Massachusetts Fishing Licenses, Laws, and Regulations


Massachusetts Fishing Licenses, Laws, and Regulations

Massachusetts has great potential when it comes to fishing spots. Martha\’s Vineyard is home to an old striped bass. Cape Cod is the place to go to catch blue fish. Fearing Pond is teeming with largemouth bass. The Ipswich River has an abundant trout population, while Spectacle Pond is the best place to catch bullheads. But before you prepare for your fishing trip, the best thing to do is to research what type of fishing license is best and whether an additional saltwater fishing permit is required.

The Massachusetts fishing license can be purchased online from the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game website. The money from the fishing license will be used in part for the state\’s conservation efforts.

Massachusetts, like all states, has its own fishing regulations. Additional fishing laws and regulations for particular waterways may apply and are subject to change based on current assessments of the fish population. Responsible anglers should know and follow the fishing rules and regulations.

Massachusetts Fishing Licenses

When fishing, nature conservation must be taken into account. An angler must have sufficient knowledge of the species of fish he is trying to catch in order to know the most appropriate fishing technique for the fish. Knowing about fish behavior will better enable the angler to make decisions about how to release fish based on their age or size.

Ever wanted to take a family trip to Fearing Pond in Myles Standish State Forest or catch a blue bass off Cape Cod? Or maybe catch a trout-sized trout in other beautiful Massachusetts fishing spots? If so, then find out what the correct fishing license is to purchase before being allowed to reel your fishing line in any body of water across the state.

Massachusetts is home to the most popular fishing destinations in the country. Its beautiful coastline, bays, lakes and rivers provide great fishing opportunities. In fact, the fishing industry has long been a supporter of many coastal towns across the state, and there is no denying the importance of their water resources to the people of Massachusetts. For this reason, a fishing license is very important. It also studies how many people catch fish in their waters and the proceeds from sales are also used to fund their conservation initiatives.

Wherever you want to fish in MA there is a proper fishing license you need to buy. It\’s also easy to buy one as there are convenient options available to you. Understanding the various licenses can be a daunting task for some, but it\’s actually very simple. This article summarizes everything you need to know when getting a Massachusetts fishing license.

Who needs to buy a Massachusetts fishing license?

The state of Massachusetts requires all anglers, whether resident or non-resident, to obtain the required fishing permits based on their intended use. Interestingly, the age requirements for saltwater and freshwater fishing licenses vary across states. If you want to fish in freshwater, you must be at least 15 years old to obtain a fishing license. Conversely, 15-year-olds can already purchase a fishing license if they plan to fish in a saltwater fishing area.

How do I buy a fishing license in Massachusetts?

Any eligible angler in the state of Massachusetts can obtain a fishing license in four different ways: online, by mail, in person, and over the phone.


You can purchase a Massachusetts fishing license online by logging into the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game\’s MassFishHunt.

Via phone

You can also call the MassFishHunt hotline if you would like to order a fishing license over the phone. Fishing licenses can be purchased there between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. You can call the toll-free number 866-703-1925 for inquiries and purchases.

By email

Aside from the above methods, you can also order your Massachusetts fishing license by mail. To order a license this way, you need to download an application form from the website and send it to the following postal address, along with a check for the exact amount of your purchase:

Marine Fisheries Department
251 Dammstrasse
Suite 400
Boston, MA 02114


Of course, the most convenient and quickest way to obtain a Massachusetts license is to purchase a license from a license sales agent or the MassWildlife agency office. To find the distributor closest to you, you can check this map.

Different types of fishing licenses in Massachusetts

Massachusetts fishing licenses are divided into two categories – freshwater and saltwater fishing licenses.

Freshwater licenses

If you want to fish in a freshwater fishing area, you must obtain a freshwater fishing license. Here\’s a round-up of the different licenses you can buy if you want to fish in one saltwater location across the state:

LicenseResidentsNot resident
Freshwater fishing$ 27.50$ 37.50
Small freshwater fishing (ages 15-17)FOR FREE$ 11.50
Freshwater Fishing (Age 65-69)$ 16.25Not available
Freshwater fishing
(Age 70 or older or paraplegic, blind, mentally disabled)
FOR FREENot available
Freshwater fishing (3 days)$ 12.50$ 23.50
Quabbin one day freshwater fishing$ 5.00$ 5.00

To fish in Massachusetts\’ freshwater bodies (lakes, rivers, reservoirs, etc.), anglers 18-64 years of age must purchase a $ 27.50 (residents) and $ 37.50 (non-residents) freshwater fishing permits. Additionally, underage anglers (ages 15-17) can get a free freshwater fishing license if they are a resident and at a discounted rate of $ 11.50 if they are not a resident. Anglers over 70 and paraplegic, blind and mentally handicapped anglers can purchase a freshwater license free of charge. Please note that the prices shown above are for annual licenses, unless otherwise stated.

If you\’re just planning a quick Massachusetts fishing trip and don\’t find purchasing an annual fishing license worthwhile, you can purchase a 3-day freshwater license for $ 12.50 (residents) and $ 23.50 (non-residents).

Salt water licenses

If you plan to catch fish in a saltwater area in the state of Massachusetts, you must obtain a saltwater fishing license. The following matrix shows the fee for each type of saltwater fishing license:

LicenseResidentsNot resident
Fishing license in salt water (anglers under 60 years of age)$ 10.00$ 10.00
Fishing license in salt water (anglers over 60)FOR FREEFOR FREE

To fish in a saltwater fishing location in Massachusetts and you are under the age of 60, you must purchase a $ 10.00 saltwater fishing permit (applies to residents and non-residents alike). People aged 60 and over can get a saltwater fishing license free of charge.

