Fishing

On This Page Navigation

 
Shirtless man in swim trunks holds two batches of fish by canoe resting on the shoreline of a lake
Fishing in Acadia circa 1937

Courtesy of the National Park Service, Acadia National Park

Fishing in Acadia National Park

What comes to mind when you think about fishing? Patience, relaxation, challenge, and memories are a few words often associated with fishing. You will find all that and a sense of stewardship, conservation, and preservation on this page. We want you to have an enjoyable time during your visit, and for those who come after you to fish. Take some time to explore, learn what the park has to offer and learn your responsibilities before casting a line or flicking a fly into the water.

Acadia National Park allows fishing as a means of providing for public enjoyment, and customary and traditional use, and regulates fishing to ensure that it is managed in a manner that avoids unacceptable impacts to park resources.

Licenses 

A valid Maine fishing license is required to fish in the park although exceptions may apply, and fees vary. Children under 16 years of age do not require a license. Visitors fishing within Acadia National Park must follow the fishing license requirements in accordance with the laws and regulations of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Maine Department of Marine Resources.  

A free special use permit signed by the park superintendent or designee is required to transport weapons, traps, or nets across park lands in order to access the Great Ponds. Applicants for permits must possess a valid State of Maine license to hunt waterfowl, trap, and/or fish as a condition of the permit.

Fishing Regulations

Unless otherwise provided for, fishing regulations apply to all finfish found in both fresh and saltwater, and mollusks and crustaceans found in saltwater (shellfish).   Other taxa, including amphibians, and freshwater mollusks and crustaceans (e.g. waterdogs, crayfish) are not considered “fish” for the purpose of NPS fishing regulations and are addressed by NPS regulations governing “wildlife” (36CFR2.2). 

These fishing regulations apply, regardless of land ownership, on all lands and waters within the park that are under the legislative jurisdiction of the United States. These regulations do not apply to the Great Ponds, which are regulated by the State of Maine.

In all other areas, fishing shall be in accordance with the laws and regulations of the State of Maine (36CFR2.3(a)) EXCEPT as provided below. Where there is a conflict between a state regulation and a federal (NPS) regulation, the state regulation is superseded by the federal regulation. 

For state fishing regulations, please visit the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Maine Department of Marine Resources websites. 

For more information on how NPS fishing regulations work, go to the regulations page on the NPS Fish and Fishing website.

The following are prohibited: 

  • Fishing in fresh waters in any manner other than by hook and line, with the rod or line being closely attended.  

  • Possessing or using as bait for fishing in freshwaters, live or dead minnows or other bait fish, amphibians, non-preserved fish eggs or fish roe, except in designated waters.  

  • Chumming or placing preserved or fresh fish eggs, fish roe, food, fish parts, chemicals, or other foreign substances in fresh waters for the purpose of feeding or attracting fish in order that they may be taken.  

  • Commercial fishing, except where specifically authorized by Federal statutory law. 

  • Fishing by the use of drugs, poisons, explosives, or electricity. 

  • Digging for bait, except in privately owned lands. 

  • Failing to return carefully and immediately to the water from which it was taken a fish that does not meet size or species restrictions or that the person chooses not to keep. Fish so released shall not be included in the catch or possession limit: Provided, that at the time of catching the person did not possess the legal limit of fish. 

  • Fishing from motor road bridges, from or within 200 feet of a public raft or float designated for water sports, or within the limits of locations designated as swimming beaches, surfing areas, or public boat docks, except in designated areas. 

  • Introducing wildlife, fish or plants, including their reproductive bodies, into a park area ecosystem. This includes the discarding and/or dumping of bait and bait buckets. 

  • The use or possession of fish, wildlife or plants for ceremonial or religious purposes, except where specifically authorized by Federal statutory law, or treaty rights. 

Except as otherwise designated, fishing with a net, spear, or weapon in the salt waters of park areas shall be in accordance with State law. 

The following regulations apply only within Acadia National Park 

  • The Secretary [of the Interior] shall allow for the traditional taking of marine species, marine worms, and shellfish, on land within the Park between the mean high watermark and the mean low watermark in accordance with State law. [US Code Title 16, Chp 1, Subchp 37 §342] 
  • All freshwater streams within Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island are closed to fishing Oct 31 to Mar 31.
  • Lurvey Spring Brook, a tributary to Echo Lake with origins from the flanks of Beech Mountain and Valley Peak, is closed to fishing year-round as a long-term research reference stream by Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
  • Upper Hadlock Brook, a tributary to Upper Hadlock Pond, is closed year-round to fishing in accordance with Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife management regulations (2019) to protect native fishes that use the brook for spawning and rearing their young.
  • Fishing is prohibited within 200 feet of designated swim beaches, public boat docks, and motor road bridges, with the following exceptions: 

  • Sand Beach from September 9 to June 14 

  • Echo Lake Beach from September 16 to May 14 
  • Frazer Point Pier and Duck Harbor Pier

The fishing regulations listed in 36 CFR §2.3 apply to all bodies of water but the Great Ponds, which are regulated by the State of Maine.

