Old News Archive

Fishing Report - June 25, 2007

June 25, 2007 - TRC


Region A- Southwestern Maine

As the fishing season transitions from spring to summer, most of the popular sportfish like salmon, trout and bass (particularly smallmouths) spend increasing amounts of time in deeper water, where cooler more desirable temperatures occur. For example, many of the recent angler reports indicate smallmouths have completed their inshore spawning and have moved from 2 to 6 feet of water to slightly deeper water in the 10 to 15 foot range. Salmon and trout (browns & rainbows) can still be caught on top early in the morning, but are generally found lower in the water column in the 15 to 30 foot zone; those fishing lead core line are typically running 3 to 5 colors at this time of the year. Lake trout, which prefer the coolest water of all the salmonids have largely settled in deeper areas near bottom, but do make some upward feeding forays.

Successful togue anglers on Sebago are picking up good numbers of fish in the 60 to 80 foot range, often "tapping" their terminal tackle along the forgiving sandy bottom to create a physical disturbance that seems to encourage feeding behavior. Whereas on Thompson Lake, at least for the next couple of weeks, togue may be taken suspended in 15 to 30 feet of water during the early morning hours. On Thompson it helps that the togue suspend off bottom, because the bottom on this lake is filled with rocks and boulders, and can be tough on terminal gear. Generally with lake trout, whether its spring or summer fishing, terminal tackle should be fished very slow (1 MPH) for best success. Whereas other salmonids may be fished successfully at higher headway speeds ( 2 - 3 MPH or more), which offer the added benefit of being able to cover more fishing area. Many anglers seem to stop fishing once the surface waters warm up, but the ones that are aware of these seasonal changes and make the necessary adjustments are very successful.

As a point of interest, this spring I have received way more inquiries from residents as well as folks interested in visiting Maine for bass fishing, compared to those who expressed interest in fishing for trout and salmon. This apparent growing interest in bass fishing was also noted when we reviewed our angling use trend data for Mousam Lake in Shapleigh, which supports coldwater fisheries for salmon, brown trout, lake trout and brook trout, as well as bass (see table below).

Estimated open water angler use (angler trips) by fishery type and year on Mousam Lake

FISHERY YEAR 2000 2006
Warm water (bass) 2,079 anglers 2,681 anglers
Cold water (trout/salmon) 2,291 anglers 1,901 anglers

We recently received another report of yet another illegal introduction of what are reported to be landlocked alewives in Norway Lake (Norway). This represents the third illegal introduction of landlocked alewives in Region A in the last couple years; the other two are Pleasant Lake (Casco) and Raymond Pond (Raymond). The Department's current policy on forage fish introductions precludes the stocking alewives by the Department due to concerns of adverse impacts with established fisheries. Norway Lake is scheduled to receive rainbow trout this fall and the current strain of rainbow feeds heavily on plankton, which is also the primarily forage utilized by alewives, so some interactions may result.

-Francis Brautigam, Regional Fisheries Biologist



Region B - Central Maine

With surface water temperatures starting to warm on Maine’s lakes, it is time for salmonid anglers to adapt to the conditions in order to catch cold water game fish. Anglers who understand how to use these conditions to their advantage can be rewarded with increased catch rates.

As summer progresses, water quality at some depths becomes less desirable for coldwater game fish. These fish will then concentrate into a more desirable place within the water column.

The key here is how to find this desirable layer of water. As the summer heats the surface of the lake, a temperature gradient forms, where water is warmer near the surface and getting colder as the depth increases. At some depth, there will be a distinct drop in water temperature, called a thermocline. Anyone who has taken a dive towards the bottom while swimming can attest to the fact that they have encountered a depth where the water suddenly gets really cold. Eventually, the deeper area becomes isolated from the shallower portion of the lake and can contain less dissolved oxygen. Since coldwater fish have high requirements for dissolved oxygen, the deeper portion of the lake can become less suitable for them. Fish adapt by concentrating within a band of water that contains both desirable water temperatures and dissolved oxygen. Finding this layer of ideal water conditions is the key to success.

