The lobstering industry’s work cycles follow the seasons. Although lobsters are harvested year-round in Maine, the majority of our coastal lobstermen catch them between late June and late December.

 Maine lobstermen power down during the winter months due to weather conditions and the behavior of lobsters, as lobsters tend to migrate out to deeper waters when the temperatures get cold.

Most people who work year-round can’t fathom how lobstermen can take six months off from hauling and still pay their bills, but if a lobsterman has earned enough of an income through the summer and fall, often they can sustain finances throughout the winter months. The winter break also offers lobstermen a chance to rest and spend time with their families.

Regardless, the lobstering motto is “Do whatever it takes”—and here is how lobstermen commonly spend the winter:

Gear Retrieval & Preparation

By Christmastime, most lobstermen have hauled out their traps and brought them to their shops or homes. Keeping them out of the water prevents damage and deterioration.

Once the holidays are over, many lobstermen start getting to their “gear work,” preparing new traps or replacing worn-out parts on existing ones. This can involve repairing or replacing trap doors, bait bags and other components.

Maintenance and Repairs

Winter is the time for lobstermen to perform maintenance and repairs on their boats and other equipment as well.  It’s usually too costly and time-consuming to get these repairs done during the height of the fishing season (unless an untimely engine failure or other problem requires it). But typically, all repairs are saved for the winter months, so that everything is in good working order when the fishing season resumes.

Fishing for Other Species

Some lobstermen choose to keep working by doing other types of fishing during the winter, including offshore lobstering, (steaming out to the Greater Banks for days at a time) harvesting clams, scallops or fish.

Off-Season Jobs

Some lobstermen can’t sit still during the winter months, so they seek temporary jobs in other industries or supplemental side gigs, such as snow plowing or selling handcrafted work.

Regulatory Compliance

As those who have been following the trials and tribulations of lobstermen know, there are a lot of forces up against the lobster fishing industry. Lobstermen may use the winter months to attend training sessions, meetings or workshops related to fishing regulations and conservation efforts. Find out through Maine Lobstermen’s Association how far they’ve come to protect the industry and working families this year.

When summer rolls back around, lobstermen will be hard at work providing you with your favorite seafood once again at the Maine Lobster Festival, offering free admission July 31-Aug. 4, 2024. Visit for more info.