A fisherman casts into the West Branch of the Penobscot with Mount Katahdin in the background. Credit: Brian Feulner

Finding out what fishing rules govern specific Maine waters just became easier, thanks to an online tool unveiled by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Called Maine’s Fishing Laws Online Angling Tool — FLOAT, for short — the map-based program is available through a computer or smartphone, and allows the user to access fishing regulations for any Maine water quickly.

The tool lets the user locate a particular body of water and determine the laws in effect — waters that show up as blue are governed under “general law,” while those that show up as red have special rules in effect. While using a GPS-enabled phone, the tool will even let the user find out what water they’re currently on.

The tool is available on the DIF&W website. Those using mobile phones are reminded that the tool requires Wi-Fi or cellular data access in order to access it.

Though the tool will likely prove useful for many, it’s not meant to be a substitute for the actual fishing lawbook. In fact, upon launching FLOAT, a disclaimer appears on the screen, absolving the DIF&W and FLOAT’s creator from any blame should information prove to be inaccurate. In part, the disclaimer reads, “Please consult our digital or printed law book for all legally binding fishing laws in effect, and report any errors to MDIFW.”

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John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. He spent 28 years working for the BDN, including 19 years as the paper's outdoors columnist or outdoors editor. While...