Contacts: Jeanne Curran,(207) 287-3156
Deborah Turcotte,(207) 592-1164
Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, MDIF&W Work to Ease Sebago Lake Boat Access for Spring Fishing
(April 15, 2011)
AUGUSTA, Maine – Savvy Maine anglers know that some of the best early-spring fishing can be found at Sebago Lake, Maine’s deepest lake.
The Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL), under the Maine Department of Conservation, in cooperation with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIF&W), is making it easier for fishermen with boats to get access to the lake for excellent fishing during April and May.
“We are working closely with MDIF&W Commissioner Chandler Woodcock to provide fishermen access to some of Maine’s prime fishing waters,” said Commissioner Bill Beardsley of the Maine Department of Conservation. “This is an example of how Commissioner Woodcock and I expect our two agencies to work together.”
“MDIF&W is thrilled to work with DOC Commissioner Beardsley and the Bureau of Parks and Lands in providing this early availability to Maine’s fishing community,” said Commissioner Woodcock. “Our goal is that this will be the first of many collaborations between our departments to improve access to, and encourage participation in, Maine’s outdoor recreation opportunities.”
Fishermen who want to launch their boats from the deep-water boat launch at Sebago Lake State Park in Casco for some early-spring fishing now will find it easier to get an early-morning start, according to Ron Hunt, BPL regional manager-Southern Region.
Park entrance guidelines have been enhanced “to allow open access to what most fishermen consider the best fishing boat launch ramp on Sebago Lake,” Hunt said. The Sebago Lake boat ramp is unique in that it is inside the state park and also is a deep-water entry boat ramp that accommodates boats of any draft depth, he said.
The regional manager said the best fishing on Sebago Lake usually takes place between April 1 after ice out and early May in conjunction with the spring smelt run. The Songo River’s entry into the lake attracts the spring smelt run, which in turn causes salmon to concentrate at the mouth of the river, creating “a very good opportunity for salmon fishing,” Hunt said.
Commenting on fishing conditions, Hunt said, “They should be excellent now as the ice is out and the smelt run starts.”
Anglers are encouraged to check their fishing law book for bag and size limits. The fishing law book is available on MDIF&W’s website at www.mefishwildlife.com, or where fishing licenses are sold statewide.
Anglers now will find park entrance to the boat ramp “much more convenient,” regional manager Hunt said.
“There is an expectation, however, that even though the gate is open 24/7 that all boaters pay the applicable entrance fee when they enter the park,” Hunt emphasized.
The maximum that any party of fishermen should pay at the park entrance is $5, he said.
To clarify, Hunt said that before May 21, prior to the control station being staffed, the park gate will be open 24 hours a day for seven days a week. Fishermen who want access to the boat ramp must do one of the following:
Deposit the appropriate off-season park fee in the metal receptacle known as the “Iron Ranger,” the maximum being $5 for a party of fishermen;
Or purchase a vehicle season pass (adults 64 and under) for $70 from BPL; or purchase a senior (65 and over) vehicle season pass for $30.
After May 21, during regular business hours, 9 a.m. to sunset, fishermen may choose from the following:
Pay the appropriate fee to park staff from 9 a.m. to sunset, the maximum being $5 for a party;
Or deposit the appropriate in-season park fee in the Iron Ranger if no staff is present.
After May 21, the park gate will be closed at sunset and opened each day by staff at 9 a.m., Hunt said. Fishermen who want early-morning access must:
Purchase a seasonal Early Launch Permit for $10, which also will provide the gate lock combination.
Similar guidelines will be put in place for Webb Lake at Mount Blue State Park in Weld, for Range Pond at Range Ponds State Park, and for Rangeley Lake at Rangeley Lake State Park. Anyone with questions can contact Park Manager Andy Haskell at Sebago Lake, at (207) 693-6231; Park Manager Bruce Farnham, Mount Blue, at (207) 585-2261; Park Manager Adam McKay, Rangeley Lake, at (207) 864-3858; and Park Manager Gordeen Skolfield, Range Ponds, at (207) 998-4104.
For more information on Maine state parks and historic sites, go to: http://www.parksandlands.com
For more information about BPL boat launch facilities, including a Google Earth guide, go to: http://www.maine.gov/doc/parks/programs/boating/index.html
For more information about ice out on Maine’s lakes, go to: http://www.maine.gov/doc/parks/programs/boating/ice_out11.html