Old News Archive

September 21, 2006 - Fishing Report

September 21, 2006 - TRC

Region A- Southwestern Maine

Fall is in the air ! Although its a sure sign winter is looming just around the corner, it’s my favorite time of the year. The crisp, cool air and foliage are invigorating, and really makes you want to get out there and enjoy the Maine outdoors. The season brings about the anticipation of the upcoming hunting seasons and memories of those that have past, but more importantly (for now), it’s a fantastic time to fish for trout and salmon !

As autumn approaches, the surface water of lakes and ponds begins to cool down again, trout and salmon are distributed throughout the water column and will often be found aggressively feeding in relatively shallow water. Larger, mature fish will also be thinking of spawning, and will often be associated with lake inlets, outlets, and/or springs. Most lakes and ponds in the region are open to catch-and-release fishing well into the fall and provide some fantastic opportunities. Thompson Lake (Poland), Moose Pond (Bridgton), Auburn Lake (Auburn), Pleasant Lake (Casco), and Long Lake (Naples) are all good bets for fall salmon. Sabbathday Lake, (New Gloucester) the Range Ponds (Poland), Crystal Lake (Gray), Little Sebago Lake (Windham), Hancock Pond (Denmark), Mousam Lake (Acton), and Square Pond (Acton) are good places to try for a brown and some of these waters may even offer up a rainbow. Auburn Lake and Thompson are the places to go for late season lakers. While Sebago Lake (Raymond) is probably the best bet for lakers, its only open until the end of the month, so you'll need to hurry up and get out there. Many of our small brook trout ponds also have extended seasons until at least the end of October !

Similarly, rivers and streams are also exhibiting cooler water temperatures and not only are resident trout becoming more and more active by the day, but larger fish from lake/pond systems will be moving in to find a suitable spawning area. Fall offers an excellent opportunity for anglers to catch quality and trophy sized fish, particularly on river systems. Some good streams worth hitting in the fall include the Presumpscot and Pleasant Rivers in (Windham), the Saco River (below the dams), the Big Ossipee River (Hiram), the lower Royal R iver(Yarmouth), and tidal sections of the Mousam, Ogunquit, and Salmon Falls Rivers in York County.

Fall fishing offers several other benefits beyond getting you out there to enjoy the foliage and clean air. Trout and salmon are typically in their best condition, and exhibit some beautiful spawning coloration. There is nothing like a colored up brookie with their shades of red, yellow, orange, and blue that rival the foliage itself. Lastly, the hatchery trucks start another round of stocking in the fall, and many of these fall yearling fish are exceptionally large at 12-14+ inches in length. "Trophy" sized brood fish are also scattered throughout the region at this time. The bottom line, fall anglers get the first crack at all of these beautiful trout and salmon! Get out there soon, because not only is it the best season it also always seems far too short !

James Pellerin, Assistant Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region B - Central Maine

Sebasticook Lake (Newport) is in the process of it annual water withdrawal. Water is released every year from the lake down through the outlet, in an attempt to flush phosphorus from the lake. This huge amount of water released triggers juvenile alewive’s desire to migrate back down the Sebasticook River into the Kennebec River and out to the Gulf of Maine.

The migration of this juvenile baitfish can produce some great fishing opportunities during their journey back to the Atlantic. All dams between the Sebasticook Lake Dam and the Ft. Halifax Dam in Winslow are great places to try your luck for some larger than usual smallmouth bass. The bass have a tendency to concentrate below the dams or rapids in small eddies or pools waiting to ambush easy prey. Soft baits, and crank baits that resemble small baitfish work well with a twitching retrieve along the surface. Fish these baits or lures as though they are wounded or disorientated from the rapids or faster currents of the river. While you are fishing take notice where the seagulls are concentrated and working for the same baitfish, make some casts within the birds vicinity, but keep in mind that they would also love an easy meal. Below Ft. Halifax you may be angling for more than just smallmouth bass, striped bass will also concentrate below the dam particularly as the water begins to cool.

Salmonid anglers are now finding that the cooling trends of the fall are producing some better fishing opportunities for trout. Rainbows are now showing up in the Kennebec River in Fairfield. Cobbosseecontee Stream in Manchester, the St. George River in Searsmont and Appleton, along with the Nezinscot River in Turner are producing some good brown trout fishing.

