Confused by fishing rules? Get this app.

Smallmouth[1]When Ron Cote of West Gardiner called to tell me he’d created an app for Maine’s fishing rules, I knew immediately it would be popular. It wasn’t quite ready for sale, but he said he hoped to make it available in the next couple of months.

Well, now he has, although so far it’s only available for Android phones, for $3.99. Because you download it to your phone, you don’t need internet service to access the information. The app works on your smartphone’s GPS so you’ll know where you are and what the rules are governing that lake or pond.

So far, Ron’s app only covers lakes and ponds – mostly because the rules on streams and rivers are complicated and more difficult to deal with. But someday, he hopes to include those in his app. And he has plans to launch the app through Apple’s App Store for IPhones sometime soon.

Ron originally hoped that Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife would take the app and make it available to all licensed anglers, but the agency turned him down, concerned that the app doesn’t include streams and rivers – a disappointing decision on their part, I think.

In a Kennebec Journal news story by reporter Jessica Lowell, DIF&W’s Mark Latti notes that “The Maine Fishing Rules App certainly has the potential to be a very useful tool for anglers when it comes to planning a fishing trip in Maine.” But he warned, “Anglers need to be aware, however, that the department’s Open Water and Ice Fishing regulation book is the only definitive source of regulation… Anglers should always check the department’s law book before fishing any Maine water.”

Good luck with that! The rule book is very complicated, and incomprehensible to many anglers. So we owe Ron Cote a hearty thank you for trying to help us work through these complicated regulations so we can enjoy a day on the water.

“I want to go out and have a good time,” he told Lowell, “and do everything right.” So do I Ron!

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.