Old News Archive

July 5, 2006 - Fishing Report

July 05, 2006 - TRC

Region A- Southwestern Maine

The heat of summer is upon us and our minds turn to thoughts of changing our fishing tackle to all warm water gear. Summer outings catching those eager to bite bass, perch, and even those pesky invasive black crappie is great family fun. There is nothing quite like seeing a kid worming a school of sunfish !

But wait, the trout and salmon are still biting! This season’s plentiful rains have kept river flows high and as reports have it, are attracting salmon to some lake inlets. The Songo Locks at Sebago Lake and the causeway near Thompson Lake Marina have recently produced a number of landlocks. Region A’s seasonal fishery assistant Greg Massey also reports that the Little Androscoggin River is finally giving up some Brown trout and Rainbow trout. These opportunities are of limited duration so go get em !

While hot, calm weather can mean great summer outings with friends and family it can also lead to localized areas of oxygen depletion within some lakes which can lead to summer fish kills if fish are already stressed from spawning or possess other bacterial diseases. These events generally occur is association with hot stagnant weather and with a lack of wind, which limits water circulation within a pond. Increased biological activity (the natural decomposition of dead aquatic plants and animals) under these conditions can temporarily deplete life-sustaining oxygen in localized areas of the pond. The victims can be coldwater species such as trout or even shallow dwelling schooling species such as perch and sunfish, which swim into the shallow area and perish from the oxygen deficiency. The oxygen depletion described above is of very limited duration and occurs in only a small portion of the affected lake or pond. This kind of fish kill is not indicative of a major fish or human health problem within the lake. We do however, like to be sure of the cause of death in these cases and we encourage folks who witness a fish kill to contact us at 657-2345. If we can obtain a freshly killed specimen, we can have the fish pathology lab do some work to confirm the cause of the fish kill.

Brian Lewis, Fisheries Biologist Specialist

Region B - Central Maine

As we approach the "Dog Days," defined in Webster's Dictionary as: 1: the period between early July and early September when hot, sultry weather of summer usually occurs in the northern hemisphere, or; 2: a period of stagnation or inactivity; anglers may experience the same inactivity with fish in central Maine waters. However, they should not be discouraged since many anglers are reporting good summer catches. Many anglers have adapted to the change in fish behavior by trying different techniques. Seek out fish in their summertime haunts such as deeper water, spring holes, or extra cover.

Trout and salmon will be found in approximately 25 to 30 feet of water as long as the water temperatures and dissolved oxygen content are adequate. Maranacook Lake is still giving up some 2 to 3 pound brown trout as are Damariscotta, Cochnewagon, Cobbossee, Pemaquid, China, and Megunticook. The traditional salmon waters will also provide action resulting from previous stockings of what are now two or three year old fish. Parker, Echo, Swan, St. George, and Wassookeag have been reporting fish in the 2 to 3 pound range. Lake trout are still available at even deeper waters such as Echo, Maranacook, Sheepscot, Swan, and Wassookeag. Brook trout may still be available at waters we stocked with spring yearlings at places like Long, Maranacook, Echo, Swan, St. George, and Wassookeag. Last year, an angler reported catching brookies all summer from several of those waters, so do not overlook the extended availability of Maine's' most sought after fish. This year may really be a boon to those who seek brookies in this region because of the type of brook trout we are now stocking comes from a cross between the trout from Kennebago River in Rangeley and the long standing Maine Hatchery strain. These fish have appeared to withstand the rigors of residing in Central Maine waters with better survival and growth.

Warmwater species are all in their glory at this time of year. Bass have moved off shore to deeper water in the areas that provide cover and available food. Try fishing the "break", that area where a steep drop off occurs from the shallow to the deep hole. These areas hold all sort of fish species as they forage and move to different areas of the lake or pond. Use unweighted plastic grubs or worms that will slowly sink to the bottom. Twitching the lure will entice the lunker to strike, so be ready. I could name just about any water in the region to give an angler some action. Look at the law book and the Gazetteer and pick a water close to home and you will have an excursion that can be as memorable as you can make it.

I will end with a quote from my perpetual calendar: "Just think how much deeper the ocean would be if sponges didn't live there." Therefore in our freshwater environs, which also have sponges although not as elaborate as in the ocean, would we see more water lapping at our camp doors if they did not live there?

Bill Woodward, Assistant Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region C - Downeast

Summer fishing offers a myriad of sideshow opportunities to make a variety of memories, whether the fishing is fast or slow. Fishing is only a part of the day’s activities, but having fun and relaxing should rule the day.

