Old News Archive

September 5, 2006 - Fishing Report

September 05, 2006 - TRC

Region A- Southwestern Maine

The last six weeks of summer is a special time for me personally as a biologist and also no doubt for others within the Department. We in the Sebago Lake Region spend much of this temperate and nearly bug free time of year wading in streams sampling fish with a backpack electrofishing unit. This battery-powered machine sends an electrical current through the water and briefly stuns fish in the immediate area. This technique generally does no harm to the fish and is a great way for biologists to quickly sample the fish present within a section of stream. We get to see fish from ½ inch long minnows to the biggest of brook trout and salmon present.

This season we are focusing on closing the gaps in our knowledge of the status of brook trout populations in streams within the region. Most streams visible on a map have already been sampled, but in conjunction with a multi-state effort to catalogue the current range of brook trout in eastern streams (Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture) we continue to strive to complete the unsampled portions of the Region.

While it is still early in the stream electrofishing season we have already made some interesting observations. An increase in the number of young salmon present in the Crooked River in Albany was detected while doing our annual sampling of spawning tributaries utilized by Sebago Lake salmon. This is yet another indication of a recovering salmon population in Sebago Lake! We also found a number of very happy looking salmon parr while sampling Mutiny Brook in Waterford. This unexpected indication of successful spawning of salmon from Bear Pond in Waterford was a welcome bonus.

One thing our electrofishing trips are telling us is that there are still plenty of fish to be found in Region A streams! Higher than normal flows, beautiful weather, and plenty of wild brook trout can still make for some great late summer stream fishing. If streams aren’t your thing, late summer can yield some excellent trout and salmon fishing. Our seasonal fisheries assistant Greg Massey has reported some excellent fishing for rainbow trout and brown trout on Middle Range Pond in Poland. The key is to get your bait or hardware down to where salmonids are holding in the cool well oxygenated deeper water. Greg seems to be having good luck trolling 20-25 feet deep. Good luck with your fishing activities!

-Brian Lewis, Fisheries Biologist Specialist

Region B - Central Maine

Now that summer is officially over, its time to get ready for winter, words nobody wants to read. Although summer is over there is still time for some great fishing, I know many people that live for fall fishing. What's not to like? The weather is excellent, the leaves are turning colors and trout are at their prettiest when spawning. As water temperatures cool, the coldwater species will again be in the feeding mode to prepare for the rigors of spawning. Soon trout and salmon in lakes and ponds will move towards flowing waters in an attempt to spawn. Unfortunately, in central Maine the habitat is severely limited and although trout go through normal spawning activities, very few offspring will result from these natural spawnings. Even though there is little survival, we continue to maintain good fisheries through annual stockings in many waters. For those interested in fishing, one of the better areas to try is below the dam in the Village of Belgrade at Long Pond, where salmon and brown trout can be numerous at this time of year. We also regularly receive reports of large fish being caught, with a few anglers surprised when the fish they hooked turns out to be a northern pike.

River fishing is also very popular and productive this time of year. Portions of the Kennebec and St. George Rivers are opened year-round for those hardy souls. Some of the brown trout stocked in these rivers migrate into the tidal basin during the summer then return to spawn in the fall. We've heard reports of people duck hunting in the morning, then fishing in the afternoon in these lower stretches and having success in both sports. Another river you might want to explore is the lower section of the Medomak; this river is open until the end of October.

Warmwater anglers should also be happy at this time of year. The warmwater species get in the feeding mode, bulking-up to survive the long winter when their metabolism slows and they generally go off the "feed". As the waters cool, bass tend to move from the deeper water towards the shoreline where fishing tends to be easier. Anglers should begin the fall season in the northwest part of the region and move southeast to extend fishing into the late fall. Great Moose Pond and Big Indian Lake near Hartland would be good places to start then moving through the Augusta area to lakes like Cobbossee or Annabessacook ending along the coast at maybe Damariscotta Lake. I spoke with one party of anglers late last year that love fishing for white perch in the fall, maybe that's something you will want to try.

-Jim Lucas, Assistant Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region C - Downeast

Soon after the Machias Blueberry Festival and the Blue Hill Fair, many folks in Downeast Maine start preparing for Old Man Winter to make his return. Ice scrapers are pulled from the trunks of cars, winter boots are taken out of the closet, and plow gear is installed onto pick up trucks. This may be a slight exaggeration, but many fishermen begin to feel that open water fishing opportunities are winding down for the year. However, the dedicated and adventurous can still plan and experience exciting fishing trips before the end of the season.

For example, my fiancée and I, along with some close friends, just returned from a Labor Day weekend camping/fishing trip to Rocky Lake in Washington County’s T18 ED. The Maine Department of Conservation maintains over 10,000 acres of land comprising the Rocky Lake Unit. This unit is just one of the many Public Reserved Lands that provides an area for outdoors lovers to hunt, fish, picnic, boat, and camp within the boundaries of the unit, many times at no cost. Rocky Lake has multiple camp sites that can be accessed by vehicle and a few that can only be accessed by boat.

