Many of us love summer and for good reason. Fun summer activities are endless including swimming, grilling, hiking and fishing just to name a few.

Speaking of fishing, many of us know that a license is required to fish in the state of Massachusetts but do you know what the punishments are if you choose to fish without a license?

First a Look at the Law

Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 131, Section 11, states the following

You cannot fish in any inland waters (lakes, rivers etc.) in Massachusetts, unless you are a minor under 15. Also, you can't hunt or trap any bird or mammal except as otherwise provided in sections four, fourteen, fifteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-three and thirty-seven without first having obtained a sporting, hunting, fishing, or trapping license.

So, What is the Punishment? 

Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 131, Section 90

The punishment includes a fine of $50 - $100 and/or you could face prison time for 30 days.

Section 90 of Chapter 131 provides for an additional penalty of $5 for each fish illegally taken, and $2,000 if it's an endangered specie.

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If That's Not Enough, There are Separate Penalties for Saltwater Fishing: 

Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 130, Section 17C, Subsection (b) provides the following: 

You cannot participate in the recreational activity of fin fishing, or take or land finfish for recreational purposes in or from the coastal waters in Massachusetts without first obtaining a saltwater recreational fishing permit from the director.

Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 130, Section 17D, provides the following as a penalty for saltwater fishing without a required license:

If you violate section 17C, or any related rule or regulation, you'll be punished by a fine per offense as declared by the director.

Who Needs a License?

According to if you are 15 years of age or older, you need a license to fish. Licenses are FREE for Massachusetts residents 15-17 years of age, and those 70 and over. You can get your license by going here.  Also, don't forget to carry your license with you just like you would your driver's license.

Disabled Residents 

These residents can obtain a free license but must follow the appropriate steps.

Bottom Line

Fishing is meant to be fun, but the fun runs out if you get caught without a license.

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