  • Within Acadia National Park, the Great Ponds are: Aunt Betty Pond, Bubble Pond, Eagle Lake, Jordan Pond, Upper Hadlock Pond, Witch Hole, and Lake Wood. 
  • Great Ponds bordered by Acadia National Park are: Echo Lake, Hodgdon Pond, Seal Cove Pond, Long Pond (Mount Desert Island), Long Pond (Isle au Haut), Lower Hadlock Pond, and Round Pond.
  • A free special use permit signed by the superintendent or designee is required to transport weapons, traps, or nets across park lands in order to access the Great Ponds. Applicants for permits must possess a valid State of Maine license to hunt waterfowl, trap, and/or fish as a condition of the permit. 
 

Watercraft Regulations

Before fishing, check location-specific watercraft regulations listed below:

Motors over 10 horsepower prohibited:
Eagle Lake

Echo Lake
Hodgdon Pond
Jordan Pond
Lower Hadlock Pond
Seal Cove Pond
Upper Hadlock Pond

Internal combustion engines prohibited:

Bubble Pond
Round Pond
Witch Hole Pond

No motors allowed:

Half Moon Pond
Lower and Upper Breakneck Ponds

No horsepower limit:

Long Pond

Private Property & Public Water Supplies

  • Portions of lake and pond shorelines may be privately owned. Please respect private property.
  • Several ponds and lakes on the island are public drinking water supplies where swimming, wading, and pets are prohibited. Please follow posted regulations.
 

Fish Consumption Advisories in National Park Waters

The Environmental Protection Agency, states, territories, and tribes provide advice on fish and shellfish caught in the waters in their jurisdiction to help people make informed decisions about eating fish. Advisories are recommendations to limit your consumption of, or avoid eating entirely, certain species of fish or shellfish from specific bodies of water due to chemical or biological contamination.

Fish is part of a healthy balanced diet, but eating wild fish and shellfish caught in park waters is not risk free. Parks are “islands”, but the much larger “ocean” that surrounds them affects the natural resources inside a park. Other aquatic toxins are the result of natural biological processes. Also, chemical contaminants that originate outside of park boundaries can come into parks.

Mercury is an example of a toxin originating outside a park that can find its way into a park. Mercury exists naturally in some rocks, including coal. When power plants burn coal, mercury can travel in the air long distances before falling to the ground, usually in low concentrations. Once on the ground, microorganisms can change this elemental mercury to methyl mercury. This type of mercury can build up in animal tissues, and it can increase in concentration to harmful levels. This high concentration can occur in large predatory fish - those often pursued and eaten by anglers. Studies have shown that fish in some National Park System waters have mercury levels that may be a concern to people who regularly eat a lot of fish.

To learn more about this topic, the National Park Service maintains information about Fish Consumption Advisories and Mercury and Toxins in Nature.

Aquatic Invasive Species

Imagine your favorite fishing spot and the wonderful memories. Things may look fine but underneath the surface there is a serious threat. Everything you remembered is now cemented together in a sharp, smelly mess. Invaders have wiped out the fish species you used to catch.

Aquatic invasive species are not native to an ecosystem. Their introduction causes, or is likely to cause, harm to the economy, the environment, or to human health. Aquatic invasive species are a growing risk to parks and their values. In the United States alone, there are more than 250 non-native aquatic species.

For many centuries, humans have contributed to spreading non-native species around the globe. You can make a difference. To learn more about Aquatic Invasive Species in the National Park Service, visit the Fish & Fishing website.

How You Can Help – Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers

Clean your boat before you float. Watch out for hitchhiking plants on boats and equipment. A single invasive plant or plant fragment can infest an entire lake or stream. Dispose of plants on high, dry land away from lakes and ponds.

 

Ocean Fishing

Ocean fishing is managed by the State of Maine, with regulations posted online.

  • Be cautious of surf conditions. Sudden waves can wash the shore and sweep you out to sea.
  • Watch your footing; seaweed and algae-covered rocks are extremely slippery

Ocean fishing areas include:

  • Sargent Drive, Somes Sound
    Mackerel, bluefish, and striped bass July through September.
  • Frazer Point, Schoodic Peninsula
    Mackerel periodically mid-July through September.

Ice Fishing

Ice fishing season is generally from January through March. Many larger ponds and lakes in the park are popular locations for ice fishing. Please be cautious on frozen bodies of water and ensure that ice thickness is sufficient to support your weight.

 

Species by Area

Bubble Pond

brook trout

Eagle Lake

landlocked salmon
brook trout
lake trout

Echo Lake

landlocked salmon
brook trout

Half Moon Pond

brook trout

Hodgdon Pond

brown trout
chain pickerel
smallmouth bass
sunfish
white perch
yellow perch

Jordan Pond

landlocked salmon
lake trout

Long Pond

landlocked salmon
brook trout
smallmouth bass
chain pickerel

Lower and Upper Breakneck Ponds

brook trout

Lower Hadlock Pond

brook trout
brown trout
sunfish
white perch

Round Pond

smallmouth bass

Seal Cove Pond

alewives
brown trout
chain pickerel
smallmouth bass
sunfish
white perch
white sucker
yellow perch

Upper Hadlock Pond

brook trout
Witch Hole Pond
brook trout

 

Fishing Throughout the National Park Service

We invite you to visit the Fish and Fishing website for more information about fish and fishing in the National Park Service. You will learn about conservation, different fish species, and parks that offer fishing.

Last updated: March 5, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 177
Bar Harbor, ME 04609

Phone:

(207) 288-3338

Contact Us