Massachusetts Fishing Regulations

Massachusetts Fishing Regulations
The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife has regulations regarding freshwater fishing in the state. These rules cover such things as minimum length, creel limits and how baitfish are caught by anglers.

Trout Season

The trout season extends year round in all lakes, major rivers, ponds and the main section of the Housatonic River. For the rest of Massachusetts' streams and brooks, the season trout season is from the beginning of April to mid-September.

Minimum Length

There are minimum lengths set for many species of fish in Massachusetts, such as 28 inches for a northern pike. In Massachusetts, the definition of the length of a fish is the straight-line distance from the tip of the tail to the tip of the snout.

Creel Limits

Specific creel limits exist for many species of fish, such as a limit of five for walleye. For several species such as bullhead, crappie, perch and sunfish, there is no set limit.

Prohibited Practices

Trotline fishing is illegal in Massachusetts, and an angler is allowed only two hooks in the open water and five while ice fishing. It is illegal to snag or attempt to snag fish with a hook in the state's waters.


Anglers can employ a rectangular-shaped net no larger than 36 square feet to capture baitfish such as fathead minnows, chub suckers, eels and yellow perch.

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