Fishermen need to be wary because of a misprint in the new state fishing lawbook that erroneously listed Memorial Day weekend as “Free Family Fishing Days.”

However, the Maine Warden Service will not necessarily let people who are fishing without a license on May 29 and 30 off the hook, so to speak.

Those anglers could still get a summons, according to Maj. Greg Sanborn of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IFW).

“The Warden Service will use appropriate discretion, given the facts at hand,” Sanborn said Wednesday.

The weekend designated by law as free to those fishing inland waters is June 5 and 6.

However, the new lawbook that covers Maine fishing rules and laws from April 10, 2010, to March 31, 2012, has the wrong dates and already is distributed throughout the state.

Still, Sanborn said all the rules listed in the new fishing lawbook are not binding, so fishermen caught fishing without a license on Memorial Day weekend could get a summons for breaking the law.

State law lists only a formula to determine when Maine’s free fishing weekends will be held, not specific dates.

The wrong date printed in the lawbook was an error by IFW staff, Sanborn said.

“The free fishing weekend in Title 12 doesn’t quote a date, it quotes a formula to come up with a date,” Sanborn said. “The printed summary is wrong. Most people call the printed lawbook the lawbook. That is the summary.”

Sanborn said by law IFW is required to publish the correct date, but he said that was done Wednesday evening in a press release.

“We’re trying to set the record straight, as far as information,” Sanborn said.

When it comes to game wardens policing lakes and rivers, Memorial Day weekend is one of the biggest fishing weekends of the year. The holiday most years falls during prime spring fishing conditions, and this year is no exception.

Given the misprint with the wrong date, wardens will use their judgment this year when handing out fines, Sanborn said.

“The Maine Warden service will use appropriate discretion given the facts at hand. That is my statement.

“That is as explicit as I can get because we have to go by the law, and the law is in Title 12 It depends upon enforcement,” Sanborn said.

The 2010 Open Water and Ice Fishing Laws and Rules can be found at

The details of Maine Statute, Title 12, were not listed as of Wednesday.


Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at:

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.