Fishing Reports by Regional Fishery Biologists Region Map

Previous Fishing Reports    

May 8, 2009 

Reminder: Use your Open Water Fishing law book

As you prepare your equipment for open water fishing season, don’t forget to locate the Open Water Fishing Regulations booklet that you used last year. This law book is “good” through March 31, 2010. If you’ve misplaced it, you can pick up another one at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in Augusta or at most licensing agents.

It would be a good idea to review the law book before you head out to your favorite water.  General Law regulations are found on Page 8, but don’t forget many waters have regulations that depart from the general law. Check to see if the body of water you will be fishing is listed under the appropriate county heading.  If it is listed, it will be followed by the special regulations that apply to that water.  Remember, there were numerous changes specific to individual waters recently, so check the body of water you will be fishing.

A list of a few of the more significant general law rule changes can be found on Page 5 of the Open Water Fishing Regulations booklet.  To summarize these changes:

  • The terms “trout” and “brook trout” now include Arctic charr (see Page 11).
  • The fall fishing season on the lakes and ponds in southern Maine now extends from October 1 through December 31 (see page 8).
  • Statewide the minimum length limit on bass is now 10 inches (see Page 8 for the details).
  • The old S-23 & S-24 fall fishing seasons have been combined into a new S-24 regulation.  Waters having a S-24 designation are open from Oct. 1 - Dec. 31, artificial lures only, all trout, landlocked salmon and togue must be released alive at once.

- Dennis McNeish, Fisheries Management Supervisor, Augusta                                                 

Region A - Southwestern Maine - Photos from the field!

Sebago Lake boat access hours

The Department of Conservation recently has established new boat access provisions to accommodate early season salmon and togue anglers. The park gate now is open at 4 a.m. each day until May 22. After May 22, the gate will open at 9 a.m. for the remainder of the season.

- Francis Brautigam, Regional Fisheries Biologist, Gray

Open Water Fishing Preview

It has been another long winter, and I am sure many of our fellow anglers have been anxiously waiting for another open water season. It is yet another chance to get outdoors and maybe to catch that elusive lunker you’ve been after for years, but more importantly it is an opportunity for many other things.

It’s an opportunity to create a wealth of fond memories that will last a lifetime; an opportunity to spend some quality time with your dad, your kids, or a dear friend; or perhaps it’s simply a time to strike out alone to clear your head and get some perspective. Whatever the opportunities are for you personally, and no matter what you actually end up catching for fish, it is likely to keep you yearning for the next open season when winter comes around again. So, do yourself a favor…get out there, wet a line, and enjoy your time on the waters of Maine!

As many of you may recall, late snow melt and heavy rains led to delayed stream stockings last season, and the high water conditions made early season fishing difficult. In addition, most lakes and ponds were locked up tight on April 1 resulting in few early season fishing opportunities.

Some good early season spots that are typically quite popular include the shorelines of Auburn Lake in Auburn, the Songo Locks in Naples, Jordan River (also known as Panther Run) in Raymond, Long Lake causeway in Naples, Thompson Lake causeway at the heath, and just about anywhere else you can find some fishable water.

Our hatchery staff has been right out straight and the trucks are rolling almost nonstop. This spring southern Maine hatcheries will be stocking Region A waters with approximately 53,000 brookies, 33,400 browns, 9,800 salmon, 7,700 bows, 2,300 lake trout, and 1,500 splake. That’s a lot of fish to distribute over a large area in what typically amounts to about a six-week period.

Generally, stocking programs are very similar from year to year, although some new stockings planned this year include the stocking of rainbows at Little Ossipee Lake in Waterboro (Spring), Stanley Pond in Hiram (Spring), and Little Sebago Lake (Fall).

IF&W’s web site (www.mefishwildlife.com) has a listing of last year’s stocking. Last year we launched a current, continually updated stocking list for waters stocked under put-and-take programs. “Real time” stocking information will continue to be provided this year and is the best source of up to date stocking information.