Of course, you’ll take your regular selection of fishing gear, but now that the water is warm, a mid-day swim provides a refreshing break that wasn’t possible during the cold-water season of ice-out trolling for salmon and togue. Take your mask, fins, and snorkel so you can swim with the fish and see what they are doing; You will locate some new hotspots this way, especially for bass. And if the summer heat has dulled your appetite for lunch, the swim is guaranteed to bring it back.

Lunch doesn’t need to be just a sandwich and a soda. Take the camping stove or get a fire permit for an authorized site and cook yourself a hot shore lunch. The typical shore lunches cooked by Maine Guides provide a great example of a delicious and memorable meal. They usually include either boiled or fried potatoes and onions plus either steak, chicken, or pork chops broiled on a rack next to the fire. A pot of boiled “guide’s coffee” completes the meal. Spend an hour or two eating, laughing, and telling stories that grow better every time they are told. You’ll be amazed at your attitude when you head back out for the afternoon’s fishing. Remember, there is more to fishing than just fishing!

Some anglers are intense at their sport, while others are mellow. Whichever category you fit, keep your eyes open because this is the time of year you may see a fledgling eagle take one of its first flights on uncertain wings as it ventures away from the nest and learns to catch fish for itself. Broods of ducklings and goslings still follow “Mom” around as they have just a short summer to learn to be independent. And turtles soak up the sun while crawled out on a boulder or a log to a deep chorus of bullfrogs or the loud “gulp” of green frogs. Don’t miss the sights of nature all around you!

If the fishing is slow, try a change in tactics. The fish may be in shallower water chasing dragonflies or baitfish, or if not there, try the deeper water. We have already found good concentrations of post-spawn bass inhabiting 25-30 feet of water this past week. If you’ve tried artificial lures without much luck, maybe you need to make an innovative search for bait – either minnows, frogs, worms, or crayfish. This can be somewhat of a challenge if you didn’t plan on using bait, but that’s what makes the trip interesting and makes you a more versatile angler.

Be prepared to try fishing for each major sportfish species in the lake, from salmon and togue to bass, perch, and pickerel. Some anglers like to see how many different species they can catch on their fishing trips.

And don’t forget the evening hours when fish that have spent the day offshore in deeper water move into the shallows to feed. Our recent nights using the Department’s electrofishing boat have shown a big increase in bass, white perch, and a few salmon mixed in along the shores once the sun sinks low and darkness settles on the lake.

Remember, you need to create enough memories in the summer to get you through the long Maine winters. Introduce someone new to fishing. They’ll love it, and you’ll enjoy helping them start out with some tips to do it right.

Rick Jordan, Acting Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region D - Western Mountains

A number of fishing regulation change proposals will be heard at public hearings throughout the state the week of July 10. One of these hearings will be held at Rangeley High School at 6:30 PM, July 11. For western Maine alone, there about 60 changes. Many of these changes are minor, and merely place existing regulations into a relatively small number of categories, intended as simplification to make the lawbook a bit more user friendly.

Some regulations, however, are sure to generate discussion. For example we are proposing to impose more restrictive regulations on Cold Stream, West Forks Plt, South Bog Stream, Rangeley Plt., and Bemis Stream, Township D. In addition to other changes, all would be changed to catch and release afer August 15 (Cold Stream downstream of the Capitol Road bridge only) to protect pre-spawning populations of brook trout. We are also proposing that the general law bag limit for brook trout in lakes and ponds be reduced from 5 to 2 fish, as it is in southern Maine counties (the majority of Franklin County lakes already have special 2-trout limits, so this would be a lawbook simplification; some waters with slow-growing trout would remain at 5 fish as special regulations).

We are also recommending that the tributaries to the Richardson Lakes be closed to the dipping of smelts. Salmon growth has been poor in the Richardsons for a number of years due to a lack of smelts despite reductions in the salmon stocking rate. We suspended salmon stocking altogether in 2006 due to poor growth rates.

Other changes of interest include extended fall seasons for the Carrabassett and Sandy Rivers in anticipation of fall stockings of brook trout (thanks to the newly-renovated and expanded Embden Rearing Station). We are also proposing that two waters (Toothaker Pond in Phillips and Tibbetts Pond in Concord) be opened to ice fishing for kids only; these waters are stocked with brook trout.

