Old News Archive

May 1, 2007 - Fishing Report

May 01, 2007 - TRC

Region A- Southwestern Maine

Although the open water fishing season officially opened on April 1, many anglers were forced to postpone or alter their opening day and early season fishing plans. Most of our lakes in southern Maine were still ice covered into the second and third weeks of April! In addition, stream fishing opportunities were severely hampered by the large snowstorm during the first week of April, which was then followed by the Patriot's day northeaster that had most streams spilling over their banks. It looks like things have finally "normalized" and we're just beginning to observe quite a bit of angling activity on our lakes and streams.

Needless to say these same conditions really put the brakes on our hatchery stocking program. The hatcheries started stocking the week of April 9th after things had cleared up from the snowstorm, but most stocking was halted the following week due the heavy rain and flooding. As a result, spring stocking really didn't get into full swing until the week of April 23rd! Most of the streams and smaller ponds in Cumberland County and parts of southern Oxford County (i.e. Hiram/Porter) were stocked in the last week of April. Most of the streams (i.e. Little River, Great Works River, Mousam River, Merriland River, etc.) and smaller ponds (i.e. Leigh's Mill Pond, Knights Pond, Cider Mill Pond, Mathew's Mill Pond, Horne Pond) in York County will be stocked during the first week of May. Stockings will continue at full force throughout the month May. A list of last year's stockings (2006) are posted on our website (www.mefishwildlife.com), and are generally a good guide for the following year's stocking events. Information that can be gleaned from the previous years' stocking include: what waters, town, species/number/size of fish stocked, and rough idea on the time of stocking (typically +/- 1 or 2 weeks).

The special management section of the Presumpscot River in Windham (Rte. 35 area) is a popular fishing destination. Although the river was stocked during the week of April 9th, high flows have really precluded anglers from fishing the reach with much success. Fortunately, this section of river is stocked 6 times from early April through June and will eventually provide some great angling opportunity. The next stocking for the Presumpscot River is scheduled for May 4th.

To date, most of our fishing reports have come from the larger lakes in the area. Anglers have reportedly had some fantastic salmon and togue fishing on Sebago! Bill Day of Porter has reported catching 33 salmon so far this season, and quite a few anglers have reported catching some larger sized salmon in the 4-6 pound range. A handful of monster sized salmon in the 7-8 pound class have also been reported, but unconfirmed by the regional fisheries staff! Sebago lakers are predominantly running in the 3-6 pound range, but a handful of trophy sized lakers in the double digit pound class are caught each open water season. Regional staff are also planning to survey anglers at Auburn Lake this spring. We have been to lake 2 times so far this season and have observed some nice fish. The largest fish we have seen to date was a 10 pound laker, and a 4+ pound salmon. Most of the salmon and lakers are running in the 2-4 pound class. On Saturday, we talked with about 40 angler parties at Auburn Lake, and we observed about 21/2 to 3 dozen salmonids. Two thirds of the catch appears to be comprised of lakers, and the remainder are salmon. Shore anglers at Auburn also reported catching lake trout and salmon, as well as, some quality sized smallies in the 3-5 pound range! The next few months are one of the best times for trout and salmon fishing, and what we scheme, plan, and look forward to all winter long...so get out there and wet a line. Good luck!

-Jim Pellerin, Assitant Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region B - Central Maine

When compared with other parts of the state, opportunities for Landlocked Salmon fishing in central Maine are limited to about a dozen waters. Some of the factors that limit where the fish are found in the Region include water quality, forage abundance and competition with other fish species.

Some central Maine salmon waters are stocked yearly while others are stocked every other year or every third year. Some stockings are discontinued for a year or two depending on growth of the salmon or forage abundance. The availability and dynamics of the smelt population, the primary forage species for salmon can be a major factor on how often a lake is stocked. Regardless of the relatively low number of salmon waters in Central Maine, it is worth your effort to pay attention to the stocking dates and numbers to maximize opportunities for landlocked salmon.

Waters like Echo Lake (Fayette), Damariscotta Lake (Jefferson) and Upper Narrows Pond (Winthrop) are stocked with spring yearling fish every other year or every third year. These waters will produce slower fishing, but the size quality could surprise you. Some of the reasons for the fluctuation in stocking are to minimize competition among year classes and reduce the stress on the forage base. These two reasons directly reflect the growth potential for a given year class. Anglers should know that fish that were stocked two or three years ago are more desirable in respect to size quality.

