Free Fishing License Week from Saturday, Feb. 13 to Sunday, Feb. 21. During this time, people who register may fish for free without a license on Maine’s waterways.
Since the pandemic began, Mills and Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner Judy Camuso have strongly encouraged Maine people to enjoy the outdoors.
“Exploring the great outdoors in Maine is a healthy and safe way to spend time during the pandemic,” Mills said. “As an avid angler myself, it is my hope that this week of free fishing will encourage Maine people to enjoy the outdoors.”
In order to participate in Free Fishing License Week, one must register online at mefishwildlife.com/icefishing. Any person who registers may fish for free without a license on Maine’s waterways Feb. 13-21, except those who have had their license suspended or revoked. All other rules and regulations, including bag and possession limits, apply. The dates coincide with public schools’ February vacation.
“No matter your age, spending time outside can boost your physical, mental and emotional health, which is more important now during the pandemic than ever before,” said Camuso. “Ice fishing is an excellent opportunity to get outside safely this winter and I encourage everyone to take advantage of Free Fishing License Week to do so.”
The executive order extends the Family Fishing weekends. The legislature created these family fishing weekends years ago, recognizing the importance of getting people outside and introducing them to a lifetime activity of fishing.
The governor’s executive order builds on her work to expand access to outdoor activity during the pandemic, like suspending the need for a fishing license in April and extending boating registrations in the spring of 2020.
Last year, over 345,000 people were licensed to fish in Maine. Fishing contributes more than $370 million to Maine’s economy.