Kay Brown, of Auburn, fishes in the Little Androscoggin River in Minot, Maine Thursday, April 8, 2021 with her family. Some sat and enjoyed the scenery and sun while two others tried their luck in an eddy up stream. Credit: Russ Dillingham / AP

If you have ever wanted to try casting a lure into a stream or floating a bobber supporting a squiggly night crawler in a pond, this is the time to do it.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife provides a rare opportunity to get out and experience time on the water with its Free Fishing Weekend.

On Saturday and Sunday, June 4 and 5, the state suspends its license requirements and allows people to fish for free on all inland waters. The offer is valid for anyone who has not had their license suspended or revoked.

Fishing continues to be a popular activity in Maine, where last year 281,596 licenses were sold, according to the most recent information provided by DIF&W. That was a 13 percent increase over 2020 (248,951) and was spearheaded by non-resident anglers, who bought 25 percent more licenses last year.

The aim of the Free Fishing Weekend promotion is to get residents and non-residents who have never tried the activity to grab a rod and reel and wet a line.

Of course, that will be much easier if accomplished when accompanied by an angler who already knows the ropes. So reach out to a family member or friend and ask them if they would be willing to take you for an outing and demonstrate how the process works.

If you’re an avid angler who knows of a youngster or someone else who might enjoy getting out of the house for a mini-adventure, by all means rig up a rod and take them out.

There is no shortage of places to try, since Maine is home to more than 6,000 lakes and ponds, along with numerous rivers and streams. And most of those waters contain game fish.

Fishing doesn’t have to be expensive, as a serviceable rod and reel combo, complete with line, can be purchased at your local tackle and bait shop or sporting goods store.

With a couple of lures, or a few hooks and some worms, you’ll be in business.

That said, it’s important to remember that you’ll need to read up on the laws that govern the body of water in which you’ll be fishing. That way, you’ll know what equipment you can use and the size and bag limits for the fish you target.

That process might sound daunting, but DIF&W has a useful tool that breaks down all of the important details. The Fishing Laws Online Angling Tool (FLOAT) covers the bases.

It’s a map-based platform that can quickly locate a particular body of water and determine whether it is governed by general fishing laws or has some special regulations.

You can also download a PDF of those laws to print out or access using a mobile device.

For devices that are equipped with GPS, it’s even possible to determine your location and what body of water you’re fishing on once you’re there if you aren’t sure.

Fishing can be a nice getaway from the normal routine, allowing you to connect with the Maine outdoors and enjoy beautiful scenery while hopefully making memories catching some fish.

If you need even more detailed information about Maine’s fishing regulations, you can also read or download the law book on the DIF&W website.

It is said the best things in life are free. This weekend, that includes the opportunity to go fishing in Maine, free of charge.

For more information about fishing in Maine, check out the regional fishing reports and the stocking reports on the DIF&W website.

Pete Warner

Pete graduated from Bangor High School in 1980 and earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He grew up fishing at his family's camp on Sebago Lake but didn't take...