This time of year can be a great time for camping and fishing in Maine. The nights are cool and comfortable for sleeping, the days are still warm enough for brave souls to go for a swim, and in some locations the leaves are just beginning to change color.

The fall fishing opportunities at Rocky Lake can be very attractive for beginners and experienced anglers alike. Rocky Lake provides warm water fisheries for largemouth and smallmouth bass, chain pickerel, and white perch. This time of year the best fishing times are early morning, late afternoon and evening, as many bass are cruising the shorelines looking for prey.

One friend of ours had not been fishing since she was very young, but decided that she wanted to give it another chance this weekend. After purchasing a license Friday morning and borrowing some of my old fishing gear, she was ready to go. In order to give her an enjoyable experience I set her up with a top water bass lure and paddled to the nearest weedy cove. After only a few casting instructions, she was dropping a Tiny Torpedo within inches of the weed beds. Fishing with top water lures can be extremely exciting and really gives you a rush of adrenaline the first time you see that massive splash and feel that tug on your line. As soon as our friend boated her first fish, a nice 12” largemouth, she became hooked. By the time the end of the weekend came around, she was determined to go out for one last chance at catching a fish even though a rainstorm was looming on the horizon. Throughout the weekend we targeted bass and pickerel along the weedy shorelines that provided lots of great fishing for 12” to 16” bass and 12” to 22” pickerel. Another great species to target this time of year is white perch. If you locate a school of feeding perch in the deeper waters, be prepared to give your reel a workout, as the action can be fast and furious.

If a trip like this one is something that interests you, a great deal of information can be found at the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands web site: (http://www.maine.gov/doc/parks/index.html). This site provides information about the public reserved lands and even has a search page that allows you to find lands in the state based on certain search criteria. Also, I recommend that you contact the Bureau of Parks and Lands directly to help you plan your trip. The folks at the regional offices can help you select the location you wish to visit. Some campsites require a reservation before you can stay or a fire permit to be issued before you can have a campfire. The Downeast Regional Office in Old Town can be reached at (207) 827-1818. Be sure that you are well prepared for your trip since many of these public campsites are in remote locations and are not staffed by state employees. So, be certain that you plan your trip at a location that is within your abilities.

Remember, there are still plenty of great fishing opportunities in September and October if you’re still feeling the itch to get out on the water. Many waters have an extended fall season, listed in the Open Water lawbook as S-23 for October fishing and as S-24 for October and November fishing.

Lastly, on behalf of Greg Burr, Fisheries Biologist Specialist, and myself we would like to congratulate Rick Jordan on his promotion to the position of Regional Biologist here in Region C. Rick has decades of experience and we are fortunate to have him at the helm of this region’s fisheries management. Great job Rick!

-Joe Overlock, Fisheries Aide

Region D - Western Mountains

I spent part of the holiday weekend fishing a small largemouth bass pond in Livermore Falls. Turner Pond doesn’t have many large fish, but the abundance of bass between five and eight inches in length is incredible. A fish hit the fire-tiger floating Rapala almost every time it touched the water. The lure only needed to be dropped over the side of the boat and two or three small bass fought over it. This kind of action is fun for any angler, but younger ones have the best time. Other area ponds with largemouth bass fisheries include Norcross and Sand Ponds in Chesterville and Wesserunsett Lake in Madison.

For the more adventurous angler, high elevation ponds are great options for brook trout this time of year. The nighttime temperatures are lower in the mountains, so water temperatures cool faster and trout become active. A few places to try are Speck Pond in Grafton Twp., Tumbledown Pond in Township 6 North of Weld, The Horns Pond in Wyman Twp., and Mountain Dimmick Pond in Caratunk. Well-established trails lead to each pond and each is annually stocked with brook trout to provide a fishery.

Last week a new pond was added to the regional lakes and ponds inventory. Redmond Pond in Lower Enchanted Twp., Somerset County, was officially surveyed for the first time. It is a pretty little 14-acre, 5-foot deep pond with a ledge shoreline and soft muddy bottom. However, fishing there would be a waste of time, as the pond is currently too warm for trout and the only minnows are present. It’s likely there are a few brook trout present in the outlet, which flows into Stony Brook, and so trout may enter the pond seasonally when water temperatures are cool enough.

-Dave Howatt, Fisheries Biologist Specialist

Region E - Moosehead Region

The summer doldrums are officially over as the month of September brings some of the year’s best fishing. We’ve already had some cool weather over the past two weeks and next week’s forecast calls for another drop in temperatures. This will certainly turn on the trout and salmon fishing in the region. We have been blessed with water this summer so anglers can expect good flows in rivers below impoundments

We have already initiated the fall release of water at the dam on the Roach River. There is currently 150 cfs in the river, which is ideal for wading and fishing. We anticipate further increases in flow as the month progresses. You can get up-to-date flows on the Roach River by going to http://www.flyfishinginmaine.com/streamflow/ .

Fisheries staff recently met with local hydro operators to develop a plan for fall flows on several rivers. Anglers can expect a flow of around 2400 cfs on the East Outlet in September. This is a good flow for wading the section above the railroad trestle and very good for the drift boaters that utilize the lower stretches of the river.

