Massachusetts’ 8,000 miles of rivers and streams are not just a great place to take your kayak, many of them are teeming with fish. Fishing for trout, bass, sunfish and the numerous other species available in our rivers can be a great way to explore the outdoors, connect with nature and find some solitude. It’s also a fun activity to share with friends and family. Not sure how or where to start? The Massachusetts Department of Fish & Game can provide the beginning fisherperson with all the information you need to get into this enjoyable pastime. Their website provides all the details you need to become a fisherperson, including:
links for basic how-to, starter equipment, the regulations, and places to fish
a link to online introductory classes
details about the agency’s equipment loaner program
if you’re not quite ready to invest in your own gear.
Beginners can learn more at the Department’s website at:
Not sure where to go? Check out the agency’s online mapping tool, which can direct you to some of the best places to wet a line in Massachusetts:
Another great resource for finding a great Massachusetts river to fish is your local Trout Unlimited (TU) chapter: http://ma-ri-tu-council.org/
TU is a nationwide cold-water conservation organization with 10 regional chapters in Massachusetts. These groups regularly hold fly tying and fishing classes, in addition to conducting stream cleanups and other river restoration activities. They can even put you in touch with one of the many professional fishing guides in Massachusetts. Why not take a float trip down one of our rivers?
A few important things to keep in mind before you head out with your rod and reel:
A fishing license is required for anyone over the age of 16 in Massachusetts. Visit the Massachusetts Department of Fish & Game’s website links above to purchase your license online.
Safety first – fishing with a friend is not only fun but a safe alternative to fishing alone. Wear a personal floatation device. Carry a first aid kit in your daypack.
If you want to eat your catch, avoid polluted places. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has developed a list of locations where fish consumption advisories are in place: https://www.mass.gov/lists/fish-consumption-advisories
Here are some additional fishing safety tips: https://www.takemefishing.org/how-to-fish/fishing-safety/fishing-safety-tips/
Finally, remember, it’s called “fishing,” not “catching.” There may be times where you get “skunked” but any day on a river is a great day. Enjoy!