Lastly, you can’t have an open water fishing report in Maine without touching upon Spring salmon fishing. We expect salmon catches to remain good at the Big Three (Sebago, Thompson and Auburn), but IF&W data from last fall suggest anglers may notice some decrease in size quality, especially at Thompson and Auburn. We still expect Sebago to yield some lunker salmon and togue this season. Some other smaller and less popular Region A salmon waters worth trying out this year include: Moose Pond in Bridgton, Kezar Lake in Lovell, Colcord Pond in Porter, and South Pond in Greenwood.

- James Pellerin, IF&W Assistant Regional Fishery Biologist, Gray

Region B - Central Maine-Photos from the field

Catchable brook trout waters in Maine

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife fisheries staff have recently completed a second winter of surveying select lakes and ponds in the central and southern Maine region that are stocked with fall-yearling brook trout. These surveys have shown that ice anglers catch between 5-80 percent of the fall stocked brook trout.

This means a number of stocked trout are around for open water anglers as soon as the ice goes off these waters. Anglers can improve their chances of finding these hold-over trout by using boats, canoes or kayaks in order to fish areas away from access areas.

Don’t forget: these large trout also are stocked in some other waters across the state, such as Little Round Pond in Penobscot County and Pickerel Pond in Hancock County.

Many of the fall-stocked ponds will be stocked with brook trout in late April and early May. The spring stocked brookies, while not as large as the fall yearling trout, are of legal length or larger.

To get an idea of what waters near you are stocked with brook trout go to IFW’s Stocking Reports online at www.mefishwildlife.com/fishing/reports/stocking/index.htm. Now start thinking about waters to fish this spring!

- Joe Dembeck, Research Fisheries Biologist, Bangor

Open Water Fishing Preview

Wipe the winters dust from your rods and spool up your reels with new line. It’s time for Maine’s open water fishing season.

Central Maine anglers may wonder why some salmonid waters are managed so differently than others.

The answer is quite simple when you take into account that some waters have more potential than others. The better salmonid waters in the state will demonstrate the ability to hold over salmonids from one year to the next. Most landlocked salmon, togue, brown trout, rainbow trout and splake waters have this ability, enhancing the chances for an older or larger salmonid.

On the other hand many brook trout waters that are stocked in central Maine lack the ability to carry fish beyond the season they were stocked. These waters are referred to as “put and take” trout ponds. “Put and take” waters usually have low dissolved oxygen levels and warm water temperatures during the summer months, as well as abundant populations of predator and competitor fish such as white perch and chain pickerel.

Some waters in central Maine are able to carry over brook trout from year to year, at least in small numbers. These waters are referred to as “put grow and take waters”.

Central Maine has a handful of very productive “put grow and take” brook trout waters. These waters often have stricter regulations to limit harvest until the fish have grown to a more desirable size. To enhance your chances to catch a larger-than-average brook trout this spring, we suggest you try any one of the following waters: Tyler Pond in Manchester; Peters Pond in Waldoboro’ Spectacle Pond in Vassalboro; Kimball Pond in Vienna; Bowler Pond in Palermo; or Basin Pond  in Fayette.

- Scott Davis, Fisheries Biologist Specialist, Sidney

Region C - Downeast - Photos from the field!

Open Water Fishing Preview

Exciting spring fishing opportunities abound for anglers in the Downeast region.  Many lakes and ponds are ice-free with immediate action for trout and salmon. The following lakes and ponds represent waters recommended to anglers by their regional fisheries biologists: Greg Burr, Joe Overlock, and Rick Jordan during April, May and June.

Hancock County

Brook Trout:

Lakewood Pond (Bar Harbor): This small pond, located within Acadia National Park, gets stocked with 600 fall fingerling 6- to 8-inch trout and has very little use in the winter because it’s a mile walk behind a Park gate.  The gate is opened by the end of April and allows anglers to drive within 200 feet of the pond.  Excellent brook trout fishing can be found here from either the shore or a canoe.