Scott Davis, Fisheries Biologist Specialist

Region C - Downeast

There is no shortage of fieldwork this fall to keep fisheries staff members busy in the Downeast Region. There are always new streams to be surveyed, fish populations to be evaluated, hydroacoustics sampling for smelts, and of course, the many hours of office and responding to public inquiries.

This week staff members conducted an evaluation of one of the small brook trout ponds that is well off the beaten path. Ducktail Pond in Amherst (Hancock County) is a 26-acre pond located just north of Route 9, also referred to as the “Airline.” You can access the pond via two-wheel drive vehicle by traveling 1.8 miles up the 22-00-0 Road. From the small parking area you can reach the pond on foot by an enjoyable hike of about 1 mile. The current regulations in effect at Ducktail Pond are artificial lures only (S-6 in the lawbook) and one trout, minimum length 18 inches (S-18 in the lawbook.) An annual stocking of fall fingerling brook trout began in 2004. The purpose of this week’s fieldwork was to evaluate the age and condition those fish.

Staff members carried in all of the necessary sampling gear on foot, including a small rubber raft. Once it was inflated, the raft proved to be a very cozy and effective workstation for the two staff members, although a big change from the 16-foot boat we normally work from in the field. Some brightly colored brookies were sampled. Two size classes of fish were observed with four fish falling between 13.5 and 15 inches and the rest between 9.5 and 12 inches. The results of the survey were very pleasing and provided a wealth of information. The brook trout in Ducktail Pond will continue to be monitored, as more time is needed to allow these fish to grow to their full potential.

October marks the beginning of a busy fall trapnetting season for Region C. Trapnetting is an effective way of obtaining a sample of fish from a lake or pond. The net is attached to the shoreline, usually in association with a point or other natural feature that will help guide the fish into the net. The other end is stretched out where there are two “wings” on each side that guide the fish into the “box” that holds the fish. Fisheries staff check the nets regularly to evaluate age, growth, condition, information on sexual maturity, and year class strengths. If a fish is present, it is dipped out of the net and the length and weight is determined. Also, the fish is examined to see if any fins have been clipped to determine the age of the fish. If no fins are clipped then a sample of scales will be taken so the fish can be aged in the lab. After all of the useful information is collected the fish is released to grow larger and provide an angler with some excitement.

This fall’s trapnetting sites are as follows for Land Locked Salmon: Cathance Lake (No. 14 Plt.), Long Pond (Mount Desert), Alligator Lake (T34 MD), Tunk Lake (T10 SD), Molasses Pond (Eastbrook), West Grand Lake (Grand Lake Stream), and Beech Hill Pond (Otis) for Salmon and Lake Trout.

If time allows the following waters will be netted for Brown Trout: Flanders Pond (Sullivan) and Spectacle Pond (Osborn Plt.)

Take advantage of those beautiful fall days while we have them, as time slips by so fast !

Joe Overlock, Fisheries Aid

Region D - Western Mountains

Access for anglers and boaters continues to improve on the Androscoggin River with the recent completion of a full service launch in Canton. The site is located just of Route 140 on the Dorey Road and features a single lane, 12-foot wide paved ramp with parking for about 25 rigs, as well as one handicapped parking space located adjacent to the ramp. This facility provides access for small motorboats, canoes, and kayaks to the 7.3 mile long, 578-acre impoundment formed by the Riley Dam in Jay, and complements two upstream launches in Mexico and at Harvey Brook in Canton. The Riley Impoundment supports one of Maine's most outstanding smallmouth bass fisheries, and it's in a beautiful setting with a largely wooded and undeveloped shoreline. The Androscoggin upstream to Rumford Falls also supports a fine bass population, with the added bonus of brown trout and the occasional rainbow.

