May 8, 2015

MDIFW Fishing Report

Region A – Sebago Lakes Region

So far this year, lakes in Region A have been providing anglers with plenty of action.

“Salmon fisherman have had a good early season with a good mix of size and catch rates,” said IFW fisheries biologist Francis Brautigam.

Early on, Auburn Lake anglers were fishing under the ice with their PVC rigs and were rewarded with some healthy salmon right as the ice was receding. The smelt run on Auburn Lake was noted as one of the largest ever by area wardens as well.

“Boat anglers on Auburn reported initially slow action, but recently the fishing has picked up with one angler reporting a mornings catch of 19 salmon, with some up to 4 pounds,” said Brautigam.

Out on Sebago, there was some unusually good early fishing as soon as the ice went out, with some good and some slow days to date. At the time of this report the smelt are beginning to migrate into the Songo and we’ve had reports of some smelt at the locks. The next week or so should offer some good fishing as the lake’s smelt population converges on the northwest corner of Sebago to spawn, followed by hungry salmon and togue.

Over on Peabody Pond, the smelt run is over, during which successful anglers reported catching 5 to 6 salmon in a trip up to 4 pounds on a good day. Thompson offered fast fishing for one angler who fished a week after ice out and reportedly landed 30 salmon over two outings using sewed smelt trolled very slow. Another angler fished there with streamers and landed 12 salmon. The salmon on Thompson are smaller than last year when some unusually large salmon were caught in the 4 to 6 pound range. This year’s catch is “more normal” with most salmon under 3 pounds.

If you are into river fishing in Region A, things were a bit slow but the Presumpscot River Bypass fishery was perhaps the exception, with anglers reporting some quality-size salmon being caught early by fly fishermen.

“Many of the popular streams in Region A are stocked twice (April/May) and typically the fishing in May provides much faster action as the waters warm, flows subside, and insect life emerges,” said Brautigam. “The difficult decision now is do you fish or turkey hunt?”

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

There are some outstanding bass waters in central Maine, and the bass fishing is starting to heat up.

“Bass are starting to move into the shallows as they prepare to spawn,” said IFW Fisheries Biologist Jason Seiders. “Anglers have a lot of opportunity to fish for big bass.”

Seiders reminds anglers to treat these fish with care, as these large females are generally full of eggs and ready to spawn.

Area brooks and streams are running at a very fishable level, and anglers are doing well catching some of the trout stocked by IFW hatchery personnel.

“One spot that is doing well is the Salmon Lake Outlet in Belgrade,” said Seiders. The outlet connects Salmon Lake to Great Pond, and trout have been congregating in certain areas of the outlet.

One other spot to add to your list to try is the Goose River in Swanville below Swan Lake. The water is a little lower than you would generally find this time of year, and plans are to stock it this week.

If you are looking to try your luck on one of the bigger rivers, you should try the Kennebec. Seiders has heard several reports of anglers catching rainbows over 20 inches below Wyman Dam, and the area in Madison from the dam to the confluence of the Sandy River has also been productive.

Also of interest to anglers is that Great Meadows Stream, the main tributary to Great Pond is now open to paddle craft such as canoes and kayaks, but is still closed to motorized craft. The stream has been closed to all use due to a mifoil infestation but is now open to paddle craft. There is a small hand carry launch on Route 225 that now has an open gate.

“The area is a scaled down version of the south end of Messalonskee,” said Seiders. “There’s tremendous bass fishing as well as excellent wildlife and bird watching opportunities.”

Region C -- Downeast

In the last week, area lakes have been opening up throughout the Downeast area.

“Mount Desert Island waters started going out the week of the 20th, then we started to see other area lakes following,” said IFW fisheries biologist Greg Burr. Big Lake opened up soon thereafter, and West Grand Lake finally on May 1.

Water levels in area lakes and ponds are mostly up, although West Grand Lake and Grand Lake Stream are down. With the deep snowpack, water regulators ran high flows on Grand Lake Stream through April in order to avoid flooding, but currently Grand Lake Stream is running a little lower than normal for this time of year. Anglers are catching fish, but fishing will improve once the water levels are bumped. Of interest to anglers will is that 75 retired brood salmon were stocked in the river earlier this year, as well as 25 in the St. Croix below the powerhouse in Kellyland.