Other waters like Wassookeag Lake (Dexter), Parker Pond (Mt Vernon) and Lake St.George (Liberty) are stocked annually with spring yearling fish. These waters have the potential to produce faster fishing and a more consistent salmon population in terms of numbers. The stocking of salmon every year produces a more uniform size structure among year classes. The fish may not be as large as in waters that are stocked every other year, but the fishing may be faster.

Swan Lake (Swanville) is traditionally stocked every year, but a recent decline in the smelt population has resulted in a discontinuance of salmon stocking over the last two years. This lack of stocking has lead to a decline in total numbers of salmon in the lake. Results from the temporary stoppage in stocking have shown that size quality has improved, however, one should expect the fishing to be much slower than normal.

Long Pond (Belgrade) is stocked on a yearly basis with larger fall yearling salmon. The success of this stocking effort is dependent on predation or competition. Only time will tell if increasing the stocking numbers in the future will improver the overall catch.

--Scott Davis, Fisheries Biologist Specialist

Region C – Downeast

Finally – the ice is out in most eastern Maine lakes and ponds! West Grand has not yet cleared of ice, but we expect it to shed its winter coat of ice by the end of this week. Anglers are eager to fish all over the Downeast area, and many have already started. Here’s some waters to focus on for early spring fishing.

Brook trout
Trout stocking has increased in many lakes and ponds in Hancock and Washington
County, under the management of Regional Fisheries Biologist Rick Jordan, assistant Regional Fisheries Biologist Greg Burr, and newly hired Fisheries Biologist Joe Overlock. The goal is to stock many easily accessible trout ponds at levels that will create noticeably faster fishing and attract new anglers of all ages to the sport.

Here are some brook trout hotspots, by county, and there are many more stockings, available at www.mefishwildlife.com :

Hancock County: Craig Pond in Orland, Fox Pond along Rt. 182 in T 10 SD, Lower and Upper Hadlock Ponds in Mt. Desert, Bubble Pond in Bar Harbor, Lily Pond in Deer Isle, Second Pond in Dedham, Simmons Pond in Hancock, and Witch-hole Pond in Bar Harbor. Anderson Pond in T 10 SD is a new addition to the stocking list; it is a walk-in pond in a remote and scenic setting.

Brook trout are stocked sometime in May into the following flowing waters: Union River at and below Rt. 1A in Ellsworth Falls, Orland River below the Alamoosook Lake Dam, and the outlet of Long Pond in Bucksport in the vicinity of Rt. 46 and on town of Bucksport land below the pond.

Washington County: Goulding Lake in Robbinston, Indian Lake in Whiting, Lily Lake in Trescott, Keene’s Lake in Calais, Monroe Lake in T 43 MD, West Monroe Pond in T 43 MD, Montegail Pond in T 19 MD, East and West Pike Brook Ponds in T 18 MD, Salmon Pond in T 30 MD, Shattuck Lake in Calais, Simpson Pond in Roque Bluffs, and Six-mile Lake in Marshfield.

The following ponds are stocked with brook trout and are regulated for kids only: Foxhole Pond in Deblois, the pond at the Cobscook State Park Headquarters in Edmunds (spring stocking – you may call us at 434-5925 to find out whether it is been stocked before your kids fish there.), North and South Meyers Ponds in Columbia. Brook trout are stocked in the Middle River in Marshfield and much of this river is restricted to fishing by kids only.

If you love to fish brook trout in rivers and streams, we expect 2007 to be a very memorable year for good trout fishing. Why? The last 3 years with their frequent cool rains and lack of hot summer droughts have yielded some great trout survival and growth. Anglers should experience some good success in these valuable wild brook trout once water temperatures rise into the 50-65 degree range.

Landlocked Salmon
The following lakes should provide some fun action for landlocked salmon this spring:
Penobscot County: Brewer Lake
Hancock County: Phillips Lake in Dedham, Molasses Pond in Eastbrook, Donnell Pond in the Franklin-Twp 9 SD area, Eagle Lake in Bar Harbor, Green Lake in Dedham and Ellsworth, Beech Hill Pond in Otis. Also, both Tunk Lake in T 10 SD and Alligator Lake in T 28 MD produce some salmon from 3-5 lbs, but consult your regulation booklet because all salmon from 16-20 inches must be released.

Washington County: West Grand Lake in the village of Grand Lake Stream, Big Lake in T 27 ED, Cathance Lake in Cooper, Schoodic Lake in Cherryfield, and Gardner Lake in East Machias.

