Massachusetts Fishing License Information

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Massachusetts is famed for the amazing local seafood, an incredible summer, and as a home to Harvard and MIT.

The Bay City offers a lot when it comes to water activities, but none can beat the fishing adventure.

The abundance of freshwater lakes, streams, reservoirs, ponds, and rivers, makes the state a favorite destination for all sorts of angling.

You can visit Cape Cod to catch bluefish, Spectacle Pond for bullheads, whereas Ipswich River is where you’ll catch many trout. 

But before you set out for a fishing trip, you must have a Massachusetts fishing license.

The article will discuss types of Massachusetts fishing licenses, where to find them, and all other information about fishing in Massachusetts.

Who Must Have a License To Fish in Massachusetts?

Both residents and non-residents aged 15 and above must have a license to catch fish in Massachusetts fresh waters.

For a saltwater fishing permit, one must be 16 years or older. The fee varies depending on age, license type, and duration.

The state uses fees collected to support statewide conservation, fish stocking, habitat restoration, and other research activities such as disease and prevention.

However, there are exemptions where Massachusetts residents can get a fishing license for free or even fish without one.

License Type and Fees

License TypeFee
Resident freshwater fishing$27.50
Resident freshwater fishing for minors(15-17 years)Free
Resident freshwater fishing (65-69 years)$16.25
Resident freshwater fishing for seniors (70 years and above)Free
Resident freshwater fishing (3 days)$12.50
Resident freshwater fishing (intellectually challenged, blind, paraplegic)Free
Non-resident freshwater fishing$37.50
Non-resident freshwater fishing (15-17 years)$11.50
Non-resident freshwater fishing (3 days)$23.50
Saltwater fishing license (anglers below 60 years)$10.00
Saltwater fishing license (anglers over 60 years)Free


Sporting License (Freshwater Fishing $ Hunting)

License TypeFee
Resident sporting$40.00
Resident sporting (65-69 years)$20.00
Resident sporting seniors (70 years and above, trapping included)Free
Resident/non-resident sporting (paraplegic)Free

Exemptions For a Fishing License in Massachusetts?

You’ll not need a fishing license in Massachusetts  if you:

  • Meet Massachusetts definition of a disabled person.
  • Are a minor below 16 years for saltwater fishing and below 15 years for freshwater.
  • Plan to book a fishing charter with a licensed captain. The boat’s license covers you.
  • Hold an Atlantic migratory species Permit issued by the government. The permit allows you to fin-fish entirely in all federal waters.  

Who Qualifies as Massachusetts Resident?

You’re considered a legal Massachusetts resident if you:

  • Move into or out of the state during the tax year.
  • Have lived in the state for the entire tax year
  •  Maintain a permanent residence in Massachusetts and spend more than 183 days (excluding days spent while on active duty in the armed forces)

Where Can I Buy a Fishing License in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game is Massachusetts’s official licensing and harvest reporting system for residents and non-residents. 

The agency offers multiple ways to acquire the license once you meet the requirements.

How To Buy a Fishing License in Massachusetts

There are four ways all eligible people can buy a fishing permit in Massachusetts—through the mail, online, through a phone call or in person.

Via Mail

To order your Massachusetts fishing license via mail, download the application form from the website, fill it appropriately and send it together with a cheque of the exact amount to the below address.

Division of Marine Fisheries

251 Causeway St.

Suite 400

Boston, MA 02114


The Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game allows you to buy a fishing license online by logging in MassFishHunt

New customers must create an account and fill in the necessary details, including age, license type, and other vital information.

Via Phone

You can call the toll-free MassFishHunt hotline number 866-703-1925 between 5 AM and 5 PM to make inquiries and purchases through your phone.

In Person

You can buy a Massachusetts fishing license in person from sales agents or through the MassWildlife agency offices.

You can use the MassFishHunt license agent map to locate the nearest stores.  

Note: All anglers must show either a printed copy of the fishing licensing before stepping in the waters. An eligible image display on your smartphone is also acceptable.


Massachusetts is one of the states with strict adherence to wildlife preservation and anglers interests at heart.

For instance, the state has a reciprocity agreement on saltwater fishing with other states such as Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Connecticut.

You’ll not need a Massachusetts fishing license if you hold a saltwater fishing license from any of the three states.

Additionally, you can cross to Maine Waters with a Massachusetts saltwater fishing license, but not vice versa.

Note that Massachusetts does not have a combination license type.

Therefore, you’ll need to buy separate permits for your freshwater and saltwater fishing adventures.