Old News Archive

May 7, 2007 - Fishing Report

May 07, 2007 - TRC

Region A- Southwestern Maine

This is the season for trout and salmon fishing. It really can’t get much better than this in so many ways. First, of course, the fish are biting! Sebago Lake is producing good numbers of land locked salmon including one 6.75 lb beauty caught by Paul Stone this past Friday. Paul reports that his intrepid fishing buddy Butch also caught an unspecified number of smaller salmon on the same trip. There is also a credible report of an 8.25 lb salmon caught off Sebago Lake Station in Standish, with a worm and bobber! We have also received recent reports of good catches of 14-16 inch brookies from an unspecified small pond in Oxford County and our seasonal census clerk John Swetzloot reports decent catches of togue and salmon from Lake Auburn.

Another good reason to go fishing soon is that the hatcheries are in full stocking mode, trying to catch up from a late start due to weather. This week area hatcheries are stocking Halls Pond in Paris, Jaybird Pond in Hiram, Royal River, Auburn, Coffee Pond, Casco, Big and Little Clemmons Ponds in Hiram, Pettingill Pond in Auburn, Cooks Brook in Dayton, Thatcher Brook in Biddeford, and Chandler Brook in Pownal among many others.

The last but perhaps most important reason to go fishing soon in that even though the weather is warming up there are still no bugs ! There are ticks however so check very carefully after each outing as deer ticks are nothing to take lightly. Best of Luck !

-Brian Lewis, Fisheries Biologist Specialist

Region B - Central Maine

This spring, the central and southern fisheries regions are conducting angler surveys on a number of small (less than 100 acres) waters and a couple of small streams where the Department is stocking legal size brook trout. This purpose of the study is to determine both the number of anglers interested in this type of fishing opportunity and whether these newly stocked fish are as ‘catchable’ as we hope. The study was initiated because within the last few years we have been increasing the number of legal size fish the hatchery raises and as well as increasing the number of waters that are stocked each year.

After only one week of surveys, we have the following observations. The clerk at Gould Pond in Sidney interviewed just 10 anglers but at least they caught 12 brook trout. As an interesting aside, the clerk also measured a largemouth bass, a species that was not present until recently, probably the result of an illegal stocking. At Crystal Pond (Beal’s Pond) in Turner, only 3 anglers were found fishing with no trout reported to the clerk.

The last pond with survey information to date is Egypt Pond on the Vienna\Chesterville town line. Egypt is traditionally a local favorite. It is especially so after a stocking event. Over the past week, the clerk has been on site for 4 surveys, talking with 59 anglers, 26 of whom were successful at catching 110 trout in about 70 hours of fishing. One daring duo of fly anglers was responsible for catching and releasing 58 of the total trout caught. Of the 110 brookies caught, a total of 18 were taken home.

This new program of stocking legal size brook trout came about with the increased capacity of the hatcheries and the desire of the angling public to provide for early ‘fast’ fishing opportunities. The primary goal of this new program is to provide increased fishing opportunities for Maine’s most popular sport fish. Our hope is that this new opportunity will spark interest among experienced anglers as well as introducing fishing to a new group of people.

--James Lucas, Assistant Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region C – Downeast

This week should be prime time for salmon trolling in the Downeast region. All regional waters in Hancock & Washington Counties are now ice free and with the hot days predicted for the middle of the week, lake surface waters should warm up to close to optimal salmon feeding temperatures. Early reports have indicted slow fishing so far for ice out salmon and this is to be expected with the past cold night temperatures in the 30’s and cold north winds during the day keeping surface waters in the low to mid 40’s. By the end of the week on most salmon lakes, water temperatures should have risen to the upper 40’s or to the 50-degree mark.

Here are the waters that I recommend to have the best salmon action:

Washington County: West Grand Lake, Pocumcus Lake, Cathance Lake, Big Lake, Pleasant Lake (Alexander), and Gardner Lake.

Hancock County: Long Pond (Mount Desert Island), Alligator Lake, Phillips Lake and Green Lake.

Next week will also be the start of prime time fishing for wild brook trout in the Downeast region’s blue ribbon trout streams:

Here the streams I recommend fishing this spring for the best trout action:

Washington County: West Branch Machias River, Crooked River, Pleasant River, Old Stream, Mopang Stream, Fifth Lake Stream and the West Branch of the Narraguagus River.

Hancock County: West Branch and the Middle Branches of Union River.