Today’s technology enables us to see the contours of a lake’s bottom and its actual depth, along with the depth fish are utilizing. Downriggers can then be set at the depth that fish are utilizing in order to increase your chances of catching these fish. Anglers are commonly deceived by their fish finders when a bunch of fish show on the screen sitting near the bottom. Anglers tend to set their down riggers just up from the bottom in order to attempt to capture one of these fish. These fish are likely nothing more than a bunch of white suckers utilizing a column of water with little to no oxygen. To target coldwater game fish, look for the occasional fish on the fish finders that are hovering up from the bottom, but still well below the surface. This layer of water is more likely to be cooler than the surface and have adequate dissolved oxygen.

A good dissolved oxygen meter that reads both dissolved oxygen content and temperature would be a good investment for the more serious anglers (these can run near $1,000). A dissolved oxygen meter would give you the advantage of seeing how the different water columns are setup within the lake. Once you have the profile of the lake you may realize that you may have a very small layer of good water to work with. The advantage of finding this desirable water column is that fish will be concentrated there, allowing you to catch coldwater game fish in the heat of the summer.

--Scott Davis, Fisheries Biologist Specialist



Region C – Downeast

The Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department’s Fisheries Division has undertaken a simplification of our Fishing Lawbooks by reducing the number of different special regulations available for use on landlocked salmon, lake trout, and black bass. These are proposed for implementation in the 2008 fishing season. This year’s public hearings will be primarily limited to shifting old regulations on Maine waters into conformity with our limited number of special regulations. For the Downeast Region, comprised primarily of Hancock and Washington Counties, two public hearings to solicit your input will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the following locations:

July 17, 2007, at the Bangor Ramada Inn,
and July 19th at the Princeton Elementary School.

Please mark the dates on your calendar and plan to either attend or send written comments to the Department’s Augusta Headquarters within the comment period after the public hearings. We hope you will support these changes and simplifications.

The remainder of this week’s fishing report contains a summary of some of the regulation changes and their justification.

Hancock County:
Abrams Pond , Eastbrook. All bass caught must be released at once. Purpose: Conform to simplified regulation choices. Protect limited population of trophy bass.

Donnell Pond, T 9 SD. Delete 16” landlocked salmon minimum length. Return to general law length and bag. Purpose: This regulation best fits growth conditions at this pond.

Georges Pond, Franklin: All bass caught must be released at once. Purpose: Conform to simplified regulation choices. Protect limited population of trophy bass.

Green Lake, Ellsworth. Togue: 23” minimum length and 1 togue daily bag limit. Purpose: Protect highly popular stocked togue population with high size-quality.

Halfmile Pond, Aurora. Togue: 1 fish bag limit and 23” minimum length (from, 2 fish, 20” minimum length). Conform to simplified regulation choices on a small pond with high size-quality togue population that is all wild.

Hamilton Pond, Bar Harbor. All bass caught must be released at once. Purpose: Conform to simplified regulation choices. Protect limited population of bass with high size-quality potential.

Hopkins Pond, Mariaville. Minimum length on togue: 18 inches. Purpose: Conform to simplified regulation choices.
Jordan Pond, Mt. Desert. Change daily togue bag limit from 3 to 6 fish, only 1 over 23”. Purpose: Conform to simplified regulation choices. Increase harvest of togue in a pond with an abundant population.

Phillips Lake, Dedham. Change daily bag limit on togue from 3 to 6 fish, only 1 may exceed 23”. Delete: daily bag limit on salmon: 2 fish, only 1 may exceed 18”.

Add: Minimum length on salmon: 14”; daily bag limit on salmon is 2 fish, only one may exceed 16”. Purpose: This brings salmon and togue regulations into compliance with simplified regulation choices and continues to allow harvest of abundant togue.

Toddy Pond, Orland. Change daily bag limit on togue from 3 to 6 and add that only 1 may exceed 18”. Purpose: Conform to simplified regulation choices, and select the choice that allows removal of overabundant small togue in this lake.

Tunk Lake, T 10 SD. Change daily bag limit on togue from 3 to 6 and add that only 1 may exceed 23”. Purpose: Conform to simplified regulation choices, and select the choice that allows removal of overabundant togue sizes in this lake.

Washington County:
Big Lake, T 27 ED. 2 Bass bag limit. 13-18” protected slot limit. Purpose: Purpose: Conform to simplified regulation choices. Manage bass for high size-quality.

