Open water fishing season has come early to Maine thanks to a decision by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to open the season tomorrow, March 17, two weeks earlier than the expected opening date of April 1.

Many lakes and rivers in the southern and central areas of Maine are no longer covered with ice, and the lower than average snowfall this winter means that the state's rivers and streams are at low springtime flow levels, making fishing easier.

And the fishing should be good. " Anglers are likely to find more fish available in waters that were stocked last fall," said the IFW in a release. "Poor ice conditions meant less time for ice fishing, leaving many trout and salmon that normally would have been caught in the winter still there for spring anglers."

According to the IFW, the early open water fishing season does not apply to waters with special season opening dates starting after April 1, 2016. This rule does not close any body of water currently open to ice fishing or open any water to ice fishing that is currently closed to ice fishing.

In addition, all waters with S-10 and “CO” designations will also be open to fishing. All other S-codes, tackle restrictions, daily bag, possession and length limits still apply as listed, the IFW added in the release.

If you are fishing from a boat, the Maine Warden Service is urging boaters to wear their lifejackets. Prolonged immersion in cold water can kill, and wearing a life jacket can greatly increase your survival chances if you are in the water unexpectedly.

If you haven’t purchased your license yet, visit to purchase your license any time of the day, any day of the week

Be sure to check the 2016 fishing law book for regulations specific to the water you wish to fish.