April 1, 2017
MDIFW Fishing Report
Region A – Sebago Lakes Region
“It’s prime time for salmon right now,” says IFW fisheries biologist Jim Pellerin, who added that in most of the lakes in the Sebago Lakes region, the smelt runs have just ended or are about to end. As a result, the salmon are feasting.
“The ice is out on nearly all our lakes, except for Kezar Lake in the northwest corner of our region,” said Pellerin. Anglers have been out and are reporting good catches of landlocks on Thompson and Sebago, and a few on Auburn Lake.
Sebago’s smelt run is generally later than other area lakes, but anglers have been getting good numbers of both salmon and togue, particularly on the west shore of the lake. Staff biologists were out conducting creel surveys last weekend, and checked 58 boats.
One boat on Sebago last week landed a 38-inch, 22-pound togue. While the angler kept that fish to be mounted, a nearly identical togue that he caught was just a bit smaller and was released. Another angler was out for two hours and landed over 20 lake trout.
If you are looking to fish area streams and rivers, you will have to wait a bit. Waters are still high and murky, but should start to recede after the weekend.
IFW hatchery staff are preparing for the busy stocking schedule ahead, but to date have only stocked some of the smaller ponds in the region. Some of the region’s smaller ponds like Otter seem to still have quite a few trout left over from ice fishing season.
If bass fishing is your passion, it won’t be long as Pellerin noted that smallmouths are just starting to come into the shallows.
Region B – Central and Midcoast Area
In the central part of the state, coastal waters are free and clear of ice, and inland waters are getting close.
“Ice on the Belgrades will probably be out in the next week,” said IFW fisheries biologist Jason Seiders. “Messalonskee is open on the north end, and some warm weather and wind should take the rest out.”
Out on Long Pond, anglers are fishing where they can find open water, and they are catching some nice rainbow trout.
“A lot of the rainbows anglers are catching are in the 19-inch range,” said Seiders.
Looking for two early season hotspots?
“Your best bet right now is Lake St. George in Liberty. The best fishing there is right after ice out,” said Seiders. “Alford is another good bet with some great landlocked salmon and brown trout fishing.”
Seiders noted that regional staff trapnetted and released several Alford brown trout last fall that were over eight pounds, and he believes that there are even bigger ones in there. White perch fishing can also be pretty fast on Alford, with some humpbacks reaching two pounds.
With waters still coffee-colored and tipping the banks, it will be a bit before anglers can fish area streams. Traditional early season spots like Messalonskee and Belgrade Stream haven’t been stocked yet but will be soon.
When the water does recede, you may want to try some of the coastal streams and rivers like the St. George, Medomak and the Pemaquid. These waters contain a lot of stocked fish that holdover and Seiders said these waters should be loaded with trout.
Up on the Kennebec below Wyman Dam, reports are excellent on early season salmon and rainbow fishing. IFW staff are conducting creel surveys there and interviewed one group that caught 20 salmon, and released all but one.
Region C -- Downeast
Downeast, winter has loosened its grip.
“Lots of our waters, especially waters south of Route 9, are now ice free,” reports IFW fisheries biologist Greg Burr.
“I talked with the game warden in Princeton, and Big Lake should go out any day,” said Burr, “And West Grand Lake is usually six days after that.” Anglers may want to try the narrows at the outlet of Big Lake, which is always a good spot for early season salmon.
On Grand Lake Stream, anglers had an excellent opening day, and high flows have pushed salmon out of the dam pool down into the hatchery pool and below. It should also pull some fish down from West Grand and others up from Big Lake.
Burr noted that smelts are starting to stage at the mouths of tributaries on some of the salmon lakes. With ice going out soon, try early in the morning in some of the darker bottomed coves, or downwind in coves where there is a bit of salmon chop.
Anglers have been enjoying the rainbow trout fishing on Jones Pond, with reports of some rainbows over 21 inches. Water is still a little cool there, so anglers were getting hits on lines that were running a little deeper last weekend.