Just a reminder that a number of stocked brook trout waters located near population centers that we refer to as “trout magnet waters” will be stocked this week with nice & fat 7 to 11 inch trout. They are as follows:

Huntley Brook Pond – Cutler
Middle River – Machias
Simpson Pond – Roque Bluffs
Fox Pond – T10 SD
Witch Hole Pond – Bar Harbor
Simmons Pond – Hancock
Fox Hole Pond – Deblois
North & South Meyers Pond – Columbia
Indian Lake – Whiting
Montegail Pond – Columbia Falls
Lily Pond – Trescott
Bubble Pond – Bar Harbor
Lily Pond – Deer Isle
Salmon Pond – T 30 MD
Keenes Lake – Calais
Craig Pond – Orland
Six-Mile Lake – Marshfield
Upper Hadlock Pond – Northeast Harbor

These are the tips for the week. Please feel free to e-mail or call (207) 434-5925 us at our regional office for specific information on fishing and stocking for the Downeast Region. In the meantime enjoy this great time of year in Maine’s outdoors and take a child fishing so they get to experience a big part of Maine’s heritage !

-Greg Burr, Assistant Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region D - Western Mountains

Ice outs are occurring quickly in western Maine - as of May 7, local favorites such as Clearwater Pond, Wilson Pond, Porter Lake, Embden Lake, and Wesserunsett Lake were free of ice. Spring Lake, north of Flagstaff Lake, lost its ice cover as well. A few small trout ponds near Rangeley, including Quimby Pond, are now fishable, but the big lakes are still a few days away from being completely fishable. For those in a rush to head up to Rangeley Lake, Greenvale Cove has some open water now, and Hunter Cove is usually fishable before the rest of the lake becomes ice free. Warden Brock Clukey reports open water on Upper Richardson Lake, but Lower Richardson still had some ice on May 6. With the warm forecast for the upcoming week, the entire Rangeley Chain should be clear of ice in a week or so. Then let the games begin!

Stream flows have dropped dramatically over the last week, especially on the small and medium size waters like the Sandy River, the Carrabassett River, the Bear River, the Ellis River, Wilson Stream, and the Webb River. The Kennebec and the Androscoggin are still running a bit high and roily, but they should both be very fishable by the weekend, barring substantial rains. With dropping water levels and warming temperatures, our Embden hatchery staff will begin stocking catchable-size trout into many these streams. Scheduled for stocking during the week of May 7 are Wilson Stream (brook trout and brown trout), Temple Stream (brook trout), Carrabassett River (brook trout), North Branch Dead River (brook trout), South Branch Dead River (brook trout), and Mill Stream in Embden (brook trout). Pond stocking will be in full swing this week as well. Gene Arsenault and his Embden Hatchery crew will deliver brook trout for Wentworth Pond, Harvey Pond, Toothaker Pond, and Roxbury Pond. Embden Pond and Wesserunsett Lake were stocked with spring yearling last week.

-Dave Boucher, Assistant Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region E - Moosehead Region

What a difference a warm week makes. The ice is starting to dissipate from waters in the southern reaches of the Moosehead Lake Region. Sebec Lake should be fishable by the end of the week. Smelts will start their spawning runs soon, although we haven’t confirmed any yet. It has been a nice slow melt this spring and natural flows in the rivers and streams are dropping. All of this means the hatchery trucks will be rolling into the region soon. We’ll be sure to let you know as the information becomes available. The big lake is still ice covered, but getting darker each day. It looks like another week or so before official ice-out. The serious angler can find some open water near inlets and outlets in ponds and lakes this week, and with the smelt “hatch” starting soon, there could be some good fishing if you’re in the right location.

As I mentioned last week, we will be proposing several regulations changes on waters in the Moosehead Lake Region this year. We plan on having a public informational meeting soon and formal hearings will be held later in the summer or early fall. Here are a few more proposals we will be submitting:

Chamberlain Lake: Fisheries staff spent a significant amount of time studying the fishery on Chamberlain Lake this past fall and winter. Our work was primarily focused on wild brook trout but we also collected a significant amount of data on lake trout and lake whitefish. We detected a decline in the condition (fatness) of the lake trout this year. The size quality was still up to par for Chamberlain Lake but they were definitely thinner than past years. Winter use, and therefore harvest, has been declining since the mid 1980’s. This is a trend we have noticed on many lakes across the State. Use at Chamberlain Lake this winter was down to the level estimated in 1978. Therefore, we feel it is time to liberalize the bag limit on lake trout from 1 fish to 2 fish. Most anglers are targeting brook trout and lake whitefish and it would be prudent to encourage anglers to remove a few more lake trout.