Penobscot County: Fitts Pond in Eddington
Hancock County: Jacob Buck Pond in Bucksport, Heart Pond in Orland, Lower Springy Pond in Otis
Washington County: Second Lake Old Stream, Hosea Pug Lake in T 26 ED, Pleasant River Lake in Beddington, Keeley Lake in Marshfield

Lake Trout
Hancock County: Branch Lake in Ellsworth, Beech Hill Pond in Otis, Toddy Pond, Jordan Pond in Mount Desert, Green Lake in Ellsworth, Hopkins Pond in Mariaville, Tunk Lake in T 10 SD

Washington County: West Grand Lake in Grand Lake Stream, West Musquash Lake in Talmadge

Remember to wear your life jacket, introduce someone new to fishing this year, and enjoy all the sights and memories that accompany the fishing trip.

-Rick Jordan, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region D - Western Mountains

Ice outs and smelt runs are now moving north of the Route 2 line. The timing of both events varies considerably from year to year, but we usually look for smelt runs the second half of April and ice outs the last week of April and early May. River levels are still quite high, fed by melting snow in the high country. On Friday April 27 I wallowed in snow up to my knees along South Bog Stream, Rangeley Plt., while flowers bloomed in the Farmington area. Water levels in the smaller streams - especially those at lower elevations - are dropping and, barring rain events, will soon be fishable.

With the ice outs come the first stockings of spring yearling brook trout. A few waters, inclucing Embden Lake, Crowell Pond in Chesterville, and Wesserunsett Lake in Madison, have already been stocked. Here are a few other western Maine waters that will soon be stocked to provide early fishing: the Androscoggin River; Carrabassett River; Clearwater Lake, Industry; Harvey Pond, Madrid; Jackson Pond, Concord Plt.; Kennebec River; McIntire Pond, New Sharon; Porter Lake, Strong; Sandy River, Phillips to New Sharon; Temple Stream, Farmington; Webb Lake, Weld; Webb River, Dixfield and Carthage; and Wilson Pond and Stream, Wilton. These waters are at lower elevations and have relatively early ice outs; stocking at higher-elevation rivers and ponds will follow within a matter of weeks.

The biggest changes in fishing regulations for the area include the new 2 trout limit on Franklin County lakes and ponds (exceptions are noted under the individual waters) and the closure of Richardson Lake tributaries to smelting. We were reluctant to close yet more waters to smelt dipping, but the runs there have been practically nonexistant for a number of years, and the lake's salmon fishery has suffered as a result. We're hopeful that the smelt population will rebuild, resulting in better salmon growth in the future.

We note with sadness the passing of Roger Verrill, a member of the Rangeley Guides. Roger enjoyed helping out on river surveys and helping with Dave Boucher's fall seining operations on the Kennebago and Magalloway Rivers. He was always fun to have along and will be missed.

-Forrest Bonney, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region E - Moosehead Region

It could be tricky launching your boat on Moosehead Lake on May 1st, since snowsleds are still running up the lake. But spring and open water will be here soon. We have had a few reports of slow fishing in some of the streams and rivers in the region. There are very few open areas on ponds or lakes to wet a line and hatchery trucks are on hold for a few more weeks. Until then, it’s a good time to tie some flies, change your leader material, whip up a few bait-trolling rigs, and clean out the tackle box.

We have several regulation changes proposed for waters in the Moosehead Lake Region. We will report these proposals and the rationale behind them over the next few weeks in our regional fishing report. We also plan to hold a public informational meeting in Greenville sometime in the early spring. This will be an informal meeting just to get feedback from the public. A formal regulation hearing will likely be scheduled in the late summer or early fall in the area. Announcements and dates will appear in our weekly reports as they become available.

In this report we will discuss a few proposals to expand open water fishing opportunities in the Region. We recognize the growing trend toward providing year round fishing opportunities of all types and we support it where existing fisheries will not be negatively impacted.

East Outlet:
This section of the Kennebec River is one of the most important river fisheries in our region. It’s a great piece of water and offers quality fishing. The upper section is easily accessible. Anglers can fish from the dam area and never get their feet wet or they can wade in several areas. The section of the river below the Beach Pool is more steep and difficult to wade. It is also less accessible. A terrific drift boat fishery has developed here in recent years.

