Old News Archive

June 27, 2006 - Fishing Report

June 27, 2006 - TRC

June 27, 2006 - Fishing Report

Region A- Southwestern Maine

Although summer officially kicked off last week, the weather pattern seems to be stuck in "spring" mode. While this may be disappointing for those wanting to do landscaping, gardening, and other outdoor activities, these conditions are particularly beneficial to our coldwater fisheries. The cooler than normal weather and excessive rain has maintained good streams flows and cooler surface temperatures. In addition, many anglers will avoid fishing on gloomy or rainy days, so use can be lighter than normal. We were out on two area lakes (Thomas and Thompson) last week surveying shoreline habitat for future bass surveys and hardly saw a soul on either water.

Salmon and trout fishing activity is slowing down with the onset of summer, but reports of good fishing continue to trickle in. A week or two ago one angler reported a decent day of fishing on Trickey Pond, Naples. This angler landed three splake in the 15-17" range and a 19" salmon all in the same trip. A local warden, Rick Stone, reported an older couple catching a 6.5 pound salmon and a lake trout well over 10 pounds from Auburn Lake last week! While the lake and pond fishing has been decent, anglers have reported tougher stream fishing throughout southern Maine. High flows have made streams difficult for anglers to fish, and high/sporadic flows have likely caused stocked and wild fish to alter their behavior forcing anglers to adapt or go unsuccessful. There's still plenty of trout and salmon out there, but don't forget to change tactics as we move into the summer season!

Bass were also affected by the crazy weather. Early ice out and warmer weather early on lead to an earlier than normal spawning season, particularly for smallmouths. Then came the rain and cool weather, and on several waters we noticed some smallmouths had apparently abandoned their nests and some went through a second spawn. While the spawning season is now over for both smallies and largemouths, we noticed both species doing a lot of cruising last week. Anglers have reported some excellent catches including some monsters, we heard of 2 largemouths being caught a week or two ago in the eight pound class, one from Thompson Lake and the other from Tripp L (both in Poland). While out on Thompson last week we talked to a bass angler that had just lost a beautiful 7 pound largemouth that he caught off one of the numerous underwater stumps in the upper end of the lake. Like trout and salmon, those targeting bass will also have to alter their tactics as the bass change their post spawning behavior and begin to utilize different areas of the lake.

Region A staff has just put together our summer work plans, and as usual it looks like a very busy summer. Just a few highlights of things we'll be working on in next couple months: sampling 6 or more brown trout waters to evaluate size-quality objectives, hydroacoustics smelt sampling on Sebago and Thompson, Sebago Lake lake trout sampling, survey 2 entire watersheds to evaluate wild brook trout streams, sample 2 additional wild brook trout streams as part of statewide wild brook trout monitoring project, sample the Crooked River and other Sebago tributaries to assess wild salmon production, evaluate 2-3 streams for future stocking potential, maintain voluntary creel boxes on 20 waters, oversee angler flight counts on 32 waters, reclaim1 trout pond, and work on various public access projects. We'll keep you posted throughout the season on these and other projects, so stay tuned.

Lastly, we want to inform area anglers about the upcoming rulemaking hearings. These hearings give anglers an opportunity to voice their opinions on planned changes to ice and openwater fishing laws for the 2007 season. For more information on proposed regulation changes and a hearing schedule visit our website, http://www.state.me.us/ifw/lawsrules/proposals.htm. Region A regulation changes will be discussed at the Augusta hearing on July 10th.

James Pellerin, Assistant Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region B - Central Maine

After another drowned spring, summer appears to have arrived with somewhat of a vengeance. We haven’t had much of a transition from cool, wet weather to sweltering wet weather, but there have been some great days mixed in there.

While many feel that the ‘trout window’ is starting to wind down, this office is still receiving reports that many of our area waters are still producing well. Some waters of note are Sheepscot Lake, Lake St. George and Alford Lake.

