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Get ready to go freshwater fishing

What could be better than a day fishing on the water? Find out what you need to plan a great fishing trip.

It's easy to learn to fish! All you need to get started is some simple gear and a little practice. You need a license to fish in freshwater if you are 15 or older (license are free for those 15-17 and over 70). Get your fishing license now.

fishing boy


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 the Go Fish MA digital fishing map to find great fishing spots at lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, and coastal locations. Locations marked with a gold star, indicate areas that are very easy to access. 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

Note: If you want to go fishing in a catch and release area, you can’t use live bait. 

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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.

Looking for other opportunities to reel in more fish? Check the trout stocking report at MassWildlife adds trout to certain spots during the spring and fall to increase opportunities to test your fishing skills.