Forrest Bonney, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region E - Moosehead Region

Early July is the time to get out and enjoy one of the best hatches in Maine: the Hex hatch. These mega-mayflies usually hatch around the 4th of July and fish love them. I’ve caught brook trout, salmon, and even lake trout on dry flies during the Hex hatch. The trick is to find a pond that has the hatch and stay late, since the peak of the hatch generally occurs right at dark. The hatch seems to be a few days later than normal this year on waters I have fished and the windy, rainy conditions we’ve experienced recently have hampered the evening casting. The weather forecast for the remainder of the week looks good so get out and give it a try.

Reports from anglers indicate good fishing on the major rivers in the Moosehead Lake Region. The heavy rains have subsided and the flows are more typical and fishable. The East Outlet has been producing very good salmon fishing. Anglers are catching some quality salmon in the river and in the big lake this summer. Brook trout are also showing up in good numbers in the East Outlet. The stonefly and caddis hatches are in full-swing.

On Sunday, Bob Gudroe, one of our long-time record keepers at Center Pond in Sangerville called to report is wife had just caught a bass off their dock. Bob was kind enough to drop it off at my house that evening. The largemouth bass was 14.5 inches long. This is the first confirmed report of bass in this pond. Center Pond is fairly shallow and contains other warmwater species such as pickerel, yellow perch, and a good white perch fishery. In addition to the warmwater fishery, the pond is stocked annually with brown trout. It is tough to fish in the summer due to the dense aquatic vegetation. It is one of the headwater ponds for Sebasticook River, which already contains both largemouth and smallmouth bass.

Tim Obrey, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region F, Penobscot Region

Anglers visiting the region this holiday weekend just may think it's Memorial Day and not the 4th of July! Rivers, streams and brooks are once again running high. Lake water levels are at record elevations as well for this time of the year.

In the last few weeks we have received two unconfirmed reports of northern pike being caught in the Penobscot River! This is not good news, but we have been expecting it. Until now, all of the pike reported have been from Pushaw Lake, but it was only a matter of time before they made their way to the river. We are working with all State and Federal Agencies to make sure pike cannot move further up through the Penobscot Drainage, but this is going to be a continuing challenge. Again, the Penobscot River Watershed will be changed FOREVER! If anyone has any information relative to the illegal introduction of pike into Pushaw Lake, please call OPERATION GAME THIEF at 1-800-253-7887. A minimum reward of $2,000 is offered for the apprehension of the person or persons responsible for this illegal introduction.

There are some rather exciting angling opportunities throughout the region, with anglers reporting excellent fishing for brook trout in many of our Baxter Park waters the last few weeks. Reports of numerous brook trout in the 4 pound category have made their way to the office. Green drakes are just starting to appear so the dry flying fishing should start heating up very soon. A number of regional splake waters are still providing some excellent angling opportunities, with anglers at Lower Togue Pond, Endless Lake, Cedar Lake and West Seboeis Lake (not Grand Lake Seboeis) are all reporting good fishing for splake 14 to 20 inches long.

Some of our landlocked salmon waters are holding up very well through this wet and rainy summer. At Cold Stream Pond in Enfield anglers are hooking up with salmon from 3 to 5 pounds in 35 to 45 feet of water. Other salmon lakes of note include East Grand Lake in Weston and Danforth, West Lake in T3ND, Pleasant Lake in Island Falls and Lower Sysladobsis Lake in Lakeville.

Nels Kramer, Assistant Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region G - Aroostook County

Weather in the County has been wet with nearly constant thunderstorms lately. Waterways are much higher than normal. In Eastern Aroostook streams are high and some are chocalate-brown from excessive runoff and erosion. A few days of dry weather will bring these waters down to ideal fishing conditions. Insect hatches are occurring in the backcountry ponds; a report from the Deboullie Pond area last week indicated a great hatch of mayflies in the evening hours with trout feeding heavily.

One of the successful fisheries management programs in Southern Aroostook County has been at the Hodgdon Mill Pond, or Hodgdon Deadwater, located in Hodgdon immediately west of Route 1. The small reservoir can easily be reached on a day trip from Central Maine by traveling I95, Route 2A or Route 1. Access can be found in downtown Hodgdon near the Dairy Bar or off the Horseback Road on the west side of the pond. Three sportfish can be caught at this lightly fished water: brown trout, brook trout, and chain pickerel. The wetland and upland hardwoods that surround the pond are a wildlife management area owned by the Department. In addition to angling, many species of wetland birds can be observed on a scenic canoe ride. During this period of high flow, sportfish may be attracted to the major inlet, South Branch Meduxnekeag River, or Stewart Brook that enters the east side of the pond.

Frank Frost, Assistant 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.