The state's free fishing weekend is Saturday and Sunday, June 1-2 and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife encourages all to get outside and enjoy a day with family or friends on one of the many waters.

Any person may fish for free without a license on Maine’s waterways, except those who have had their license suspended or revoked. All other rules and regulations, including bag and possession limits, apply.

For more information on the rules and regulations on a favorite water, visit maine.gov/ifw/fishing-boating/index.html.

Anglers also have a new tool that makes it quick and easy to find out the fishing regulations on any of Maine’s inland waters. Maine’s Fishing Laws Online Angling Tool (FLOAT), is an online map-based tool that can be accessed from one's computer or smartphone, giving one access to fishing regulations for all the favorite fishing waters.

Fishing is one of the most popular ways to enjoy Maine’s outdoors. There are wonderful fishing opportunities throughout the state on the nearly 6,000 lakes and ponds and more than 30,000 miles of rivers and streams.

Wondering where to go? Check out the improved Maine fishing guide at maine.gov/ifw/fishing-boating/fishing/fishing-resources/maine-fishing-guide/index.html. This statewide guide features the top fishing destinations in the state, broken down by species, tips on how to catch various species and even provides advice on how to fish with children. One can even use the department’s Google Earth data layers on a desktop to select the next fishing destination.

And the fun does not have to stop after the weekend. One can go online at mefishwildlife.com and get a license. There are license options for a day, week, 15 days or a season. The cost for a day of fishing is less than you would pay to go to the movies. And children under age 16 fish free.

Last year, more than 345,000 people were licensed to fish in Maine and fishing contributes more than $370 million to Maine’s economy. Money from license sales helps protect Maine’s waters, it enhances Maine’s fisheries and provides water access on many of Maine’s lakes and rivers.

The department stocks more than 1 million fish each year and manages more than 20 species of freshwater game fish. Wondering where we stocked fish lately? Go online at maine.gov/ifw/fishing-boating/fishing/fishing-resources/fish-stocking-report.html.

The department also offers a free ice fishing weekend in February each year.

For a complete list of fishing regulations, including limits and sizes, visit maine.gov/ifw/fishing-boating/index.html.

For more information on fishing opportunities in Maine, visit maine.gov/ifw/fishing-boating/fishing/fishing-resources/maine-fishing-guide/index.html.

MDIFW preserves, protects, and enhances the inland fisheries and wildlife resources of the state. Established in 1880 to protect big game populations, MDIFW has since evolved in scope to include protection and management of fish, non-game wildlife, and habitats, as well as restoration of endangered species like the bald eagle. In addition to its conservation duties, MDIFW is also responsible for enabling and promoting the safe enjoyment of Maine’s outdoors — from whitewater rafting to boating, snowmobiling, hunting, fishing, and wildlife observation. The agency’s constituents include the fish, wildlife, and people who call Maine home, as well as the visiting outdoor enthusiasts and ecotourists who call Maine Vacationland and contribute hundreds of millions of dollars each year to the state’s economy.

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com or by phone at 594-4401.