Brann’s Mill Pond, Center Pond, Harlow Pond, and Manhanock Pond: These ponds are all located in the southern part of the Moosehead Lake Region. They have been primarily managed for warmwater species or brown trout in the past. Recently, thanks to the hatchery expansion, we have been able to stock fall yearling brook trout in these waters. These brookies are usually 11-13 inches long and are stocked in October. We also stock these ponds with a few retired broodstock from time to time. Open water anglers can take advantage of these fish in the extended season (October-November) and ice fishermen get a crack at them in the winter. The word on the street was these ponds provided some excellent fishing last winter. In fact, we attended a winter field trip to Brann’s Mill Pond in March with some young ice anglers from the Sedomocha Middle School and caught several nice trout in addition to a few largemouth bass and some very tasty pickerel (even though they were cooked on the fire next to several wet socks). We are proposing a 2-fish limit on brook trout to distribute the catch among anglers. This is a typical regulation on many of our put-and-take trout waters.

-Tim Obrey, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region F, Penobscot Region

With fish fin clipping out of the way, regional stocking can get underway in earnest. Just out of the Department’s Cobb Fish Hatchery in Enfield, over 70,000 brook trout, 16,000 splake, 12,000 landlocked salmon and 12,000 lake trout will be stocked throughout northern Maine this Spring. In many cases, these fish will be boated around the lake in an effort to increase survival.

Last week, I was surprised at the slow progression of ice outs in the western and northern sections of the region. As of last Tuesday, May 1, Seboeis Lake in T4R9 NWP was still holding on to its cover of ice, as was Pemadumcook Lake T4 IP, Millinocket Lake in T1R8 WELS and Lower Togue in T2R9 WELS. With the big wind last weekend and the warmer temperatures predicted, many of those lakes should be ice free soon, if not already. Needless to say, ice out on many of our lakes and ponds in the Baxter Park Region will take place in mid-May.

Of the lakes that lost their cover already, Cold Stream in Enfield seems to have started to produce some landlocked salmon fishing for patient anglers. The boat landing this past weekend was crowded with returning anglers, some with handsome fish to show. Other salmon lakes that should be drawing attention soon would be West Lake in T3ND, Nicatous Lake T40 MD, East Musquash Lake in Topsfield, Lower Dobsis in Lakeville and Pleasant Lake in Kossuth. Lakes in the northeastern part of the region have started to open up, including East Grand Lake in Danforth, Deering Lake and Brackett Lake in Weston. Early reports from East Grand are somewhat encouraging. Smelt runs around East Grand appear to have been very strong this spring, and it will be very interesting to see what survival of smelt fry will be to late summer when we conduct our the smelt assessment during the annual hydroacoustic surveys.

Brooks and stream should be dropping this week throughout the region giving anglers an opportunity for some early action there as well.

-Nels Kramer, Assistant Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region G – Aroostook County

Winter hates to give up its grip on northern Maine but ice outs are slowly making their way northward into the region. Presently the spectrum goes from having a few trout ponds open in the southern and eastern part of the region to Long Lake that is still white with ice. Snow is gradually melting from the landscape west of Ashland but the lakes remain iced in. A call to the North Maine Woods office in Ashland (435-6213) would be in order to learn the status of roads for travel prior to any trip north. The thoroughfare between Umsaskis and Long Lakes is one of the few locations ice free and accessible for vehicles. The warmer weather scheduled for this week should go a long way toward opening roads for access and ice outs in regional lakes. There should be a noticeable difference in ice conditions come next week this time.

Anglers have been picking up some trout in the ponds that are opening as the ice recedes from the shoreline. Retired brook trout brood stock are available for anglers in Conroy Lake, Durepo Lake, Echo Lake, Monson Pond and Mud Pond in Linneus. These fish could create quite a surprise at the end of a youngster's Snoopy pole! Fall yearling brook trout or splake should be available to anglers fishing Madawaska Lake, Arnold Brook Lake, Drew's Lake, Nickerson Lake and Squa Pan Lake as the ice clears and they are able to troll. Hatchery trucks will be delivering spring yearling brook trout as lakes open up.

A reminder that Mud Brook, a tributary to Long Lake in T17R3 WELS, is open to the taking of smelts with a dip net. This is the only tributary to Long Lake in T17R3 open to dipping. The brook was opened via legislation in 2006 but was left out of the 2007 Open Water Law Book due to an oversight.

-Dave Basley, Regional Fisheries Biologist

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