Massachusetts Saltwater Fish Availability Calendar

Essential Fishing Prohibitions

Restricted Practices and Species

Anadromous Fish Protections

  • Prohibited Actions: Snagging or snatching anadromous fish such as shad, smelt, white perch, striped bass, trout, and salmon is illegal, with the exception of alewives or blueback herring.

Striped Bass Specifics

  • Legal Catch Methods: Striped bass must be caught using hook-and-line only.
  • High-Grading Ban: It is unlawful to discard dead, legally-sized striped bass.
  • Live Storage Prohibition: Keeping live striped bass in water using a stringer, live well, or holding car is not permitted.

Gear Restrictions

  • Billfish: Only rod and reel may be used for the capture of billfish.
  • Atlantic Salmon and Others: The capture of Atlantic salmon, sturgeon, all marine mammals, sea turtles, and diamond back terrapin from Massachusetts waters is forbidden.

Equipment and Gear Interference

  • Unauthorized Interference: Handling, destroying, or molesting any lobster or crab pot or other fishing gear not owned by the individual, including gear found on shores, beaches, or flats, is prohibited.
  • Fish Removal: Removing fish from any gear not owned by the individual is illegal.

Commercial Activity

  • Permit Requirement: Selling, bartering, or exchanging fish or shellfish requires a commercial permit.

Bait and Hook Regulations

  • Circle Hook Mandate: Recreational fishermen must use circle hooks when fishing for striped bass with bait, defined as any marine or aquatic organism, live or dead, whole or parts thereof. This does not apply to artificial lures.

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