If you like to fish small ponds for brook trout, you may want to try these waters. In Hancock County, try Witch Hole Pond – Bar Harbor, Lakewood Pond – Bar Harbor, Upper and Lower Breakneck Ponds – Bar Harbor, Echo Lake – Mount Desert, Simmons Pond – Hancock, Little Pond (FFO) – Franklin, Young’s Pond (FFO) – Otis, Halfmile Pond – Amherst, Jellison Hill – Amherst, Long Pond – Great Pond Plt, King Pond – Great Pond Plt, and Halfmile Pond – Aurora. In Washington County you will want to try: Simpson’s Pond – Roque Bluffs, Pineo Pond – Deblois, West and East Pike Brook Ponds – Deblois, Salmon Pond – T 30 MD, Berry Patch Pond – Day Block Twp., Six Mile Lake – Marshfield, West Monroe Pond – T 43 MD, Monroe Lake – T 43 MD, Pork Barrel Lake – T6 R1, Goulding Lake – Robbinston, Norse Pond – Cutler, and Ackley Pond – Cutler.
Region D – Rangeley Lakes
Up in the Rangeley Region, fishing season may be open, but there are not many open waters. Most lakes are still ice-covered.
Some spots are fishable but it is limited. There are some reports of anglers fishing the Wilson Lake outlet by the boat launch, but not a lot of other spots.
“Rivers are high, lakes still have ice, I’d look for some of the smaller ponds that may be free of ice,” said IFW fisheries biologist Bobby Van Riper.
If you are looking to fish some streams, Van Riper suggested Temple Stream in Farmington.
“Try the lower section of the river from Route 2 to the fast water on Morrison Hill. There are always some trout that overwintered there,” said Van Riper, who also suggested the lower section of Sunday River and the lower section of the Bear River, particularly where they join the Androscoggin. Larger fish from the Andro often congregate there during high water.
As far as ice outs on some of the more popular spots in the region, Wilson Lake is always one of the first to go out, followed by Varnum Pond a little later. Then it usually is a while until Rangeley and Mooselook go out.
“Ice out on Rangeley is usually the first week of May, but it looks like it could be a little later this year,” said Van Riper.
Region E – Moosehead Region
In the Moosehead Region, there is still plenty of snow and ice.
“There’s not much going on,” said IFW fisheries biologist Tim Obrey. “There is some open water right at the mouth of the Moose River, and anglers are fishing there.”
The Moose River can have some very good early season fishing.
“When the smelt start to run, the salmon and lake trout really start to feed, but it looks like we are probably about two weeks from the smelts running there,” said Obrey.
Some anglers are trying lakes and ponds where the ice along the shoreline has receded enough to cast. Obrey expects waters in the southern part of his region to lose their ice by the end of next week.
As for Moosehead?
“Historically, ice out on Moosehead is the first week of May. For the last 20 years, it has been a little earlier,” said Obrey. “This year, it looks like we are on schedule for May.”
Region F – Penobscot Region
Not a lot of open water in the Penobscot region but there is some.
“I just heard from one angler that made it in to West Lake, but there is not much open in our region,” said Nels Kramer, IFW Fisheries Biologist.
Rivers are open, but water flows are mostly unfishable. However, once some seasonal weather returns, waters should begin to open up.
“Cold Stream Pond should go out sometime between April 22 and 28. Anglers had a good ice fishing season on Cold Stream, and it is always a very popular early season fishery,” said Kramer. Creel Surveys conducted this winter revealed a number of salmon caught in the 20-23 inch range.
“Ice is beginning to pull away on our lakes, but it still may some time until it’s gone,” added Kramer.
Region G – Aroostook Region
Up in the Fish River region of Aroostook County, not much to report other it snowed earlier in the week, and there were snowmobilers out on Long Lake last weekend.
“There’s really not much fishing other than a handful of small ponds. There’s still a fair amount of snow in the woods,” said Frank Frost. “In the eastern part of the county, there’s very little snow in the fields, but there is still a good 20 inches of ice.”
Ice outs in the Fish River chain of lakes is generally somewhere in the range of May 6 to the 10th.
“That is the normal range historically, but it has been earlier the past ten to fifteen years,” said Frost. Cross lake is usually the first to open up, followed by Portage, then Eagle, and Long Lake is the last.