Little Tunk Pond (Sullivan): This pond located at the base of Black Mountain can be accessed by 10 minute walking trail from the Frenchman’s Bay Conservancy parking area off Route 183.  It is stocked with 4,200 fall fingerling 6- to 8-inch trout.  It gets very little use in the winter and offers spring anglers excellent fishing from shore or by canoe.

Simmons Pond (Hancock):  Located behind a gate until the muddy road dries, this pond offers walk-in access for its early anglers. The 5-minute walk from the parking area is worth the trip as this spring-fed kettle hole pond holds stocked trout to sizes of 15-16 inches.  It is stocked annually with 525 fall fingerling 6- to 8”-inch trout and 100 8- to 10-inch trout in the spring. The pond is closed to ice fishing, so all stocked fish are reserved for open-water anglers. Simmons is an excellent early pond for shore anglers, float tubers, or canoe fishermen.

Upper Hadlock Pond (Northeast Harbor): This pond is one of the first coastal trout ponds to go ice-free.  It is not open to ice fishing, so spring, summer and fall anglers get all the benefits, especially in the early spring.  The pond is located roadside of Route 198 and can be fished very successfully from shore or a small boat.  It gets stocked with 1,400 fall fingerling 6- to 8-inch trout as well as 75 fall yearling 12- to 14-inch trout.  This is an excellent choice for early spring fly or spin casting or trolling.

Echo Lake (Southwest Harbor):  This larger 200-acre trout pond is managed for larger fish.  Many brook trout here average between 12 and 14 inches with some attaining sizes of 18 inches.  The pond also provides good fishing for landlocked salmon that range in length from 16 to 22 inches.  This pond can fished from shore and is just a short walk from Route 102, or anglers can launch boats at the Ike’s Point landing.  Most anglers have great success trolling flies or lures.  It is stocked with 3,500 fall fingerling 6- to 8-inch and 400 8- to 10-inch trout as well as 75 salmon.

Fox Pond (T10 SD): This picturesque roadside pond located on Route 182 in the Black Woods is one of the area’s most popular trout waters.  Most anglers kick back on the shore with their family and throw out worms with great success.  Others prefer to fly or spin cast with equal success.  Some anglers launch a small boat at the public access and troll and do extremely well.  The pond is stocked with lots of trout from its 3,000 6- to 8-inch fall fingerlings and 400 8- to 10-inch spring yearling trout to its 50 10- to 13-inch fall yearling brown trout.  This pond produces great fishing for good numbers of brook trout and large brown trout.

Orland River (Orland): This river begins at the base of the Alamoosook Lake dam and is stocked with 600 spring yearling 8- to 10-inch brook trout in May making for terrific fly, spin, or worm fishing opportunities.

Moosehorn Stream (Bucksport): This stream crosses Route 46 and is stocked with 500 8- to 10-inch spring yearling brook trout spread out through a ¼-mile portion of the stream mostly upstream of the Route 46 bridge and off the town of Bucksport streamside property.  This is a terrific spot to take a youngster and worm fish either from the shore or from a canoe.

We also recommend the following terrific wild brook trout streams;

West Branch of the Union River, Middle Branch of the Union River, Bog River – Eastbrook, Mann Brook – Dedham, Tunk Stream – Unionville, Tannery Brook – Otis, Johnny’s Brook – Franklin, West Branch of the Narraquagus River, Dumb Brook – Mariaville, Beaver Brook – Aurora, Kebo Brook – Bar Harbor and Hothole Brook – Orland.

Salmon:

Long Pond (Mount Desert): This pond is stocked annually with 250 salmon and is producing good numbers of 16- to 19-inch fish.  It is one of the first coastal salmon waters to go ice-free in April, and is a good bet for early spring salmon trolling.

Phillips Lake (Dedham): This lake gets very little fishing use in the winter and offers good salmon trolling in May and June.  It gets stocked with 350 salmon annually.

Hopkins Pond (Clifton): After its first two initial stockings of salmon, this pond is now producing fish up to 20 inches.  Most salmon trollers don’t think of the water but they should.  It’s a sleeper and well worth trolling this spring.

