Guide Jay Robinson of Woodville tosses a fly rod tube into his canoe before heading out on a remote trout pond for an evening of fishing.
On Friday, Gov. Janet Mills directed the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to open all inland waters and waive the requirement that an angler must have a recreational fishing license to fish in these waters.
The order is effective immediately and will run through April 30, according to Mark Latti, MDIFW communications director. All waters that were supposed to open April 1 are now open to fishing.
Mills enacted the order to make it easier for Mainers to get outside and enjoy the outdoors during the COVID-19 outbreak. She encourages people to follow appropriate social distancing precautions, as recommended by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Latti said.
“During these times, getting outside and enjoying the outdoors is a wonderful way to recharge, while maintaining social distancing practices,” said Judy Camuso, Commissioner of MDIFW. “Waiving the requirements for a license will give people more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.”
This change does not apply to people who have had their recreational license suspended or revoked. It also does not apply to activities that require a commercial freshwater fishing license or permit, Latti said.
This change also does not open these waters that are currently closed to ice fishing. Bodies of water currently open to ice fishing can continue to be fished by anglers.
All tackle, length and bag limits and special regulations are still in effect, according to Latti.
Always use proper precaution when you go fishing. Let someone know where and when you are fishing, use proper equipment, wear a life jacket if you’re going to fish on a boat and make sure to follow all guidelines if you’re ice fishing.
“As an avid angler, I know there’s nothing better for the heart and soul than a little fishing,” Mills said.