Hooked on Fishing - Not on Drugs

Hooked on Fishing logo

The Future Fisherman Foundation's Hooked on Fishing - Not on Drugs program (HOFNOD) is one of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife's most active youth educational programs. With this program we are able to promote family togetherness through fishing within the State of Maine.

Can the simple act of going fishing really be used to overcome a very serious issue that is affecting our young people today? Surprisingly, yes!

Some of the reasons youth begin using alcohol or other drugs include: boredom, lack of motivation, poor social and communication skills, low self-esteem and peer pressure. The Hooked on Fishing - Not on Drugs program uses fishing to address: positive alternatives to drug use, motivation, communication, self-esteem building, responsibility, positive role models, the ability to overcome peer pressure, good problem-solving and decision making skills, and improved family interaction.

Learning to fish does not guarantee that a child will remain drug free. However, children who possess the above life skills and can communicate with their parents are less likely to turn to drugs.

Program Funding

The 118th Legislature, enacted legislation that the Hooked on Fishing - Not on Drugs program be established in the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to encourage youth fishing activities in the State of Maine. The enactment of this law also authorized that the department may accept money, goods and services. Money, goods and services accepted by the department under this law may be used only for activities associated with youth education.

Thanks to our supportive sponsors FET, Inc, Kittery Trading Post, LLBean and Cabelas we are able to provide equipment for hundreds of youth fishing events each year; both open water and ice fishing. We are also able to provide free training to adult volunteers who are interested in establishing the program within their community.

Instructor Training Certification


Virtual Training - Jan 20, 2023 9:00 AM – Click here to register

In-Person Trainings - Thursday, February 9 at 9:00 AM – Click here to learn more

Training is available to adults who are 18 years or older and would like to begin using the program within their community. The program is very versatile and can be used within a community in a number of ways. Instructors do not need to be expert or experienced anglers but should have an interest in working with children and families.

The training is available online and made available through the Future Fisherman Foundation. Please email Chelsea Lathrop at Chelsea.lathrop@maine.gov for a Maine promotional code before signing up for the training.

Once you have completed the online training you will need to pass a state background check to be a certified instructor in the State of Maine and to receive your certificate. Please contact Chelsea Lathrop for further instructions on how to proceed with the background check Chelsea.lathrop@maine.gov.

If you would like further information contact:

Chelsea Lathrop
Education and Outreach Coordinator
353 Water Street
SHS #41
Augusta, ME 04333
or email Chelsea.lathrop@maine.gov

Kids learning how to fish