The East Outlet is already open during the extended open water season through the end of October. Hatchery salmon and brook trout dominate the legal catch although there are some wild fish here.

We are proposing to open the section of the East Outlet from the dam to the Beach Pool to open water fishing all year. The regulation on this section will be fly-fishing only and all fish must be released alive at once from November 1 to March 31.

The final proposed regulation is: Open to fishing April 1: S-5. From April 1 -April 30: All fish caught must be release alive at once. From May 1 - September 30: S-5, Total daily bag limit for salmon, trout, and togue: 1 fish. Minimum length on salmon, trout, and togue: 14 inches. From October 1-October 30: S-5, all fish caught must be released alive at once.

From the dam at Moosehead Lake to yellow posts at tail of Beach Pool: Open to fishing from Nov 1 to March 31: S-5, all fish caught must be released alive at once.

West Outlet:

The West Outlet has been primarily managed for put-and-take brook trout. We stock the river several times throughout the spring and again in the fall. There is also a limited bass fishery here. Recently, this region started a small salmon stocking program on the West Outlet in an effort to create a fall fishery. Those efforts are beginning to pay off. We have recently seen an increase in the salmon catch on this roadside fishery.

The West Outlet coldwater fishery is totally supported by hatchery fish and upper sections are easily accessible by vehicle. This makes it a good candidate for expanded fishing opportunities. Therefore, we are proposing to open the West Outlet to year-round open water fishing.

The final proposed regulation for the West Outlet is: From April 1 - August 15: S-19. From August 16 to March 31: S-6, S-19, all salmon caught must be released alive at once.

Next week we will discuss proposed expanded winter fishing opportunities in the Moosehead Lake Region.

-Tim Obrey, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region F, Penobscot Region

The open water season has gotten off to a fairly normal start. The ice has gone out of Cold Stream Pond on schedule and should go out of the lakes in the northern part of the region on normal dates for ice out. Water flows on rivers and streams is above normal and will delay fishing on those waters for a few days. The normal flow for the Penobscot River in Enfield is about 36,300 cfs and the present flow is at 53,500 cfs. The West Branch of the Penobscot River below Ripogenus dam is flowing at about 2000 cfs and conditions for the salmon fishery in the West Branch should be quite good unless there is significant rainfall. Currently flows on all regional rivers are declining and should be at good fishing levels by the weekend. There should be some good early season bass fishing on the Penobscot and Piscataquis Rivers. Other bass waters that should provide very good early season fishing are Pushaw Pond (Old Town), Stump Pond (Lincoln), Dolby Pond Millinocket, South Branch Lake (Seboeis). As the water temperatures increase, pickerel and white perch catches will increase. Smelt runs are in progress throughout the middle and southern parts of the region and should be going in the northern part this week. Region F is expecting some great spring fishing for Brook Trout, Lake Trout, Splake, and Salmon. This past winter ice fishing pressure thought the region was well below normal. Poor ice conditions for most of the winter and extreme changes in the weather were the major contributors to lower fishing pressure. Since fewer fish were harvested during the winter these fish will be providing the spring angler with lots of opportunities. Seboeis Lake, T4R9 NWP, should produce some great splake and salmon fishing. East Musquash Lake, Topsfield and Cold Stream Pond, Enfield, should produce some very good lake trout and salmon fishing. Silver Lake, Lee, Little Round Pond, Lincoln, and Jerry Pond, Millinocket, should still have some of the fall stocked brook trout hanging around waiting for a fly. Fish stocking has started this week in the Region and is expected to continue well into the month of June.

-Mike Smith, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region G – Aroostook County

Most lakes in northern Maine remain ice-covered. We received a report from a resident in Portage who checked Portage Lake over the weekend: 24 inches of ice. Squapan Lake near Presque Isle has ice from shore to shore and still has a white color with very few dark areas that would indicate thin ice. Ice out is likely at least 8-10 days away.

We checked a smelt spawning tributary at Squapan on the last day of April and found a normal flow for this time of year. However, ice and snow line the banks and a significant snowpack remains in the woods. Water temperature was less than 1 degree C (33 F). Smelt normally do not enter this tributary to spawn until water warms to 4-5 degrees C.

To date we have stocked no brook trout in the region. A few anglers have reported catching trout near the outlets of ponds in Eastern Aroostook County. Lakes and Ponds in southern Aroostook, the Houlton/Hodgdon area, will likely become ice free within the next week.

-Frank Frost, Assistant Regional Fisheries Biologist

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