Bass fishing has picked up considerably too, according to anglers. In addition to the numerous lakes and ponds that support bass fisheries, many of our streams and rivers have some terrific bass fishing too. Try the Kennebec between Waterville and Augusta. Not only has the bass fishing there been pretty decent lately, but the stripers are hitting big time too.

Regulations are one tool that fisheries biologist utilized to manage fisheries. Each year, it is a major task for us to review and propose changes to those regulations to maintain quality angling. In July, the Department will be convening a number of regional hearings to discuss proposed changes to both open water and ice fishing regulations. In the mid-coast area, the hearings will be in Augusta at the Civic Center on July 10, and in Brewer at the Penobscot County Conservation Association on July 12. Both meetings begin at 6:30 PM.

Proposed regulation changes from our Region are mostly housekeeping, however, there are several important changes being proposed. The first is a continuance of the recently expired evaluative regulation involving winter angling for northern pike in Long Pond. At a public meeting held on May 18, there was strong support to continue this opportunity since our data showed that angler were indeed having an impact on pike there.

Several other regulation change proposals include the removal of size and bag restrictions on pike in waters where the have formerly been regulated. Essentially, we are suggesting that current 1 or 2 fish limits with 24” minimum lengths revert to general law. The reason behind this proposal is that in all of the waters listed below, pike have become not just the dominant fishery, but are increasing in numbers greatly, and more importantly, the proposed regulations are consistent with Department goals and objectives. The waters, along with their current regulations, are:

Belgrade Stream, Belgrade; 2 fish, 24” minimum,
Great Pond, Belgrade; 2 fish, 24” minimum,
Little (Little North) Pond, Rome; 1 fish, 24” minimum.
North Pond, Rome, Smithfield, Mercer; 1 fish, 24” minimum,
Messalonskee Lake, Belgrade, Oakland, Sidney; 2 fish, 24” minimum.

Open water and ice fishing regulations currently read similarly for these lakes. No size or bag limits would apply on Long Pond too, as well as all other waters in the region that have had pike illegally stocked.

Robert Van-Riper, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region C - Downeast

As eastern Maine’s water temperatures warm after some windy summer days, trout and salmon anglers who fish the streams are nearing the end of good fishing -coldwater sportfish have mostly headed to cool-water springholes. Anglers who fish lakes and ponds for trout and salmon are still experiencing some good action in the evening as some massive hatches of mayflies and caddisflies bring fish to the surface. Matching the hatch is very important; otherwise, you may experience the frustration of feverishly casting to rising fish that won’t touch what you are casting as the sun goes down and darkness ends your fishing day.

Lake fishing for landlocked salmon and lake trout remains good for those anglers willing to use lead line or downriggers as these coldwater sportfish retreat to cooler waters for the remainder of the season. For many anglers, this is a favorite time of year as the more fish become concentrated in a smaller volume of the lake. Good salmon fishing lakes are West Grand, Cathance Lake, Green Lake, and Beech Hill Pond.

Last week, our Fisheries staff partnered with Domtar’s dam tender, Larry Doyle, to open the fishway and adjust the hydraulic jump at the West Grand Lake Dam for a 48 hour period, followed by a final 5-day closed period, then it will be opened for several weeks to permit the remaining salmon to return to the lake before the onset of warm summer water temperatures. This modification to the fishway was completed 3 years ago by Domtar at our request as a means of allowing landlocked salmon to ascend back to West Grand Lake by either jumping or swimming through a sheet of very quick water flowing over a gate. This same structure is operated to keep other unwanted fish species out of West Grand. Within less than 30 minutes of fishway operation, numerous salmon had made it to the upper pool and were successfully going over the hydraulic jump to return to the cool waters and numerous smelt in the lake.

