MDIFW Fisheries Staff Surveys Remote Ponds

October 13, 2017 at 2:29 pm

[caption id="attachment_2504" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo 1: Some roads are questionable[/caption] By IFW Fisheries Biologist Merry Gallagher The Native Fish Conservation Group, a section of the Fisheries division that focuses on conservation and restoration of native fish, has completed another successful season of surveying some of Maine’s remote and difficult to access ponds. [caption id="attachment_2497" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo 2: The end of the road[/caption] We work in conjunction with the Regional Fisheries Biologists to document and assess these waters for potential management changes.  In 2017, we surveyed 29 of these remote ponds and 19 of these were ‘new’ pond surveys.  This means that the pond had never been surveyed before. Hard to believe, but yes, even in 2017, we still have waters in Maine that have never been formally surveyed. [caption id="attachment_2503" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo 3: Merry Gallagher and Jake Richard set a gill net in Pamola Pond[/caption] Our goal with the survey is to establish a base understanding of the pond’s fishery resources, its water quality and habitat conditions. We collect a variety of information while conducting a survey.   Often the first challenge often is just getting there!  This sometimes requires skillful navigation with the assistance of GPS (Photo 1) [caption id="attachment_2500" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo 4: Kevin Gallant prepares to set a minnow trap[/caption] and we sometimes have to compensate for obstructions along the way, like a decommissioned road (Photo 2). We sample for fishes by using a variety of gear, such as gill nets (Photo 3), minnow traps (Photo 4), and experimental angling (Photo 5).  These places are difficult to get to and we probably won’t be coming back anytime soon, so we will use just about any method we can to collect information! [caption id="attachment_2498" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo 5: Matt Lubejko experimental angles an inlet to Beaver Pond[/caption] Sometimes, we sometimes find previously undocumented populations of wild brook trout (Photo 6) and sometimes, we manage to catch the smallest pond inhabitants through a combination of luck and determination (Photo 7). [caption id="attachment_2501" align="alignright" width="169"] Photo 6: A nice wild brook trout[/caption] As part of this work, we also assess the water quality and physical condition of the ponds.  Although the primary focus of this whole effort is to document additional wild brook trout resources and coldwater habitat, we record and measure whatever we find at the pond once there. [caption id="attachment_2505" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo 7: A miraculous catch![/caption] For some of these ponds, it’s difficult to even consider them as a pond.  Water level can be quite low at the time of the survey (Photo 8) or the ‘pond’ is really just a wide spot in a stream (Photo 9).  We often find the remains of old log driving dams or structures on the outlet as well (Photo 10).   Although not all of these site s are ‘pretty’ (Photo 11), we do manage to find a few gems every year! (Photo 12) [caption id="attachment_2495" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo 8: Very shallow water conditions at time of survey[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2499" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo 9: Contrary Brook Bog[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2502" align="alignright" width="225"] Photo 10: Remnant log driving structure on the outlet of Kingsley Flowage[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2496" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo 11: Poor quality coldwater fish habitat[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2506" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo 12: Depot Pond, Baxter State Park[/caption]