Catch and Release Areas
Special regulation catch and release areas require artificial flies and lures only. They also prohibit the use of artificial and natural baits. Current catch and release areas include the East Branch of the Westfield River, Millers River, Nissitissit River, Quashnet River, Red Brook River, Swift River, Upper Deerfield River and the Housatonic River.
Specific limits depend on the species of fish and the type of water in which they are caught. Bodies of water are classified based on the management plan determined by the Massachusetts Division of Wildlife. Limits also differ between commercial and recreational fishing.
Many of the rivers and lakes in Massachusetts are year-round fisheries; however, some waters have specific seasons and closure dates. The special management lakes and major rivers are open all year while many smaller rivers and streams are closed for a portion of the year. Fishing during the closed season on these waters is illegal, and you will be penalized by law if caught.
Before going fishing, you must purchase a license. It is important that you sign the document and carry it while fishing. Wearing the license in plain view will prevent the misplacement of the document, and it will be easily available when needed by a game officer.
There are many species of fish to pursue in Massachusetts salt and fresh waters. Fishing regulations are updated annually, and it is important to read the guide book before going fishing.