The rapid warmup also has smaller ponds fishing very well for this time of year.

“Everything seems to be happening all at once. Usually there’s a progression with the smaller ponds warming up first, but right now, fishing seems to be picking up everywhere,” said Burr. “Salmon are very active on area lakes as the water temperatures are climbing.”

Burr mentioned that early season favorite Cathance Lake is doing well, as is West Grand and Big Lake. Anglers on Branch Lake in Ellsworth are also having good luck.

“Winter use throughout the area was down this year, and that bodes well for spring fishing,” said Burr. “It’s time to get out and fish.”

Region D – Rangeley Lakes

Up in the Rangeley region, water levels are going down and the fishing is picking up.

“There’s still some ice in the northern part of the region, but the ice on Rangeley Lake went out earlier this week,” said IFW fisheries biologist Bobby Van Riper.

The southern part of the region is ice free, and anglers have been catching fish on Porter and Clearwater Lakes and Temple Stream. Biologist Dave Howatt said one angler caught a five pound salmon on Little Ellis Pond in Roxbury.

“We’re starting to stock in Temple Stream, and yesterday there were several trucks and cars parked along the stream with people out fishing,” said Van Riper.

While many smaller ponds may be free of ice, trout in some of these smaller ponds might be a little slow to bite. “Once the bugs come out, the trout will start to bite,” said Van Riper.

River fishing has been slow to pick up, but that hasn’t stopped anglers from trying as fly fisherman were seen wading through the snowbanks to fish on the Magalloway earlier in the season.

Some northern ponds are still experiencing strong smelt runs but in the southern section of the region, the smelt runs have come and gone.

Region E – Moosehead Region

On Tuesday Evening, the ice went out on Moosehead Lake.

“It’s time to be out on the shorelines fishing for big trout,” said IFW fisheries biologist Tim Obrey. While most of the snow is out of the woods, anglers should note that area roads are still a bit muddy.

While many anglers will concentrate on the big lake right after ice out, Obrey noted that anglers may want to check out the Moose River.

“It’s too high to fish the river right now, but the mouth of the river is a good bet,” said Obrey. Other popular early season spots include Chesuncook and Allagash Lake. “Ice fishing pressure was down this year, and there are a lot of fish still out there.”

Smelt runs seem to be just about over in the Moosehead region, as Obrey and his staff set trap nets earlier to determine the strength of some smelt runs in a couple of Moosehead tributaries.

Region F – Penobscot Region

April 25th marked ice out on Cold Stream Pond, and word is that most ice is out in the region, including early season favorites Grand Lake Matagammon and East Grand Lake.

The early returns on Cold Stream have been very favorable, with salmon in the 22” range being landed, however, reports have been slowing coming in from other ponds in the region.

“We are basically just getting underway here,” said Nels Kramer, IFW fisheries biologist. “Water levels are good, we had a gradual thaw, and people are starting to catch fish.”

Smelts have pretty much come and gone in the area. Some larger streams are beginning to see the suckers moving in. Stocking has begun in the area, and will continue through the end of the month.

“The next couple of weeks are one of the best times to be fishing in the area,” added Kramer.

Region G – Aroostook Region

Ice is out on all the major lakes, smelt runs are winding down, and anglers are catching fish.

“Ice went out earlier this week on Long Lake,” said IFW fisheries biologist Frank Frost, who added that the ice is out on all the lakes on the Fish River Chain.

“Things seem to condensed this year. Smelt runs are winding down but Squa Pan and Long Lake are still running. Tributaries are warming up quickly as some now have temps now over 50 degrees,” said Frost.

Water levels in area rivers and streams are at good fishing levels, but still need to warm up a bit. With the warm weather this week, fishing should pick up quickly.

If you’re looking for a good early season spot for fishing, any of the lakes in the Fish River chain are a good bet, with Square Lake always a popular spot, as well as Carr Pond.

A little further to the south, Drews Lake and Nickerson are popular early, as well as Conroy Lake in Monticello. These waters are stocked in the fall and spring, and are popular fisheries this time of year.