Boyden Lake, Perry. 2 Bass bag limit. 13-18” protected slot limit. Purpose: Conform to simplified regulation choices. Manage bass for high size-quality.

Grand Falls Flowage, Princeton, Indian Twp.: All bass caught must be released at once. Purpose: Conform to simplified regulation choices. Purpose: Attempt to restore large bass component to this population and increase abundance.

Lewy Lake, Princeton, Indian Twp. 2 Bass bag limit. 13-18” protected slot limit. Purpose: Conform to simplified regulation choices. Manage bass for high size-quality.

Long Lake, Princeton, Indian Twp. 2 Bass bag limit. 13-18” protected slot limit. Purpose: Purpose: Conform to simplified regulation choices. Manage bass for high size-quality.

Machias Lakes, Third and Fourth, T 42 MD, T 43 MD. . 2 Bass bag limit. 13-18” protected slot limit. Purpose: Conform to simplified regulation choices. Manage bass for high size-quality.

Pocomoonshine Lake, Alexander. Add: Daily bag limit on bass: 2. All bass between 13 and 18 inches must be released alive at once. Delete the following section: (Daily bag limit on smallmouth bass: 5 fish; minimum length limit: 10 inches, only 1 may exceed 12 inches. Daily bag limit on largemouth bass: from April 1 – June 20:1 fish; from June 21 – September 30: 3 fish. Minimum length limit on largemouth bass: 10 inches, only 1 may exceed 20 inches; all largemouth bass between 14 and 20 inches must be released alive at once.) Purpose: conform to simplified regulation choices.

Pocumcus Lake, T 6 ND. . 2 Bass bag limit. 13-18” protected slot limit. Purpose: Conform to simplified regulation choices. Manage bass for high size-quality.

Upper and Lower Mud Lakes, Alexander. Delete: all largemouth bass between 14 and 20 inches must be released alive at once; only 1 largemouth bass may exceed 20 inches. Add: All bass (both species) caught must be released alive at once. Purpose: Conform to simplified regulation choices. Manage for trophy bass.

West Grand Lake, Grand Lake Stream. 2 Bass bag limit. 13-18” protected slot limit. Purpose: Conform to simplified regulation choices.

-Rick Jordan, Regional Fisheries Biologist



Region D - Western Mountains

The hot weather of summer is upon us. Warming water temperatures in lakes and ponds are forcing coldwater fish species to seek cooler thermal refuge. It’s easy for fish to find these conditions in most large lakes by just going deeper. That’s also what anglers must do to target trout and salmon. Trolling slowly, using a downrigger or leadcore fishing line is what it takes to get down into the 40 to 60 foot deep water where the fish are suspended. If fishing for brook trout or salmon, the Rangeley area is hard to beat. All the larger lakes contain trout and salmon and have good public access. Trout and salmon larger than 5 pounds have been taken earlier this year.

Anglers fishing for lake trout can go to Porter Lake in New Vineyard, Spencer Lake in Hobbstown Twp., Pleasant Pond in Caratunk, or the Richardson Lakes in Oxford County to find good fishing opportunities. All these ponds are deep and contain large lake trout and an occasional brook trout. Sewed-on minnows with spoons or streamer flies with a dodger are a couple of good methods to try.

For warmwater gamefish, the warm summer water temperatures are just what they need. Good populations of smallmouth bass can be found in Androscoggin, Kennebec, and Sandy Rivers. For ponds, try Mt. Blue Pond in Avon, Clearwater Pond in Industry, Embden Pond in Embden, or Ellis Pond in Roxbury. Casting a spinner into the rock piles or trolling along the drop-off with a deep-diving lure are a couple of my favorite techniques. Anglers can hope to catch bass up to five pounds, but expect many fish closer to one pound. No matter how heavy, bass are tremendous fighters and fun to catch at any size.

-Dave Howatt, Fisheries Biologist Specialist



Region E - Moosehead Region

Despite the lower flows in many of the brooks and streams in the region, good fishing for native brookies is still available. A good bet for a fun fishing trip would be to one of the many brooks and streams in the Moosehead Region. Cooler temperatures have been keeping water conditions suitable for good fishing but the region could use some needed rain. Likely a result of cooler temperatures this spring, the insect hatches have been very spotty in the Moosehead Region. Insect activity should pick up with warmer weather forecast for the upcoming week. We’ve received some good reports of trout fishing on many of the ponds in the region. Many of the waters we stocked this spring gave up good catches of spring yearling brook trout. This is what we are hoping for when these fish are stocked. That’s why these waters are referred to as put and take.

