I feel like this a trick question...

Granted, the first time I went ice fishing, I was a kid. I was definitely not drinking. But it was also the 80's, so I'm assuming all the adults were. There's no way that was just a thermos full of hot coffee. They seemed to have far too much patience for all us kids, so one kind of has to assume there was some liquid patience in there too.

Family ice fishing

As I got older, it became very apparent that a case of cheap-ass beer was standard equipment on any ice fishing trip. I made the mistake once of reaching for some "nicer" beer, and was quickly chastised and informed that I shouldn't "buy anything that I can't drink 30 of." But never once did it even occur to me that I m ight be breaking the law.

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Is it legal to drink out on the ice?

Whether it is, or it isn't, we can all agree that ice fishing is definitely a BYOB situation. That's not to say your fishing buddies won't share, just don't show up empty handed. Then it's simply hunker down and enjoy all that male bonding. But for real... Are you breaking any laws out there?

A mug of beer standing in the snow in the winter

As most things in Maine go, the answer is yes and no. As far as a statewide law that prohibits the consumption of alcohol out on the ice when fishing, that doesn't exist. There's no law like that on the books. However, that doesn't mean that you're necessarily off the hook for getting into trouble.

What laws could you be breaking out there?

There are a few you should consider. If nothing else, you have an open container, and possibly intoxicated in public. Those two things are definitely against the law, especially if you're being a jerk to lawn enforcement. You should also consider that someone may bring it to the attention of local law enforcement, just how much you've had.


There's absolutely potential for someone to be lurking in the shadows, waiting for you to get behind the wheel. A DUI is nothing to be scoffed at, and can lead to a cascade of other consequences. All in all, you're best bet is to have a good time, just find a way to do it as responsibly as possible.

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