Flows will be 900 cfs on the West Branch below Seboomook Lake through Oct 2nd. This is a terrific flow for boating and fishing in the “Foxhole”. The higher flow was extended to Monday to allow those anglers camping to exit the river after the extra day of fishing on Oct 1. The flow will drop to 600 cfs soon after, so beware! It will be a bony ride upstream with all your camping gear later in the week.

All of these flows are projected as of late August and based on current lake elevations and typical rainfall. Mother Nature may veto these arrangements at any time.

The Greenville Staff will be very busy over the next two months as we take advantage of the cooler weather and the onset of spawning to sample many of our coldwater fisheries. We have plans to net several wild trout ponds, a few salmon lakes, and a splake water or two. Starting next week we will begin an intensive study of wild brook trout in the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. The study will focus on trout movement, population dynamics, and locating spawning and over-winter refuge areas. This study is possible because of support and cooperation from The Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, Flyfishinginmaine.com, and the Allagash Wilderness Waterway staff. We appreciate their assistance in managing the finest wild brook trout resources in the East.

-Tim Obrey, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region F, Penobscot Region

As fall approaches and we look back at the past summer, we always seen to wonder "where did summer go?" It seemed as if at first we would have some very hot days and nights, then the skies would open up and, wow, did it ever rain. This was the second summer in a row that the Penobscot Region had above normal rainfall. This was great news for Maine's coldwater fish --the water temps stayed fairly cool and the water levels remained high for most of the summer -- except some of the major rain events pushed the rivers and stream over their banks to almost flood stage at times. Despite that, we had and continue to get, great reports from our brook and river anglers. As the trout and salmon become more active as spawning season arrives, we are expecting some great fall fishing.

I am sorry to announce that for the fourth year in a row we have another illegal stocked species. Largemouth bass have been confirmed in South Branch Lake in Seboeis. Smallmouth bass were also confirmed this summer in Upper Jo Mary. Several anglers kept the fish and notified us so we could document them. Brown bullheads (hornpout) were reported in Cedar Lake. We have also received reports of pike being caught in the Penobscot River up as far as the Howland dam. However, these fish have not been confirmed. In 2005, we confirmed smallmouth bass in Silver Lake in Lee and largemouth bass were reported in Ebemee Lake. In 2004, Regional personnel confirmed reports of largemouth bass in the Penobscot River around Lincoln. We also found several trout waters with new minnow species in them. In 2003, pike were confirmed in Pushaw Lake. The Penobscot region is only one out of seven regions. The other six regions can tell similar stories. I do not believe the parties responsible for these introductions understand how devastating their acts are or what fines go with them. If you have any information on any illegal fish introduction please contact your local game warden or call Operation Game Thief at 1-800-ALERT US (253-7887).

Next week here at Cobb Fish Hatchery in Enfield, we will be marking a total of 130,000 fish to be stocked out this fall and next spring. With the help of Cobb Hatcheries dedicated staff and along with the help of a group of excellent clippers from around the area, the task will be completed in just 5 days. We will clip (remove) a fin from 25,000 splake and 105,000 brook trout. We mark these fish so that they can be identified by the angler and fishery personnel as hatchery fish. This mark will also aide in aging the stocked fish. This assists us in management decisions on individual waters.

Get out and enjoy the great fall weather!

-Brian Campbell, Fisheries Biologist Specialist

Region G - Aroostook County

Some reports from small trout ponds in the area show excellent fishing with trout venturing into shallow water for short periods of feeding. Various methods will work this time of year, including casting or trolling natural baits or use of artificial lures and flies, either by casting or trolling. Many anglers prefer this time of year for surface fishing with wet or dry flies where trout and salmon sometimes readily strike when conditions are right. For this type of fishing select brightly colored (red, orange) patterns that will oftentimes yield heavy strikes by overly aggressive fish. In northern Maine, conditions look perfect for some excellent fall fishing and many lakes and ponds remain open through October (check lawbook for the S-23 special regulation).

Want a quick trip close to home in the early morning or evening? Many trout waters exist close to population centers in Aroostook County that are easily accessible and can yield some great fishing action. Try these: Meduxnekeag River (Houlton, Littleton), Logan Lake (Houlton), Conroy Lake (Monticello), Echo Lake (Presque Isle), Aroostook River (Presque Isle, Caribou, Fort Fairfield), Little Madawaska River (Caribou, Connor Twp.), Monson Pond (Fort Fairfield), Black Lake (Fort Kent), Fish River (Wallagrass, Fort Kent), Wallagrass Lakes (St. John Plt.), and Hunnewell Lake (St. John Plt.). Fishing regulations vary on these and other waters, but offer the range of general law fishing to more restrictive regulations intended to maintain fishing quality - check the lawbook or call the regional office for information.

-Dave Basley, Regional Fisheries Biologist

For More Outdoor Information, and Sporting Licenses 24 Hours A Day, 7 Days A Week, Please Visit www.mefishwildlife.com
For More Information, Please Contact:
Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
284 State Street
41 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333

Submitted by Mark Latti, IFW

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