Smelt dippers need to be aware of regulation changesMarch 31, 2006 - TRCAUGUSTA, Maine - Anglers who like to dip for smelts need to be aware of someregulation changes enacted for the spring season. These new laws enacted by the legislature go into effect for the first time this season. The new laws include:*Recreational and commercial anglers are restricted to a 24" diameter dip-net when dipping in or within 100 feet of the mouth of a tributary. Larger diameter nets can still be used in the lake.*Recreational and commercial anglers are not allowed to dip smelts after 2:00 AM.*Recreational anglers are only allowed to keep five-dozen smelt alive for personal bait needs, and the remainder of their daily bag limit must be killed. Commercial dealers can keep their whole 2 quart limit alive for resale.*Commercial smelt dealers are only allowed to dip 2 quarts of smelt during the spring dipping season, 8 quarts harvests are no longer allowed during this time frame.*Commercial dealers are only allowed to use artificial light to attract smelt, the use of food particles can no longer be used.*Commercial smelt dealers must use a commercially manufactured grader with the following specifications: (1) #14 (14/64") minimum grader spacing, and (2) grader must allow smelts to pass through at least 2 sides and the bottom of the grader. Previously this law only applied to drop-netting, but now includes commercial harvests by dip-nets and hook-and-line. *Commercial smelt dealers must report their fishing and catch information to the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Gray Regional Office 358 Shaker Rd Gray, Maine 04039 by May 31st each year.Anglers can dip smelt anglers can dip smelt in waters that are open to this activity as long as the water is naturally free of ice. Anglers have any additional questions or concerns then can feel free to contact the Department.These law changes came about through a review of existing recreational and commercial smelting laws. The primary purpose of these changes was to build more conservation into the department's existing smelt management program, and address any conflicts in the law between recreational and commercial user groups.NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.