Skip to main content

No Soft Bait Ban in Maine

Fisheries Dept. tells legislature not to move against plastics

No Soft Bait Ban in Maine
No Soft Bait Ban in Maine

The proposed ban on fishing with soft baits in Maine is no longer before the state’s legislature. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife presented its report regarding the use of soft baits in Maine’s waters to the legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife on January 28, 2014.

The final conclusion: “… the Department does not recommend any legislation at this time.” The individual anglers, fishing club representatives and retail fishing tackle dealers attending the hearing were pleased with the recommendation to take no legislative action.

However, the department did make a number of recommendations to enhance its angler education programs by involving anglers, angler organizations and the sportfishing industry. These enhancements are intended to minimize the loss and improve the proper disposal of soft baits in state waters by anglers.

In 2013, Maine’s legislature considered two bills: one to ban soft baits and another to mandate degradable hooks for recreational fishing in Maine. After a hearing in February 2013, and thousands of comments in opposition to the bills, the legislature directed the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife “… to study effects of artificial fishing lures made of rubber and soft plastic and non-biodegradable hooks for fishing.” The 17-page report described the department’s findings and methods.


From a scientific point-of-view, overall the report indicated a low rate of soft baits found in the digestive system of fish surveyed between 1985 and 2013, ranging from a low of 0.4 percent to a high of 5.2 percent of fish sampled, depending on the survey method.


“We are pleased with the department’s recommendation of no legislative action and with many of the recommendations to enhance angler educational about soft baits and the proper use and disposal of all baits,” said American Sportfishing Association Vice President Gordon Robertson. “Knowing the science of the actual impacts of the use of soft baits, the department’s decision was the correct one.

“In addition, we concur with many of the recommendations concerning angler education and we stand ready to work with the department along with anglers and angler groups to reduce the loss of soft plastic baits used in recreational fishing.”

Soft baits are popular among anglers and they comprise a significant segment of the artificial bait market. They negate the need to obtain and keep live baits; they are relatively inexpensive; and they are effective. For this reason they are especially popular with non-resident anglers who visit Maine to fish its waters.

“Forty-four percent of Maine’s angling days are from non-resident anglers,” Robertson said. “Unfounded restrictions on fishing equipment such as soft baits would cause a negative impact on tourism expenditures in Maine. In addition, forcing anglers to use live bait, or once live baits, can cause the inadvertent introduction of nonnative invasive aquatic species.”




“My business would be severely damaged if soft baits were banned or restricted in Maine,” said Carl Bois, owner of Lovell Bait and Tackle Shop and the Rocky Ridge Guide Service in Lovell, Maine. “The department is right in recommending that no legislative action be taken on this issue. There isn’t a threat to fish or the environment from soft baits. Across Maine, stores and businesses like mine depend on anglers, both resident and nonresident. If there is a litter or disposal problem, that can be addressed through angler education.”

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

New for 2021: Excalibur Crossbow, BowTech Bows, TightSpot Quiver, Ripcord Rests, Black Gold Sights

New for 2021: Excalibur Crossbow, BowTech Bows, TightSpot Quiver, Ripcord Rests, Black Gold Sights

New for 2021 are several hunter-defined products, such as the Excalibur TwinStrike Crossbow, BowTech Solution and Solution SS Bows, TightSpot Pivot 2.5 Quiver, Ripcord Cage and Code Red X arrowrests, and Black Gold Pro FX and Pro Hunter HD sights.

New for 2021: Elite Archery Bows, Slick Trick Broadheads and CBE Sight

New for 2021: Elite Archery Bows, Slick Trick Broadheads and CBE Sight

Learn more about two new Elite Archery bows, the Enkore and Remedy, two new broadhead from Slick Trick and a new site from Custom Bow Equipment (CBE).

New for 2021: Rage Broadhead, Nockturnal Nock, Carbon Express Arrows

New for 2021: Rage Broadhead, Nockturnal Nock, Carbon Express Arrows

New for 2021, here's a look at the new Rage Trypan NC, Nockturnal Shift Nock, Carbon Express Maxima RED Contour and D-Stroyer PileDRIVER arrows.

New for 2021: Bear Redemption EKO, Legit RTH Compound Bows

New for 2021: Bear Redemption EKO, Legit RTH Compound Bows

Bear Archery's newest bows - Redemption EKO and Legit RTH - are light, adjustable and fast.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Expansion of Woodland Series targets continues fun, realistic way to practice.New for 2021, Rinehart's 1/3-Scale Moose Archery Targets ATA Show

New for 2021, Rinehart's 1/3-Scale Moose Archery Targets

Game and Fish Staff - January 07, 2021

Expansion of Woodland Series targets continues fun, realistic way to practice.

Here's a look at the latest shotguns, loads, calls, clothing and more.Great New Gear for Ducks & Geese 2021 SHOT Show

Great New Gear for Ducks & Geese 2021

Game and Fish Staff - January 12, 2021

Here's a look at the latest shotguns, loads, calls, clothing and more.

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near anything that fits in their mouths.5 Ways To Catch Catfish on Lures Catfish

5 Ways To Catch Catfish on Lures

Keith Sutton

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near...

The new bolt gun with a synthetic stock is available in several popular hunting chamberings.Accurate, Affordable, Rugged: CZ-USA 557 Eclipse Bolt-Action SHOT Show

Accurate, Affordable, Rugged: CZ-USA 557 Eclipse Bolt-Action

Game and Fish Staff - December 02, 2020

The new bolt gun with a synthetic stock is available in several popular hunting chamberings.

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

Actions speak louder than words when sharing the passion for hunting, fishing and the outdoors.Outdoors Perspective: The Power of Paying Forward Stories

Outdoors Perspective: The Power of Paying Forward

Keith Sutton - November 12, 2018

Actions speak louder than words when sharing the passion for hunting, fishing and the outdoors.

Editor's Note: Our popular Camera Corner features reader photos and stories from successfulPamela's Story: A Memorable Fly Fishing Encounter Stories

Pamela's Story: A Memorable Fly Fishing Encounter

April 28, 2017

Editor's Note: Our popular Camera Corner features reader photos and stories from successful

When an angler has thinking time—like now—interesting thoughts come to mind.Sheltered in Place: I Miss My Boat-Ramp Friends Stories

Sheltered in Place: I Miss My Boat-Ramp Friends

Tory Mansfield - April 10, 2020

When an angler has thinking time—like now—interesting thoughts come to mind.

Ugly Stik's Santa Claus Bass Tournament featured 298 Santa-suit-wearing anglers at Lake Norman, N.C.Good Deeds: Bass-Fishing Santas Raise $15K in Toys for Kids News

Good Deeds: Bass-Fishing Santas Raise $15K in Toys for Kids

Game and Fish Staff - December 21, 2020

Ugly Stik's Santa Claus Bass Tournament featured 298 Santa-suit-wearing anglers at Lake...

See More Stories

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now