Tunk Lake (T 10 SD): The traveling conditions were not good this past winter so the use by ice fishermen was low, making more salmon available to open-water anglers.  Tunk gets stocked with 350 to 500 salmon each spring and they are growing well.  The surface waters are slow to warm up but when they do in the latter part of May anglers should make Tunk one of their spring trolling destinations.

Brown trout:

Lower Patten Pond (Surry): This water has been stocked twice in the last two years with large fall yearling browns.  They should be growing well and produce a good ice-out fishery for trollers who like run flies or lures just off the drop offs as soon as the pond sheds its winter coat. Fishing regulations require that all brown trout must be released at this pond.

Walker Pond (Brooksville):  If you’re looking for big browns this is the pond. Walkers has not been stocked for several years but the brown trout here grow fast and get big.  Anglers who don’t mind putting a little more time in trolling off the drop offs as soon as the ice goes out could potentially land a brown between 4 and 12 pounds.

Washington County

Brook trout:

Simpson Pond (Roque Bluffs): This pond is situated in the middle of Roque Bluffs State Park and is the first pond to go ice free in early April.  We highly recommend this as an early fishing destination, as well as later in May after the pond receives its annual stocking of 200 spring yearling 8- to 10-inch brook trout. Simpson Pond also gets stocked with 75 brown trout.  The pond holds trout to older ages and larger sizes. It’s not uncommon to catch brook trout from 11 to 15 inches.  It also produces good numbers of 15 to 17 inch browns with an occasional larger fish.

West Pike Brook Pond (T18 MD): Located just outside of Cherryfield, this pond is a local favorite for anglers who like to hook into brookies between 12 and 15 inches. The pond is stocked annually with 1,200 6- to 8-inch fall fingerling trout with good survival for good numbers of larger individuals that anglers begin catching as soon as the ice starts to recede away from the shore.  Most fishermen shore fish with artificial lures but there is also a boat launch for small craft, and some anglers prefer to spin or fly cast from a canoe.

Montegail Pond (Centerville); This pond is tucked away in the blueberry barrens and is stocked annually with 2,500 6- to 8-inch fall fingerlings and 300 spring yearling 8- to 10-inch  trout plus 175 large 11- to 14-inch fall yearling trout.  It has many springs where trout like to hold out in midsummer. Anglers who fish this early can have some fantastic fishing.

Huntley Creek Pond (Cutler): This old Navy base pond gets stocked annually in May with 600 spring yearling 8- to 10-inch trout.  It’s a great spot to take a child or the whole family for a day of fishing and picnicking.

Six Mile Lake (Marshfield): This lake is located just outside of the town of Machias off Route 192.  It is stocked heavily annually with 1,950 6- to 8-inch fall fingerling and 700 8- to 10-inch spring yearling trout.  This pond produces some holdover trout of larger sizes so that early spring anglers commonly catch fish from 12 to 16 inches.

North & South Meyers Pond: These kettle-hole ponds are “kids only” waters that sit side by side off the blueberry barrens in Columbia.  Separated only by a thin esker, kids and their parents have a choice of which they would like to try first.  If the fish aren’t biting in one then just hop over the hill and try the other.  These waters are stocked heavily in the fall with 250 and 150 6- to 80-inch trout that holdover to sizes of 11 to 14 inches.  These ponds are very good fishing and are well worth taking the kids to.

Pineo Pond (Deblois): This fly-fishing only kettle-hole pond situated just off the Deblois blueberry barrens a few miles off Route 193.  Fishermen can easily fly fish from shore or launch their canoe from the access road.  This pond is stocked with 300 6- to 8-inch fall fingerling trout.  It commonly holds over trout to 12- to 16 inches.

Monroe Lake (T 43 MD): This pond is remote pond located just north of the Stud Mill Road. It is stocked heavily with 3,150 fall fingerling brook trout.  It is closed to ice fishing so the early spring angler can have some very fast fishing.  Trout here average from 11 to 15 inches.