Last Saturday our hatchery staff welcomed the public to view the refurbished Embden Rearing Station. Tours of the new rearing tanks, temperature control and flow units, and water treatment facility were provided, and spectators got a chance to observe our pathologists conduct a fish quality inspection. There was a casting contest for children, a fish ID station, and local Trout Unlimited volunteers provided fly-tying lessons. With about 350,000 brook trout, salmon, splake, and brown trout already on hand at the Embden facility, local anglers will experience several new fishing opportunities this fall and next winter. In support of new fall fishing initiatives, we'll soon be stocking large fall yearling brookies, browns, and salmon in several local rivers, including the Androscoggin River at Gilead, Bethel, and Rumford Falls (brookies, browns, salmon), the Sandy River from Phillips to Starks (brookies and browns), the Kennebec River below Madison (brookies and salmon), he South Branch of Dead River (brookies), and the Dead River below Flagstaff Lake (salmon). We'll report on our fall yearling stockings for ice anglers as the winter season approaches. In the meantime, get out and enjoy the great fall weather while river fishing for these 12 to 15-inch beauties.

-Dave Boucher, Assistant Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region E - Moosehead Region

The Greenville staff is gearing up for another busy fall of trapnetting to evaluate wild brook trout on three waters and to continue to monitor landlocked salmon abundance and condition on Moosehead Lake and First Roach Pond.

Although the calendar shows that there are three more months left in the year, this is the last fishing report until the first of January when we will be kicking off another winter season of ice conditions and hot spots to fish. We thought it would be interesting to write a piece that reflected on just a few of the more interesting and rewarding projects we took part in this past year. A year in review so to speak.

Last winter we were fortunate to have two Unity College students (Albert Hall and Eric Rudolph) assist us in collecting creel census data on Moosehead and Chesuncook Lakes. The guys did a great job. The work we conducted on the two lakes mentioned above as well as Sebec Lake yielded some very nice salmon, trout, and togue. It seemed that when we weren’t on our snowmobiles we were in the air, as we made a couple of flights during the winter trying to keep tabs on the lake trout and brook trout that we had tagged last fall. Something revisited this past winter was our attempt at evaluating smelt drift in the West Branch of the Penobscot River below Ripogenous Dam. With the assistance from Brookfield Power biologist Kevin Bernier, we were able to place drift nets in the river on three occasions, during late December and January, until high flows “washed” us out. The three sampling events that we were able to complete yielded some smelts of various year classes in the river. We hope to conduct more sampling in the future to further evaluate smelts in the West Branch system.

With the arrival of spring and snow melt we were once again busy tending the First Roach dam to manage the water level in First Roach Pond and flows into the Roach River. Immediately following ice out, we were busy trapnetting a couple of brook trout waters. In May with the cooperation of Brookfield Power and Florida Power and Light, we initiated a radio-telemetry study on the Moose River that has provided some valuable and interesting information on the movements of trout and salmon in the river. A highlight every spring is the Kids Fishing Day’s that are put on by local organizations. This year we were able to attend the Kids Fishing Day put on by the Greenville Recreation Department, at the Gravel Pit Pond in Greenville Jct. The event was very well attended and by the laughter and smiling faces the youngsters appeared to have had a good time. We also conducted some gillnet sampling to evaluate one of our splake waters. We were very pleased at the results as splake up to 19 ½ inches and 3 ½ lbs. were collected.

The Greenville staff has had a busy summer to say the least. We spent a considerable amount of time in the field, which involved evaluating five of our stocked brook trout waters, and three wild trout ponds. We conducted deep gillnetting for lake trout on First Roach Pond and Caribou Lake. We were also able to survey three waters, which had never been surveyed. In July, Greenville staff ventured into the St. John Pond country for a few days to investigate the potential for further movement of muskellunge within the St. John drainage. We inspected the artificial barrier on the old log driving canal between Fifth St. John Pond and Big Bog on the North Branch of the Penobscot River. This earthen barrier was constructed in 1984 by Fisheries Division staff and Great Northern Paper, Inc. after it was learned that muskellunge had been stocked into waters in Canada, which drain into the St. John River. This barrier was found to be in great shape and is still serving its purpose in keeping muskies out of the Penobscot River drainage. We also, inspected the old driving dam on the outlet of Third St. John Pond to determine whether this structure is acting as a barrier for muskellunge to move into the pond. There are remnants of the old dam still intact and its condition is such that at higher water levels it is not considered an impasse to fish. We were on or around the Moose River almost weekly keeping “track” of the salmon and brook trout we tagged earlier in the spring. We conducted electrofishing work on three salmon waters to evaluate recruitment of wild salmon in these systems. Another highlight for us this summer though it may sound minor was the installation of a direct drop power source at the First Roach Dam. In the past, a portable generator was used and was determined not to be the best source of power. This often times created problems when trying to make gate adjustments. Since the installation of the new power supply we have not encountered any problems, “knock on wood”.

