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Angler education calendar

Learn how to fish with MassWildlife's Angler Education Program! Find upcoming events 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

Sept 8: Family Fishing Clinic, Stoneham -- Join MassWildlife for a family friendly, learn to fish clinic at Straw Point on Spot Pond in Stoneham from 4 to 6 p.m. This free program is co-sponsored by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). All fishing equipment and materials will be provided at this event for people of all ages. Pre-registration is required, as space is limited. Email brett.power@mass.gov to sign up. Please wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather. Bring water, sunscreen, and insect repellent. Rain will cancel program.

September 11: Harold Parker State Forest Family Fishing Festival, Andover – This is a free, non-competitive, family friendly, learn to fish event. Bring your fishing equipment, or borrow ours; limited equipment and bait will be provided. This event is in cooperation with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) at Sudden Pond in the Harold Parker State Forest from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Click here for directions. This event is open to the public but pre-registration is required. RSVP to Jim Lagacy at jim.lagacy@mass.gov or (508) 389-6309 if you’d like to attend or for more information.

September 15: Family Fishing Clinic, Lexington This is a family friendly, learn to fish clinic at Old Reservoir in Lexington (Parking area off Rt. 2A) from 5–7p.m. This event is in cooperation with the Lexington Recreation Department. The event is open to the public, pre-registration is required. Contact the Lexington Recreation Department via their website or by calling 781-698-4800.

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: dangiza@hotmail.com.

September 22: Family Fishing Clinic, Medway – This is a family friendly, learn to fish clinic at Choate Park Pond (7 Oak Street, Medway) from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. This event is in cooperation with the Medway Parks and Recreation Department. The event is open to the public, pre-registration is required. Contact the Medway Parks and Recreation Office through their website or by calling (508) 321-4740.

Sept 25: Fearing Pond Family Fishing Festival, Plymouth – This is a free, family friendly, learn to fish event. Bring your fishing equipment or borrow ours. The event takes place at Fearing Pond in the Myles Standish State Forest, Plymouth from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. This event is in cooperation with the Friends of Myles Standish State Forest and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) The festival is open to the public, no pre-registration is required. Contact Jim Lagacy at jim.lagacy@mass.gov or 508-389-6309 for more information.

September 25: Muldoon Park Family Fishing Clinic, Lowell – This is a free, family friendly learn to fish event. Bring your fishing equipment or borrow ours. The event takes place at Muldoon Park (5 Billerica St, Lowell, MA 01852) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. This event is in cooperation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Mass Audubon, and the Lowell Parks and Conservation Trust.  Pre-registration is required via the Lowell Parks and Conservation Trust website.

Sept 28: Family Fishing Clinic, Lincoln/Sudbury – Join us for a family friendly, learn to fish clinic at Sewataro Fishing Pond (1 Liberty Ledge Rd, Sudbury, MA 01776) from 4:30 – 6:30pm. This event is in cooperation with the Lincoln-Sudbury Adult & Community Education Program. Open to the public; pre-registration is required. Visit  https://lsrhs.ce.eleyo.com/  to register or for more information.

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.

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