Over the past month Regional Biologists have been evaluating several ponds, which have been stocked with fall fingerling brook trout. We use an experimental gillnet to try and collect 10 to 15 brook trout. This is the quickest and most effective way to collect our sample. When we do this we hope to find 2 to 3 year classes of fish. This gives us a good indication of how well these trout are doing in a particular pond based on survival from one summer to the next. We also look at lengths and weights of the fish to determine growth and condition of the fish. We look at stomachs to determine contents of what the fish are feeding on.

Bass fishing in the region is starting to pick up. Reports from many of our bass waters indicate that water temperatures are reaching that critical 60 degrees where spawning activity really picks up. Bass fishing on Prong Pond in the Greenville area has produced some fast fishing as well as Branns Mills Pond, Harlow and Manhanock Ponds in the southern part of our region.

-Jeff Bagley, Assistant Regional Fisheries Biologist



Region F, Penobscot Region

A busy spring has finally turned to summer and we at the Cobb State Fish Hatchery have stocked our last fish for the spring. Due to an unusually late thaw in the northern and eastern portions of the state, we did not begin stocking till the 30th of April, and our last stocking for the spring took place on June 21st. During this time we stocked over 117,000 fish weighing in excess of 27,000 pounds. By far the bulk of our fish were brook trout, followed by salmon, splake, and lake trout. Staff at the hatchery stocked from Mount Vernon to Greenville to Machias to Portage. We drove over 10,000 miles to stock these fish this spring. Fish were stocked by truck, airplane, and boat. We are in high hopes that a number of anglers will appreciate our hard work and enjoy the thrill of hooking into some of the trout, salmon, and splake that we have produced. Good luck fishing.

-John Wilmont, Assistant Supervisor, Enfield Hatchery



Region G – Aroostook County

The St. John River forms the boundary between the United States and Canada from St. Francis, Maine downriver to Hamlin, Maine. Muskellunge have now become established throughout the St. John River from the Baker Branch and Northwest Branch in Maine to below Fredericton, New Brunswick. Sport fishing for muskellunge has become very popular in that section of the St. John between St. Francis and Frenchville as well as Glazier Lake. We would recommend that anglers seek out muskies in the section of the St. John River that flows through Van Buren, Maine.

The St. John River at Van Buren is impounded by the hydroelectric dam downstream at Grand Falls, New Brunswick. A nice improved boat launch just below the international bridge affords excellent opportunity to launch watercraft. We recently launched a 16 ft. Lund boat equipped with a 40 HP outboard and traveled upstream to Grand Isle, a distance of about 15 miles. It would appear on the map that a similar length of the St. John extends downstream from the landing to where the St. John is entirely in Canada. To avoid a negative encounter with Customs Officers, do not go beyond this point and do not go ashore on the Canadian side !

Water depths in much of this section of river upstream of Van Buren were 8-17 ft., with shallower areas found at gravel bars around some of the islands and old, deteriorating piers left over from log driving days. Using discretion on speed and a fish finder, one should have no problem navigating this river stretch. We observed little in the way of structure and in-stream cover that was observable, so trolling may be the method of choice to fish for muskellunge. Suckers, fallfish, yellow perch and several minnow species are all known to be present in the St. John River. Any lure that is used should be on the large side (6-8 inches). The water is very dark so a brightly colored lure might be the best - having other darker colors as an option. There is no size of bag limit on muskellunge.

Anyone fishing this stretch of water is encouraged to contact fishery biologists at the Ashland office to share the results of their fishing trip.

-Dave Basley, Regional Fisheries Biologist


Submitted by : Mark Latti, DIFW

To record information about your fishing trip and help manage Maine’s freshwater fisheries, please visit our online fishing logbook at www.triptracks.com.

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 :

Mark Latti
Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
mark.latti@maine.gov
207-287-6008
pager 818-9617
fax 207-287-6395
284 State Street
41 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333


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