These are a few of the things that are ongoing or which we completed this past year and looking ahead, the upcoming year poses more interesting and challenging projects as well.

Jeff Bagley, Assistant Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region F, Penobscot Region

How do we keep track of more than 1,000,000 brook trout, lake trout, landlocked salmon, brown trout, and splake after they are stocked ? By applying an individual fin clip to a percentage of the fish stocked in Maine each year, that's how. Last week, 142,500 fish were marked at Cobb Fish Hatchery in Enfield by a very dedicated group of fin clippers from the Enfield and Lincoln area. An experienced fin clipper can mark approximately 400 fish per hour, so you can see that it takes a while to clip 140,000+ fish. Similar marking programs take place at all Maine State Hatcheries during the spring and fall each year.

Why do we clip all of those fish? We have a yearly fin clip schedule set up for all of the species of fish that we stock Maine. By looking at a marked fish from any lake, pond or stream in Maine that we stock, we can immediately determine what year that fish was stocked. Otherwise, we would have to take a scale or otolith sample of that fish and analyze the data at a later date. Although it takes a long time to mark 142,500 fish, it is a real time saver later in the process of evaluating our hatchery programs.

Based upon this age and growth information, decisions about numbers of fish stocked, length limits, bag limits, gear restrictions and access issues are more effectively made. This is very important information that will provide us a great deal of insight as to the success of any of our stocking programs and management initiatives.

We also have about 100 anglers in our region that keep a voluntary angler diary on their fishing activities throughout the year. These anglers keep track of all of their fishing activities, and the presence of fin clip allows these folks to add that additional information to their record books. It also provides information to the angler about the age of their catch, making the collection of fishery information more meaningful to our volunteers.

Anglers wishing to participate in the Volunteer Angler Program should contact the fisheries office closest to where they fish or reside for further information. Also, anglers wishing to participate in the online version can go to http://www.triptracks.com/ for more information.

The marking crew this fall at Enfield consisted of Nick McKechnie, Nellie Dwelley, Pat Lane, Brenda Jackson, Tammie McKechnie, Freda Ryan, Kathy Deans, Pat Smith, Shannon Deans and Inez Carey. Thanks for all of your efforts and dedicated service to our hatchery program !

This week marks the start of the fall stocking season now that the fish are marked. Hatchery personnel from Cobb Fish Hatchery in Enfield will, in the next month or so, stock 159,285 fall fingerling brook trout, 5,150 fall fingerling splake, 18,300 fall yearling brook trout and 1,400 fall yearling splake. Truly an amazing feat that they can stock almost 200,000 fish in such a short time !

-Gordon Kramer, Assistant Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region G - Aroostook County

The fall fishing season is now upon us and there is some color showing on the ridges. A little rain would go a long ways toward improving fishing in the rivers as flows are very low. Several lakes and ponds stocked with brook trout remain open to fishing in the month of October. These waters are designated S-23 in the open water law book.

Trap nets were set last week in Big Eagle Lake. These nets will be used to capture brook trout These fish will be captured alive, measured, weighed, and an adipose fin clip applied in an effort to obtain a population estimate this fall. We will be conducting a winter creel survey in the lake in 2007 and may be able to get another population estimate based on the number of adipose clipped trout observed. Also this fall, we will be implanting batteries in 18-20 lake whitefish in an effort to obtain data on their movement in the lake. Seventeen stationary recorders have been placed in the lake to locate these fish from signals emitted from the batteries. This project is being conducted by the University of Maine.

-Dave Basley, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Submitted by : Mark Latti , Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
For More Information, please contact:
Mark Latti , Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
fax 207-287-6395
284 State Street
41 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333

For More Outdoor Information, and Sporting Licenses 24 Hours A Day, 7 Days A Week, Please Visit www.mefishwildlife.com

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