Fishing license fees and other considerations

There are other fees and dues associated with purchasing a Massachusetts fishing license as well. The first time you purchase a Massachusetts fishing license, you will be charged a one-time fee of $ 5.00 for the Wildlands Conservation Stamp. This fee is applied to all resident and non-resident licenses. The fee for a second permit in the calendar year does not include the $ 5.00 Wildlands Conservation Stamp fee.

In the meantime, city and town officials will need to add an additional dollar ($ 1.00); other sales agents may add an additional one dollar and fifty cents ($ 1.50) service fee to the price of each license sold. An additional service fee of $ 1.50 per license is applied to all Licenses collected that were purchased through a distribution partner. The same service fee plus an additional internet processing fee of 3% is charged on the entire transaction for all online license purchases. Licenses purchased in the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife offices do not incur any service or internet processing fees, where only cash or checks are accepted.

Daily fishing limit and other Massachusetts fishing regulations

The state of Massachusetts has strict daily catch and ownership restrictions on salt and freshwater fish. These regulations keep fish populations healthy and offer anglers in the Commonwealth a wide variety of fishing opportunities. The following matrix summarizes these limits:

Freshwater fishing regulations

speciesOpen session (all appointments included)Daily fishing limitMinimum length
Lakes, ponds, large riversJanuary 1st – December 31st3N / A
House atonic riverJanuary 1st – December 31st120 ”
All other rivers and streamsApril 1 – September 10, 200208thN / A
Lake trout
Wachusett ReservoirHired by the Department of Conservation and Recreation3N / A
QuabbinEstablished by the Department of Conservation and Recreation.218 \»
Landlocked salmonJanuary 1st – December 31st2fifteen\»
American shad 7th (Connecticut and Merrimack Rivers only, including their tributaries.)January 1st – December 31st3N / A
Chain pickerJanuary 1st – December 31st5fifteen\»
Black bass (Largemouth and Smallmouth, individually or combined)January 1st – December 31st512 \»
Northern pikeJanuary 1st – December 31st128 \»
Tiger muscle lungsJanuary 1st – December 31st128 \»
PikeperchJanuary 1st – December 31st514 ”
StintJanuary 1st – February 28th

May 16 – December 31

N / AN / A
All other freshwater speciesJanuary 1st – December 31stN / AN / A

Note: For more information, please consult the website.

Saltwater fishing regulations

speciesseasonSize limitOwnership limit
American eelJanuary 1st – December 31st9 inches25 fish
Black sea bassMay 18 – September 815 inches5 fish
Blue fishJanuary 1st – December 31stno limit10 fish
Cod (North of Cape Cod)September 15 – September 3021 \»1 fish
Cod (South of Cape Cod)January 1st – December 31st21 in.10 fish
Dots (clods)January 1st – December 31st14 inno limit
flukeMay 23rd – October 9th17 inch5 fish
Gray soleJanuary 1st – December 31st14 inno limit
Haddock (North of Cape Cod)May 1st – February 29th17 inch15 fish
April 15 – April 3017 inch15 fish
Haddock (South of Cape Cod)January 1st – December 31st18 inchesno limit
HalibutJanuary 1st – December 31st41 in1 fish
monkfishJanuary 1st – December 31stno limitno limit
Ocean poutClosedN / Aforbidden
coalfishJanuary 1st – December 31stno limitno limit
Red fishJanuary 1st – December 31stno limitno limit
River herringClosedN / Aforbidden
Scup, privateJanuary 1st – December 31st9 inches30 fish per angler. Do not exceed 150 fish per boat with 5 or more anglers.
Scup, for rent


January 1st – April 30th9 inches30 fish
May 1st – June 30th9 inches50 fish
July 1st – December 31st9 inches30 fish
American allis shad Merrimack &

Connecticut Rivers

January 1st – December 31stno limit3 fish
American shad other watersJanuary 1st – December 31stN / Ajust catch and let go
StintJune 16 – March 14no limit50 fish
DogfishJanuary 1st – December 31stno limitno limit
Striped bassJanuary 1st – December 31st28 inches1 fish




January 1st – March 31stN / Aforbidden
April 1st – May 31st16 inches3 fish
June 1st – July 31st16 inches1 fish
August 1st – October 14th16 inches3 fish
Oct 15 – Dec 3116 inches5 fish
Weak fishJanuary 1st – December 31st16 inches1 fish
White perchJanuary 1st – December 31st8 inches25 fish
Window paneforbiddenN / AN / A
Winter flounder

(North of Cape Cod)

January 1st – December 31st12 inches8 fish
Winter flounder

(South & East of Cape Cod)

March 1st – December 31st12 inches2 fish
Wolf fishforbiddenN / AN / A
Yellowtail flounderJanuary 1st – December 31st13 inno limit

Note: For more information, please consult the website.

frequently asked Questions

Q: Is there a reciprocity agreement with other states?

Massachusetts has saltwater reciprocity agreements with New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Q: What is the processing fee if I buy a license online?

In addition to all fees, there is an internet processing fee of 3% of the total transaction for all online license purchases.

Q: What is the MassWildlife contact number?

You can reach them Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at (508) 389-6300.