This week the Downeast Regional Fisheries staff, including summer workers Joe Overlock and Jessie Kuester, will team up with Research Biologists from our Bangor Office to conduct another night-time electrofishing sampling activity. Pleasant Lake in Alexander is the destination as we sample for long-established smallmouth bass and look for illegally introduced largemouth bass, which we have recently observed there.

Electrofishing boats provide an excellent method of live-sampling bass and other species when they come into the shallow shoreline areas to feed. Fish swim to the electrodes that dangle from two arms at the front of the boat. Lights illuminate the area, permitting biologists to dipnet the fish, collect biological data, then release the fish. Information from this sampling activity will permit better understanding and management of eastern Maine’s highly valuable bass populations, which are sustained totally by natural reproduction. In the case of illegal introductions, we can document their presence and also remove those individuals that are captured.

Unfortunately, once a new species has been illegally stocked in a lake, the practical reality of successfully removing all the individuals is about the same as trying to kill off every last mosquito in Maine – you can get some of them, but not all of them. Each new illegal introduction represents a case of serious environmental pollution that can spread throughout the entire watershed. We continue to urge anyone who has information on illegal fish stockings in Maine to call the Maine Warden Service at 1-800-ALERT US. Calls can be kept confidential, and a reward is offered for information on illegal fish introductions.

Rick Jordan, Acting Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region D - Western Mountains

Summer fishing conditions are upon us. Warming water temperatures in lakes and ponds are forcing coldwater fish species to seek cooler thermal refuge. It’s easy for fish to find these conditions in most large lakes by just going deeper. That’s also what anglers have also do to target trout and salmon. Trolling slow using a downrigger or lead-core fishing line is what it takes to get down into the 40 to 60 foot deep water where the fish are suspended.

If you are fishing for brook trout or salmon, the Rangeley area is hard to beat. All the larger lakes contain trout and salmon and have good public access. Lake trout anglers can go to Clearwater Pond in Industry, Embden Pond in Embden, Jim Pond in Jim Pond Twp., or Pleasant Pond in Caratunk to find some good action. Togue anglers that are looking for a quieter atmosphere might try carrying a small boat or canoe into Lincoln Pond in Parkertown Twp. or West Carry Pond in Carrying Place Town Twp. All these ponds are deep and contain large lake trout and a few good brookies too. A sewed-on sucker or a streamer fly and dodger are a couple of good techniques to try using.

For warmwater gamefish, the higher water temperatures are just what they need. Although not common in northwestern Maine, a few ponds have good populations of largemouth bass. The area around the town of Chesterville in Franklin County has the best largemouth waters. Norcross, Sand, Locke, and Crowell Ponds are all excellent places to cast a popper into a weed bed or work a rubber worm along a drop-off. Anglers can expect to catch bass up to five pounds, but a more common size would be closer to just one. Pickerel, perch, and sunfish can also be caught at the same time using similar techniques.

Dave Howatt, Fisheries Biologist Specialist

Region E - Moosehead Region

We are once again, for the second year in a row, experiencing another wet and rainy month of June. River flows have been high. Mayfly and caddis hatches have been off schedule. Now the chance of thunderstorms is a reoccurring evening forecast. If you are planning to fish moving water in the Moosehead Lake Region, it is a good idea to check the river flows before you head north. FPL Energy and Kennebec Water Power Co. have a flow hotline for flow levels on the Kennebec and Androscoggin Rivers at 1-800-557-3569. If you are headed to the West Branch of the Penobscot River, call the Brookfield Power river flow hotline at 1-888-323-4341.

With the 4th of July just around the corner, you can believe that my fly boxes with Green Drake imitations are close by. For those of you that are looking to take advantage of the last of the superlative insect hatches, the 4th of July is when the green drake hatches begin in the Moosehead Lake Region. If you check a pond that you know has a green drake hatch during the day, you can tell if the hatch has begun by the presence or absence of green drake casings floating on the water. On some of the ponds that have good hatches, the drakes don’t begin to come off the water until the sun has disappeared over the horizon, so make sure to bring a flashlight with you on these late night adventures.

