Free Ice Fishing Weekend

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February 19-20 is Free Fishing Weekend!

family walking on ice to go ice fishing


Free Fishing Weekend is a great time to get outside and enjoy one of Maine's signature winter traditions, ice fishing! If you haven't been ice fishing in years, this is a perfect opportunity to get back out there remember the thrill of the word "FLAG!" If you've never been, don't hesitate to ask a friend, coworker, or family member to tag along... Anglers enjoy sharing their passion with others.


During Free Fishing Weekend, February 19-20, 2022, any person (except those whose license has been suspended or revoked) may fish without a license. All other laws and regulations apply on these days.


With the snow cover and warmer temperatures, the ice may be slushy! Learn more about ice safety on our website. To beat the slush, remember these tips:

  • Wear tall, waterproof insulated boots to keep your feet dry.
  • Pack a pair of snowshoes to help you stay on top of the snow. 
  • Especially for kiddos, pack extra gloves and a hat in case they get wet. Rain pants over the warmer base layers will help keep them dry. 

Wondering where to go? Check out the February Fishing Report or view the Beginner's Guide to Ice Fishing in Maine.

mom and son drinking hot chocolate on the ice

Tips for a FUN day on the ice

  • Target warmwater species such as perch, chain pickerel, and bass for an action-filled day to help first timers get hooked.
  • Bring a warm drink or meal such as hot cocoa, hot dogs, or chili! The experience of being on the ice is what makes ice fishing memorable for many.
  • Make sure everyone dresses warm and pack extra mittens, hats, and socks. It's better to have too many layers than not enough.
  • Cards, a football, cornhole, and ice skates makes time between flags just as fun! Or, build a snowman (no extra gear necessary).
  • Keep kids engaged with a task. If the kiddo with you isn't quite ready to set a trap fully on their own, keep them engaged with their own responsibilities. It can be as simple as holding the skimmer, scooping the bait fish, or picking where the next hole will be!
  • Focus on the fun. For newbies, it isn't about a trophy fish... Avoid super long walks, and aim for a half day... anything beyond that is a bonus!

someone drilling a hole

Enjoy your day on the ice, and remember these tips

There is no question, ice fishing is a large part of Maine's outdoor heritage. Enjoy your ice fishing trip, and remember:  

  • Leave no trace – Carry out all that you carry in. 
  • Park in public or designated areas - Don't block paths or other roads. 
  • Respect private property – Utilize public access sites or areas where you have permission to park or access.
  • Be prepared – Check the weather, bring what you need for the day, and let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
  • Take care of your catch  – If you are practicing catch and release, do so quickly and responsibly. If you harvest your catch, please bring it home with you. 

Helpful links

Beginner’s Guide to Ice Fishing in Maine

Winter ice safety

Buy a fishing license

Monthly fishing report

Search Maine fishing laws

2022 Fishing law book

Protect our Waters from Invasive Species

Fishing Laws Online Angling Tool (FLOAT)

Fishing resources

Current stocking report

Maine Fishing Guide

Fishing with soft plastic lures

Hire a registered Maine guide

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