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Angler education calendar

In-person Angler Education programs have been canceled until further notice. Luckily, you can learn to fish on your own! All you need to get started is some simple gear and a few tips. Learning to fish also takes practice, and that’s the fun part!
Kid fishing with instructor

If you are 15 years of age or older, you need a license to fish. Use the MassFishHunt online system to purchase a license. Note: Licenses are free for Massachusetts residents 15-17 years of age, and those 70 and over.

More fishing info

Where to go

Massachusetts offers many beautiful freshwater lakes, reservoirs, ponds, streams, and rivers where you can fish and enjoy a great day on the water. Use MassWildlife’s featured fishing map to find a lake, pond, or river that is perfect for beginners.When you arrive at the waterbody, choose an open spot without overhanging trees or too much submerged vegetation.

What to bring

If you’re a first-time angler, you don’t need tons of fancy equipment. MassWildlife suggests that you take:

  • A simple push button spin casting setup
  • Some hooks and bobbers
  • Bait

Types of Bait: If you get squeamish around wriggling worms, there are plenty of other options for bait. Fishing lures can be expensive and tricky to use, so they may not be the best choice when you’re just starting out. Instead, MassWildlife recommends:   

  • Garden worms
  • Mealworms
  • Small, dense pieces of food like cheese, chicken, hot dogs, or bread
  • Artificial pellet or paste bait

Helpful links:

What to fish for

Now that your gear is ready, what should you fish for? There are many different types of freshwater fish in Massachusetts to choose from:

  • Trout and salmon
  • Pike and pickerel
  • Perch and walleye
  • Bass and sunfish
  • Catfish and bullheads
  • Suckers

If you’re new to fishing, try fishing in the late spring, summer, and early fall. Warm water fish like sunfish are more active during this time, and easier to catch. Check the Massachusetts freshwater fishing regulations to find out if there are season, size limits, or catch (creel) limits.

More

Get even more information with these fishing tips and tutorials.

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