The Moosehead Lake Region is looking to complete its fall fingerling stocking evaluations this week. Results from waters sampled already this spring have been encouraging. In July, Regional Staff will begin its electro-fishing sampling. The waters we are planning to look at are Wilson Stream, Monson Stream, Ragged Stream, and the Roach River. These sampling events will be completed to assess wild land-locked salmon populations in these waters.

Also during the month of July we will be taking a look at some of our un-surveyed waters. We are planning to survey three new ponds this summer. Many of the remaining un-surveyed ponds in the Moosehead Lake Region are found in areas where the access is a bushwhack through the dense Maine woods. Recon before heading into the woods to survey these waters is a must. Flagging a trail before the day of the survey helps to ensure a smooth day in the field.

Stephen Seeback, Assistant Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region F, Penobscot Region

Angler success has really picked up this last week here in Region F. We received some excellent reports from anglers throughout the region reporting great fishing for both warmwater and coldwater species.

Baxter Park waters are producing nice catches of brook trout. The green drakes began to hatch last week. Reports are excellent from Nesownadahunk Lake, Daicey, Kidney and Rocky as well as Lower and Upper South Branch Ponds. Other areas around the region producing some nice trout are Little Round in Lincoln, Tomah Lake in T10R3 NBPP, East Musquash in Topsfield, Jo Mary and Cedar Ponds in TB R10 WELS. We also got reports of 16" brook trout being caught in East Grand Lake.

We received reports of some nice catches of plump salmon from West, Duck, Seboeis, East Grand and Pleasant Lake as well as Cold Stream and Pleasant Pond. Streamers and sewn smelts are working great. Salmon fishing on the West Branch of the Penobscot has been good but most of the fish have been smaller than usual although a few 18-20" fish have been reported.

Bass fishing on both lakes and rivers has been very good after getting off to a slow start due to high water and cool temperatures. There is still some bass nesting activity in lakes and ponds in the northern parts of the region. According to warden reports action is very good on the Penobscot and Piscataquis Rivers as well as Dolby Flowage with bass up to 4 lbs. being caught.

White perch fishing has also been very good throughout the region, especially Mattawamkeg, Upper Jo Mary and Nicatous Lakes.

Brian Campbell, Fisheries Biologist Specialist

Region G - Aroostook County

Fisheries staff assisted Region F with smallmouth bass sampling at Seboeis Lake last week. Visiting other regions to assist with their work schedule is an important aspect of our work. We get an appreciation for waters and fisheries resources in various parts of the state that we can compare with our own and also share with the public. This year was no exception.

Seboeis Lake is a very picturesque and relatively undeveloped lake located off Route 11 south of Millinocket in T4R9 NWP, Piscataquis County. Much of the land around the lake is State of Maine Public Reserve Land. The road to the boat landing was well maintained and had recently been brushed back to accommodate vehicle traffic. The launching site was excellent with a concrete plank ramp ending in water of sufficient depth to easily launch our 16 foot boat. Several campsites maintained by the Bureau were available near the boat launch. Other water access only sites were located around the shoreline and on Hammer Island. The two sites on Hammer Island were very clean and equipped with picnic tables and privy. A nice sand beach was available to land boats.

The lake is managed for salmon, splake and smallmouth bass. We, of course, were targeting bass. Size captured ranged from 7-20 inches, the average being near 12 inches. The lakeshore abounds with bass cover in the form of boulders and fallen trees. The numerous coves in the lake allows for surface fishing on calm waters no matter which way the wind may blow. Bass were also located around several of the boulder shoals within the lake.

For those anglers or boaters looking for a different spot to visit, we would certainly recommend a trip to Seboeis Lake. The Bureau of Parks and Lands has done a great job providing for access and camping and the bass fishing is superb compliments of IF&W.

Dave Basley, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Submitted by Mark Latti, IFW

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.