Richardson Lakes Salmonid Management

JOB F-104
Interim Summary Report No. 6 (2003-2005)

The Richardson Lakes support stocked fisheries for landlocked salmon, lake trout, and brook trout.  Angler surveys were conducted in 1998 and 1999 (prior to implementation of changes in the water use regime by Union Water Power Company) and from 2002 to 2004 to evaluate the status of the fishery.  Estimates of total angler use and harvest were also made in 1998 and in 2002.  Salmon growth rates had been stable from 1986-91, but declined in succeeding years, prompting a reduction in the salmon stocking rate to restore the abundance of smelt, the primary forage species.  Efforts to close Mill and Metallak Brooks to smelt dipping effective 1996 were unsuccessful.  There was a 76% decrease in angler use from 1996 to 1998, attributed to dissatisfaction with smaller salmon and the reduced catch rate resulting from a lower stocking rate.  The 1999 angler survey indicated an improvement in salmon growth rates and a decrease in the proportion of sublegal salmon in the catch, presumably in response to the reduced stocking rate.  There was also an increase in the salmon catch rate in 1999 despite the lower stocking rate.  Subsequent sampling, however, indicated poor salmon growth rates.  Lake trout and brook trout, which are not as dependent on smelt as forage, grew at acceptable rates over the survey period, and lake trout in particular provided an attractive fishery for large fish.  Lake trout stocking has been terminated, however, pending evidence that natural reproduction can be controlled through water draw down manipulation.  We will continue to stock salmon at a reduced rate in an effort to further increase smelt abundance.  Additional angler surveys are scheduled at the Richardson Lakes every third year; the next year scheduled is 2007.

Written by Forrest Bonney

For more information, please contact:

Forrest Bonney, Regional Fishery Biologist
689 Farmington Road
Strong, Maine 04983-9419
Telephone: (207) 778-3322 Ext. 22