Press Release

January 17, 2014

IFW Ice Fishing Report For January 17, 2014

For Immediate Release: January 17, 2014

Compiled By Mark Latti with IFW Fisheries Biologists

Region A – Sebago Lakes Region

“Overall, it’s been pretty good. We are not seeing really high catches, but we are seeing good numbers of fish,” said Francis Brautigam, IFW Fisheries Biologist who said that due to the weather, numbers of anglers may be down, but the fishing isn’t.

“The fishing has been very consistent, people are catching fish,” said Brautigam. “Since we aren’t seeing the really large catches, that tells me that the fishing will hold up longer.”

Ice conditions over the past week have gotten a little worse. The big bay on Sebago had set up with ice, but the warm weather, rain and wind broke it up and it is now wide open once again. Smaller ponds have also seen ice erode near shore, as well as wherever there is current.

Overall, Brautigam noted that he isn’t seeing as many anglers as he usually does on ponds that the department surveys, but he feels that with the early season cold spell, anglers had plenty of ponds to choose from, which spread anglers out.

Even though the big bay has reopened on Sebago, anglers are still fishing at the Station on Sebago. Brautigam said he has heard reports of some parties catching upwards of 40 lake trout. “There have been some very good catches by those who know where and how to fish Sebago,” said Brautigam.

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

In central Maine and the Midcoast area, the fishing has been very good, but the ice is another story.

“Ice conditions are getting treacherous and anglers should use common sense. Edges are bad, old holes are widening – people need to use caution,” said IFW biologist Jason Seiders, who added things could get better quickly with this weekend’s cold weather.

“As far as fishing, we are seeing a great number of salmon and brook trout on Lake St. George. There’s a good number of 17-18 inch fish,” said Seiders.

On Maranacook, anglers are hooking up with good numbers of salmon, with most averaging about 18 inches and a few over 20. Smelt fisherman are even getting good catches of their favorite quarry.

Trout anglers are having excellent success in Arrowsic.

“On Sewall, we’ve seen good numbers of anglers and all kinds of trout. It’s been great fishing. Opening day, cars were lined up. Even this weekend, there were nine cars. We had four cars even on a Tuesday,” said Seiders.

Seiders added that anglers have also had very good success on Dutton Pond in Knox, where the department stocked three different ages of brook trout, and also some trophy brook trout and browns.

“People were out fishing at midnight on opening day,” said Seiders.

Region C -- Downeast

“We are getting a lot of calls and reports that things are going well for anglers,” said IFW fisheries biologist Greg Burr.

Burr did say that early on, with the deep snow and slush, people were having difficulty getting out to different areas of some lakes, but as conditions go better, anglers were getting out to their favorite spots.

Most places Downeast have at least 8-12 inches of ice, with some locales having more. Burr cautioned anglers that there are some treacherous areas, however, with the recent warmup.

“Anglers should use caution,” said Burr, “Old ice fishing holes and areas around rocks have opened up. Anywhere there is moving water such as saddle areas, inlets and outlets can be dangerous as the ice has deteriorated. Around shore, there are pockets of water between the shore and ice. It’s hard to get on the ice in some places, and people should use caution,” said Burr, who added that with colder weather on the way, things should get better in a hurry.

While the ice may be below average for this season, the fishing has been very good.

“People are excited on Schoodic Lake. There’s a new stocking program there and anglers are catching brook trout in the 14-16 inch range, and even some trophies in the 18-22” range. Anglers are also catching some nice salmon,” said Burr.

Tunk Lake also has been producing, with togue in the 26-30 inch range and 22-23 inch salmon being caught. Anglers have also had good success for salmon at Beech Hill Pond and Cathance Lake.

Anglers are also excited about rainbow trout In Jones Pond in Gouldsboro. People are still figure out the best way to get rainbow trout, but some are having success. There’s also some nice browns in the 16-20 range as well.

Region D – Rangeley Lakes

In Region D, anglers are out on Porter Lake in New Vineyard, Clearwater Lake in Industry and Wilson Lake.

