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Angler education calendar

Learn how to fish with MassWildlife's Angler Education Program! Find upcoming seminars and online resources to get started fishing today.
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.

Upcoming Events

Learn to Fish with MassWildlife this summer!
Have you been fishing a few times in the past but need a little more information and practice to feel confident on the water? Adults and families who want to learn how to fish on their own are invited to join one of MassWildlife’s free learn to fish classes this summer. These classes include an online video tutorial that you to watch on your own time, followed by an in-person event to practice. Come try your hand at this great pastime—you're guaranteed to catch some fun!  

Fishing instructional video: Watch a recorded Angler Education Introduction to Fishing Class. The 1.5 hour class covers fishing gear, where to fish, regulations, casting techniques, species specific fishing tips and much more!

In-person fishing class: For those who want some hands-on practice, sign up for an in-person class. Participants should watch the instructional video before attending the live event. The live class will teach how to use bait, how to set up a line, and how to cast. There will be plenty of time to fish and ask questions. Space is limited, register below to save your spot.

Classes are free, but pre-registration is required and space is limited. Register by clicking the link next to the class you want to joining. Any participants ages 15 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.   

In addition to these adult and family fishing clinics, MassWildlife is also offering fishing classes for adult women ages 18+ through the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Program. Click here to see the dates for these classes.  


July 19: Fish in Cold Waters – In this online event hosted by MassWildlife and the City of Worcester, participants will learn what defines coldwater fish resources, where are they located in Worcester, and how water quality impacts fishing opportunities in the region. This session begins at 6:30 p.m. and is part of the 2021 Blue Space Angler Event Series. Event contact:

September 18: Family Learn to Fish Event – Are you interested in giving fishing a try, but maybe don't know where to start?  As  part of the 2021 Blue Space Angler Event Series join the MassWildlife Angler Education Program and the Tatnuck Brook Watershed Association to learn the basics of fishing at 9 a.m. Participants will be provided an overview of rod and reel fishing equipment, techniques, rules, and the safety elements required to enjoy a day of fishing. Following this virtual event, participants will get the opportunity to give fishing a try at Coes Reservoir beach. All fishing equipment and materials will be provided at this event for people of all ages. While no fishing license is required, online registration is, as space is limited. Event contact:

Get started fishing on your own

In-person Angler Education programs are limited at this time due to COVID-19. Luckily, you can learn to fish on your own! Keep reading for tips on getting started.

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, choose an open spot without overhanging trees or too much submerged vegetation.

What to bring

If you’re new to fishing, you don’t need tons of fancy equipment. MassWildlife suggests that you take:

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

Get more tips on how to choose bait.

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. Warmwater 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, or catch (creel) limits.

Online tutorials

MassWildlife has offered virtual seminars on fishing throughout the last year. You can watch the recordings here:

  • All About Ice Fishing: Angler Education Coordinator Jim Lagacy gives his best tips for getting started ice fishing, including safety, gear, bait, and more. 

  • Fall Trout Fishing Tips: MassWildlife Hatchery Manager Caleb Slater, Assistant Director of Fisheries Todd Richards, and Angler Education Coordinator Jim Lagacy talk all things trout in Massachusetts! They give important updates about fall trout stocking, show you how to find trout stocked waters near you, and offer fall trout fishing tips.

  • Finding Bass in Mass: Professional bass angler Gene Ellison joins MassWildlife staff and divulges some of his best tips for finding and catching bass. Jason Stolarski, MassWildlife Watershed Project Leader, talks about how he catches and studies bass and other fish in lakes and ponds across Massachusetts with fisheries sampling gear. Todd Richards, MassWildlife Assistant Director of Fisheries, demos some great online tools to help you find bass on your own.

  • Family Fishing Tips: Wondering what the right age is to introduce your kids to fishing, what bait you should use, or where to go? We've got you covered! MassWildlife's Angler Education Coordinator Jim Lagacy and Communications Coordinator Emily Stolarski chat about tips and tricks for fishing with kids.

Get even more information with these helpful fishing tips and tutorials.