Pork Barrel Lake (T6 R1): Pork Barrel is a wilderness pond located just northeast of West Grand Lake. Anglers reach it with with four-wheel drive vehicles. Its access road is located off the Amazon Road about 12 miles outside of the village of Grand Lake Stream.  The pond holds lots of 12 to 14 inch trout and is stocked with 650 fall fingerlings.  Its best fished from a float tube or canoe, and the carry-in off the access road is 100 feet.

Middle River (Marshfield): This stream runs beside Route 192 just north of Machias.  It has a “kids only” section and it’s stocked twice between the end of May and the beginning of June.  It’s great place to stop roadside and help your child cast a worm to catch their first trout.

The following are some of the best wild brook trout streams:  West Branch of the Machias River, Crooked River, Fifth Lake Stream, Old Stream, Chandler River, Dennys River, Mopang Stream, Little Mopang Stream, East Machias River, and the Pleasant River.

Landlocked Salmon:

Grand Lake Stream: One of the top five landlocked salmon fly fishing rivers in the state this water produces fast fishing in the Dam Pool in early April and May as fresh salmon arrive from West Grand Lake and disperse into the lower pools. This memorable and beautiful stream averages 100’ wide and is hard to beat for catch rates of fish between 16 and 20 inches.

Cathance Lake (Cooper); This lake is one of Washington County’s premier salmon waters.  It is stocked annually with 900 to 1,200 spring yearling 8- to 10-inch salmon.  It grows fish quickly, with salmon averaging between 16 and 20 inches with some reaching up to 4 pounds.  It also has a fishery for wild brook trout that are occasionally reach lengths of 12 to 18 inches.  This water can have fast fishing immediately after ice-out, which usually occurs by April 20.

West Grand Lake (Grand Lake Stream): This 14,000-acre lake is one of the top salmon waters in the state and can yield fast top water fishing within 1 to 2 weeks after the ice goes out.  This lake is usually stocked with 10,000 to 11,000 salmon annually and fish average between 15 and 19 inches.

Brown Trout:

Pennamaquan Lake (Charlotte): This lake produces some of the nicest sized brown trout in the county.  Trollers here are running lures and flies along the dropoffs to catch fish between 16 and 22 inches.

Because many of the waters in this report have special fishing regulations, anglers are advised to consult their lawbook or the online listing of fishing regulations at the following link:    http://www.maine.gov/ifw/laws_rules/fishing/openwater/index.htm

- Greg Burr, Assistant Regional Fisheries Biologist, Jonesboro.

Region D - Western Mountains - Photos from the field!

Clearwater Lake open to dipnet smelting

Note that Clearwater Lake in Industry, Franklin County, is open to dipnet smelting this spring.  This regulation change applies to the lake only, not the tributaries, and results from action taken by the Advisory Council in response to a citizen petition.  For that reason, the change is not listed in this year's fishing lawbook.

The lake was closed to smelting effective 1996 because of littering and vandalism, including rutting up private roads, so smelters will have to be on their good behavior to assure that it isn’t closed again.  We suggest that smelters access the smelting sites, off the mouths of brooks, by boat if possible.

Portion of Magalloway River open to kids fishing

The Magalloway River Big, from Bennett’s Covered Bridge in Lincoln Plantation upstream to red posts (approximately 1,300 feet), will be open to kids fishing from June 1 to Aug. 15. Persons under 16 years of age who wish to fish under the S-4 regulation may only do so from shore with barbless hooks. Under the S-4 regulation, the use or possession of live fish as bait is prohibited, but the use of dead fish, salmon eggs and worms are permitted.

Open Water Fishing Preview

The recent rains are delaying productive stream fishing, but are also speeding the demise of the ice on lakes and ponds.  We’re looking for smelt runs to begin within the next two weeks in the lower elevations of our Region -- those waters not more than about 20 miles north of Route 2.  For waters in the higher elevations, such as the Rangeley's, smelt won’t run for another week or two after that.  And when the smelts begin to run, ice outs are not far behind - this is the best time to troll for salmon.