“Anglers are catching a good number of brook trout and salmon in these lakes. Several have been good size,” says IFW Fisheries Biologist Dave Howatt.

On Webb Lake in Weld, anglers are out on the ice targeting brown trout and brook trout.

“Anglers are catching a lot of brook trout on Webb,” said Howatt. “They are not catching huge numbers of browns, but the ones they are getting are decent size.”

If anglers are looking for a new destination to ice fish, they ought to try Haley Pond in Rangeley.

“We haven’t seen a lot of use on Haley Pond, but anglers ought to check it out. We stocked 600 brook trout there this fall, and there’s still quite a few there,” said Howatt, who added not only are there a lot of brook trout in the 13-15 inch range, there is very good access as well.

Region E – Moosehead Region

Inconsistent weather has kept most anglers off Moosehead.

“On opening weekend, there weren’t many anglers in Rockwood and Lily Bay as the temperature didn’t get above ten,” said IFW fisheries biologist Tim Obrey, “and last weekend’s rain also kept people in.”

Obrey will be out on Moosehead this weekend, censusing anglers, gathering information on how successful anglers are. Creel survey censuses, surveying anglers about what they are catching and how quickly they are catching them, provides biologists with excellent information on how to better manage fisheries on a waterway.

“Anglers have been going out on foot or by ATV fishing near shore and they are having some good fishing,” said Obrey.

Many anglers are gearing up for the Moosehead Lake Derby which begins on Friday, January 24th, and Obrey expects a big crowd that weekend. The three day tournament togue tournament has a $1500 first prize, $500 second prize, and $250 for third place.

“There’s a lot of other prizes as well. Anglers can bring in their small fish and are entered into a pool for prizes, there’s also a big door prize from Indian Hill Trading Post,” said Obrey.

Anglers who are interested in participating should check out the Natural Resource Education Center facebook page at NREC Moosehead for the most up to date information.

“There hasn’t been a lot of fishing pressure on Moosehead yet this year, so the fishing should be fantastic,” added Obrey.

Region F – Penobscot Region

“We had some great ice to start the season, but with the snow and then the rain, our aerial counts of anglers have been very low due to the weather conditions,” explained Nels Kramer, IFW fisheries biologist.

IFW fishery biologists will do aerial angler counts to determine fishing pressure. The information gathered is useful when determining how many fish should be stocked in a waterway or whether to adjust regulations.

Anglers who have been out fishing are doing well.

“Matagammon and the Scraggly area has produced some good fishing for brook trout. We are also getting very good reports out of Pleasant Pond in Island Falls,” said Kramer.

Anglers out on Schoodic, Seboeis and Cold Stream Pond are also having luck with brook trout, though not as many as salmon and togue.

“A lot of people aren’t trusting the ice, so they are fishing close to shore, and they are catching primarily brook trout,” said Kramer, who added that once the weather gets colder, he expects to get a lot more reports about good fishing for salmon and togue throughout the region.

“Once everyone feels more comforatable with the ice and we get a little snow, anglers will be fishing a little further off shore, and they’ll be catching lake trout,” said Kramer.

Region G – Aroostook Region

News up in Aroostook is that anglers are catching salmon, but the weather has made travel difficult on snowmobile trails and lakes.

“There have been a lot of anglers on Long Lake, it’s pretty accessible,” explained IFW fisheries biologist Frank Frost. “We measured one salmon over seven pounds and measured several others that were in the four to five pound range. We got a lot of reports of salmon in the 18-20 inch range that were released.”

With the rain, Frost urges caution on area roads.

“The roads can be treacherous. The woods roads, camp access roads, they all are very slippery,” said Frost. “Area lakes are down to glare ice and the trails are soft with water everywhere.”

The Long Lake Ice Fishing Derby is January 25 and 26, and Frost says that is the busiest weekend of the year on the lake.

If you are looking for an area to try that hasn’t been heavily fished, Frost suggests the Musquacook lakes and the Allagash Waterway.

“The Musquacook Lake chain and the Waterway haven’t been fished a whole lot, so as soon as the roads improve, anglers should have some good luck fishing there,” said Frost.