Anglers without a fishing license can fish for free in Maine for the week starting this Saturday. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Gov. Janet Mills has signed an executive order to allow for a week of free fishing in Maine starting Saturday, to encourage people to spend time outdoors in a safe manner during the coronavirus pandemic, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife announced Wednesday.

The “Free Fishing License Week” runs through Sunday, Feb. 21. People who register online with IFW may fish during that time without a fishing license.

It marks the second time in a year that Mills, an avid angler, has allowed free fishing in Maine. Last year, at the outset of the pandemic, Mills suspended the fishing license requirement from late March through the end of April.

“No matter your age, spending time outside can boost your physical, mental and emotional health, which is more important now during the pandemic than ever before,” said IFW Commissioner Judy Camuso in a release. “Ice fishing is an excellent opportunity to get outside safely this winter.”

People who do not have a fishing license and want to fish for free are required to register online at All other rules and regulations apply, including bag limits.

Ice fishing tips for beginners can be found on the IFW website.

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