We have an overabundance of salmon at Rangeley Lake and Mooselookmeguntic Lake, and are encouraging anglers to keep a fish to help thin them out a bit.  Growth rates of salmon at both waters, as well as at the Richardson's, improved last year. Rangeley and Mooselookmeguntic also have some nice brook trout.  Aziscohos should have great fishing for both salmon and brookies, too.

As many anglers know, we greatly expanded our spring yearling brook trout stocking program after the Embden Rearing Station was rebuilt in 2005, and these stockings will be listed as they occur on our web site.  We begin stocking as soon as the ice is out in lakes and as soon as the spring flows abate in rivers.

- Forrest Bonney, Regional Fisheries Biologist, Strong

Region E - Moosehead Region - Photos from the field!

Information Hearing

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will be holding a public hearing on its antlerless deer permit proposal at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 13, at Greenville High School, Pritham Avenue, in Greenville.

Immediately after that hearing, the department will hold an information hearing regarding fishing regulations on Moosehead Lake.

Open Water Fishing Preview

After a long and successful winter of ice fishing in the Moosehead Lake region, we will soon hear the delightful words, “ice-out!” and the angler will find a variety of opportunities.

Snow melt and spring run-off are changing angling opportunities daily.  Many of our ponds and lakes still are covered with ice, but shortly after ice out they will produce some of the fastest fishing of the open water season. The region has a variety of fish species for anglers to pursue and various types of angling techniques are necessary to bag your quarry.

Consider how lake trout fishing strategies change with the season.  Lake trout typically seek a constant water temperature between 40-52 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lake trout can be targeted between the surface and at depth of 15 feet at ice-out.  In mid- to late spring, anglers will need to get down to deeper water around depths of 30–50 feet as water temperatures increase.

Lake trout primarily feed on small fish, but can be taken with heavy jigs or cut bait and are also caught by trolling large spoons and lures.  Anglers can find some fast fishing on Moosehead Lake, First Roach Pond and Lower Wilson Pond if they are targeting lake trout this spring.

Spring also is a good time to find landlocked salmon cruising the shallows and the mouths of tributaries.  Salmon are looking for a feed of smelts as they begin to congregate in preparation for their annual spawning runs.  Gray Ghosts, Black Ghosts, Mickey Fins, and a variety of other smelt imitation streamer patterns can be deadly this time of year.

Among of the Moosehead Region’s salmon waters to try this spring are Chesuncook Lake, Brassua Lake, Moosehead Lake and First Roach Pond.  There also are  good opportunities to catch landlocked salmon on some of our local river fisheries like the Roach River, Moose River, East and West outlets of the Kennebec River, and the West Branch of the Penobscot.

Many of the season’s largest brook trout are caught along the shore as water temperatures begin to increase.  Even the most novice angler can find brook trout that will take an assortment of flies, lures and bait.  Make sure to check the law book to determine which fishing gear is allowed on bodies of water you plan to fish.

Once we begin to see an increase in water temperatures and a decrease in stream and river flows, we will begin our annual spring stocking of legal-size brook trout.  These brook trout are stocked in easily accessible waters through the region to create “instant fishing” opportunities.  Many of these waters are stocked on more than one occasion to distribute the catch among anglers and to ensure fishing success longer into the season.

List of Spring stocked brook trout:

Bennett Pond, Parkman; Big Wood, Jackman; Doe Pond, Monson; Drummond Pond, Abbott (family fishing area); Fitzgerald Pond, Big Moose Township; Gravel Pit Pond, Little Moose Township (family fishing area); Hebron Lake, Monson; Kiwanis Park Pond (Dunham Brook), Dover-Foxcroft (restricted to anglers under 16); Moose River, Jackman; Parlin Pond, Parlin Pond Township; Piscataquis River, Dover-Foxcroft and Guilford; Power Trout Pond, Little Moose Township; Prong Pond, Beaver Cove Township; Sawyer Pond, Greenville; Shadow Pond, Little Moose Township; Shirley Pond, Shirley; Snow’s Pond, Dover-Foxcroft; Spectacle Ponds, Monson; West Outlet Kennebec River, Sapling; and Whetstone Pond, Blanchard Township.

Regional fisheries biologists rely heavily on voluntary information to evaluate the success of the region’s fisheries.  The number of waters biologists are able to sample in a season is very low when you begin to consider the number of waters managed by the Moosehead fisheries staff.  In the Moosehead Lake Region, three fisheries biologists are responsible for the management of 592 Great Ponds (greater than 10 acres) and 686 ponds less than 10 acres, along with 4,125 miles of stream habitat located in 125 townships in Piscataquis and Somerset Counties.   So providing voluntary catch information as a voluntary record-book keeper or by filling out survey cards at access sites is one of the most important contributions an angler can make to the Fishery Division’s fishery management program.

Information on where and when you fish, along with the number and sizes of fish you catch, provides the IF&W Fisheries Division with the information needed to help evaluate strategies such as stocking allocations and regulation changes. Since the bottom line of the success of any fishery is how well it provides to the rod and reel, this information is essential for making sound fishery management decisions.

The voluntary fishing record program has been one of our more successful endeavors and continues to provide useful data to state fisheries biologists.  Any Moosehead region angler interested in providing this information or knows of any other anglers who might be interested in maintaining a voluntary fishing record book and would like to become a member of this program, please have them contact me, Stephen Seeback, at 695-3756.

If you fish other regions of the state and would like to get involved in this program, please contact the regional office of the region you do most of your fishing activity.

- Stephen Seeback, Fisheries Biology Specialist, Greenville

Region F - Penobscot Valley Region - Photos from the field!

Last week’s wind and rain, followed by the fantastically warm weather earlier in the week, has caused most of the lakes in Region F to shed their winter ice cover.  In fact, many of the lakes in central Penobscot County have been ice free for over a week. 

The ice at East Grand Lake in northern Washington County was breaking up last Thursday, and the entire lake should be ice free by now.  East Musquash Lake and the other lakes along Route 6 east of Lincoln have been ice free for over a week.  The ice went out of Schoodic last Tuesday and Cold Stream Pond a week and half ago.

The next month is prime time for spring fishing for salmon, trout and togue as the lakes will have “turned over,” -- surface water temperatures will have warmed and the fish will be active and in the mood for a feast.

Region F offers many opportunities when it comes to cold water fishing.  Productive salmon waters in central Maine include the Jo-Mary’s (Upper, Middle, and Lower), Millinocket Lake, and the Pemadumcook chain of lakes all just north and west of the town of Millinocket.

Pleasant Lake in Island Falls and Deering Lake in Weston both have the reputation of producing some of the fattest salmon in Region F. The salmon at East Grand Lake in Danforth and Weston showed improvement during this last winter’s ice fishing season in terms of size quality and catch rates, and we expect this trend to continue through the 2009 open water fishing season.

Traditional salmon lakes east of the town of Lincoln include East Musquash Lake, Pleasant Lake (in Kossuth), Junior Lake and Lower and Upper Sysladobsis (Dobsie) Lakes, which can all be accessed from Route 6 running east from Lincoln to Topsfield.

West, Duck, Spring and Nicatous Lakes, all east of the town of Burlington, produce healthy salmon with the occasional fish tipping the scales over 4 pounds.

Finally, anglers have a legitimate chance of catching trophy sized salmon (over 5 pounds) at Schoodic Lake and Cold Stream Pond.  In recent years, the size and quality of salmon at both of these waters has responded exceptionally to reduced stocking rates.

Some of the lake trout waters in this region include Millinocket, Ambajesus, Pemadumcook, Pleasant Lake (in Kossuth), Lower Jo-Mary, and 1st and 3rd Debsconeag Lakes, Schoodic Lake and Cold Stream Pond.

Matagamon Lake continues to produce some decent togue, however in recent years the growth rate has declined, prompting some changes in our management, including liberalizing the size and bag limit (3 fish, 14 inches, only one over 18 inches), and we have cancelled the stocking of togue for several years until we see an improvement in the growth trend.  We encourage anglers to keep these smaller togue, as thinning some of the stock piled fish from the lake will help us meet our management goals.

Brook trout opportunities in Region F are plentiful both in streams, and lakes and ponds (too many to name), offering fishing over both stocked and wild populations of fish. Nearly 30,000 spring yearling brook trout ranging in size from 8-10 inches will be stocked in the region’s waters this spring. Also, holdover fall yearling brook trout (12-16 inches) as well as surplus brood fish (16-18 inches) stocked out in fall of 2008 provide an added bonus to anglers lucky enough to coax one into biting. 

Finally, as always, the fisheries and hatchery staff here in Enfield want to make special mention of the “kids only” waters (under the age of 15) in the Region. In the next few weeks, Pickerel Pond on the Stud Mill Road near Old Town, the “Fire Pond” in Burlington, Hannington Pond in Reed Plantation, Giles Pond in Patten, Rock Crusher Pond in Island Falls, a small section of Mattagodus Stream in Springfield, Rocky Brook in Lincoln, and a small section of Cold Stream in Enfield will all be stocked with spring yearling brook trout.  Some of these waters may also receive larger surplus or retired brood fish, some weighing nearly 4 pounds.

You can find updates as to when these waters are stocked by visiting the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s website at: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/fishing/reports/stocking/index.htm. Put the spring cleaning chores aside for an afternoon and take the kids fishing. 

- Richard Dill, Regional Fisheries Biologist, Enfield

Region G - Aroostook County - Photos from the field!

Most of the lakes and ponds in northern Maine shed their coat of ice during the last week of April and those remaining should be ice-free by the end of this week.  This is about a week earlier than normal.

Brook trout in the numerous small ponds that were stocked with fall fingerlings have been producing for anglers.  Among these waters are Timoney Lake, Carry Lake, Echo Lake, Hanson Brook Lake, and Trafton Lake.  Up in northern Aroostook, Daigle Pond and Black Lake are early ice out favorites.

Staff from the Ashland office recently was at the Grand Lake Stream hatchery marking a number of spring yearling trout that will be stocked in the next couple of weeks.  Popular waters that will receive spring yearling trout include Monson Pond, Conroy Lake, Mud Pond, and the East Branch Mattawamkeag River.

The Fish River Chain remains a destination for anglers at ice out.  While all of the lakes offer opportunity for brook trout and salmon, Eagle Lake is the only water with a sizeable togue population.  Togue fishing in this lake was very good this winter and hopefully angler success will continue into the open water season.

Popular backcountry lakes include Big Eagle, Churchill, Umsaskis and Round Pond in the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.  Watercraft restrictions exist on these waters so first time visitors are encouraged to check the lawbook.  Spider Lake, Cliff Lake, Millimagassett Lake and 2nd Musquacook Lake are other early destinations for trout and togue.

Anglers traveling roads within the North Maine Woods management area should be respectful of the industrial landowners providing road access by not traveling on secondary roads that are soft and easily rutted.  Information for North Maine Woods, Inc. can be obtained from the Ashland office at 435-6213 or visit www.northmainewoods.org.

River flows are high but can be expected to recede in the coming week as snow and ice leave the woods and waters.  Although Memorial Day is early this year, conditions should be good for excellent fishing flows over the long weekend.  Black flies, as well as trout, will be hungry so don’t forget the fly dope.  The Aroostook, Fish and Allagash Rivers are all good candidates for brook trout.  The Meduxnekeag River in southern Aroostook harbors a population of brown trout.  Finally, don’t forget, salmon caught from the flowing waters of the Aroostook River drainage must be immediately released!
 
As always, we caution all anglers to be aware of the cold water temperatures and to please wear a life jacket when fishing out of watercraft.  Good luck fishing this season.

- David J. Basley, Regional Fisheries Biologist, Ashland