Old News Archive

Fishing Report - June 18, 2007

June 18, 2007 - TRC

Region A- Southwestern Maine

Angler reports indicate that trout fishing in southern Maine is still hot! Small trout ponds are still producing some very nice catches of brook trout, check last years stocking report and look for the more remote waters in the region for your best bets. If rainbow trout is your fish, then Crystal Lake in Gray, Upper and Middle Range Ponds in Poland, Lily Pond in New Gloucester, and Kennebunk Pond in Lyman are all possibilities for fast action on 14-20 inch rainbows. Our seasonal creel clerk indicates the lake trout fishing is still very good on Lake Auburn, with catches averaging better than one legal trout per boat with several anglers catching 5 to 8 fish in a morning. With a good chance at early morning salmon and excellent smallmouth bass fishing, Lake Auburn is an excellent day trip destination.

Last week marked the end of this year’s bass electrofishing surveys for 2007. This year Region A staff were joined by seasonal creel clerk John Zwetsloot and game warden Tony Gray during some surveys. This year we sampled five waters (Worthley Pond, Poland, Otter Ponds #2 and #4, Standish, Thompson Lake, Otisfield, and Thomas Pond, Casco) in seven nights, resulting in the capture and release of around 1100 bass. Bass weights ranged from tiny 1/8-ounce young of the year to a pair of 9 plus pound monsters. While night work is an interesting change and can be a real eye opener in terms of the diversity of life in a lake we are always glad when we have put our bass sampling behind us and can look forward to some more sunny types of field work ! See you out there !

-Brian Lewis, Fisheries Biologist Specialist

Region B - Central Maine

This time of year, regional staff is busy with all sorts of fieldwork. Predominant among those tasks is the evaluation of our bass waters. We in mid-coastal Maine have almost 200 lakes and ponds the hold either large or small mouth bass. Some waters contain both species. In addition, our larger rivers, such as the Kennebec, Androscoggin, Sebasticook and Penobscot also possess viable fisheries. Our bass fishery is hugely popular with anglers from all over. Keeping an eye on its health forms an important component of our work.

The Department’s goal in management of bass fisheries is to maintain populations and angling opportunities in the waters noted above. Since we have such a large number of waters in the region, staff evaluates a portion, usually 8-10 each year. Analysis of some of the waters consist of an evaluation of whether the water in question is meeting its management goal(s), while others are being looked at for the first time.

Management emphasis for any given water is categorized into one of 5 categories: Fast action: where an angler can catch more than 20 fish in an angler day with the lengths of commonly caught fish being in the 6 to 12 inch range. In the General category, a range of 6 to 20 fish can be boated, with average sizes in the 6 to 16 inch range. Quality size waters provide a catch of greater than 3 fish in the 14 to 18 inch range. Trophy waters yield up to 3 fish, with fish over 18 inches for smallmouths and 20 inches for largemouths. Finally, there is an unclassified category. This last category is a group of waters where we need to acquire information.

We attempt to sample of the fishery utilizing a variety of techniques. We compile the number and sizes of fish to ascertain if the water is meeting management objectives. If the water is an initial evaluation, we can determine where management emphasis should be directed.

-Robert Van-Riper, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region C – Downeast

Maintaining access to public waters in the Downeast region is a top priority for fisheries biologists. This region has over 500 lakes & ponds and 3,800 miles of rivers, streams and brooks, where biologists and wardens have the responsibility of finding suitable lands to be purchased for public access to inland waters. Currently over 85 percent of state waters in Hancock and Washington Counties have public access across privately owned lands. These gracious landowners who have allowed public access for decades to Great Ponds (Great Ponds are lakes and ponds over 10 acres in size) in our area, have done so because they understood the importance to their communities, both for recreational opportunities and to the local economy. The social benefits from public access to inland waters is immeasurable as it keeps people connected to the natural environment and provides badly needed opportunities for citizens to enjoy the outdoors. Statistics have shown that children who fish and recreate on the water have a greater tendency not to become involved with drugs or alcohol.

The economic benefit to the Downeast region from fishing and other water based recreation is in the millions, as just fishing in inland waters generates upwards of 300 million annually state wide. These wholesome family activities are what help bind communities together and are what make Maine what it is, the place to be.

Sadly, these public access points that cross private lands are disappearing as the parcels change hands and the access blocked off. When this occurs, the lakes and ponds become privatized or semi-privatized, leaving little opportunities for Maine people to access the water that they own. In many cases once these access points are closed off the water can no longer be stocked, as all citizens need to have the same advantage to the fish resources of that water. This is a fairness issue that arises when there are many private access points that are associated with camps and residences remain and only family and friends can access but not the general public. The Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife policy states that fair and equitable public access has to be in place in order for the department to stock. This means that access between private landowners and the public must be the same, so that both have the same advantage to the stocked fishery resources. This can be accomplished through local towns, the federal government, state agencies or a lake landowner providing access for the public with agreements and/or development of access sites.

So as one can see, the importance of access to public waters can not be overstated because of the tremendous benefits to the people in our communities and to the people who like to visit our special state. This is why the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife and the Department of Conservation will continue to seek parcels abutting lakes, ponds, rivers and streams for access for the people of the state of Maine.

On another note, anglers continue to have good catches of wild eastern brook trout on many of brooks and streams across Downeast. Many of these waters will likely warm up in early July, making fishing tough, unless anglers are fishing spring brooks that stay cool all summer, so the time is now to still experience some of the best spring brook trout fishing.

Bass fishing for smallmouths is still very good as bass have moved off nesting areas, but still are residing near inshore rocky areas and shallow drop offs. Some male bass continue to guard nests in the deep cold northern regional waters such as West Grand Lake and Pocumcus Lake as these waters did not warm up until late, which pushed nesting bass to start later in June with guarding lasting sometimes into early July.

We hope you all enjoying fishing in Downeast Maine ! Be safe !

-Greg Burr, Assistant Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region D - Western Mountains

Spencer Lake in western Somerset County was the site of a major habitat restoration project, completed last October. Like many Maine lakes, Spencer's original water levels were altered some 100 years ago by the construction of a large dam on the lake's outlet to accommodate spring log drives. In Spencer's case, the effects were very dramatic because the channel above the dam was deepened to facilitate a higher structure. So as the old dam deteriorated, water levels in the lake dropped well below that which occurred prior to about 1906. This resulted in the loss of about 600 acres of wetlands, dewatering of excellent brook trout habitat in the lake's shallows, the disconnection of small tributaries from the lake, and most recently, the loss of boat access to Spencer Lake from the Fish Pond Thoroughfare. In addition, smallmouth bass recently colonized the lake's outlet, Little Spencer Stream. Their migration to Spencer Lake was only blocked by the remnants of the old dam, which was near to being completely washed out by 2005.

Around this same time, FPL Energy, owners of Harris Dam on the upper Kennebec River, was required to restore or create wetlands to compensate for those lost in Indian Pond as a result of their operation of this large hydroelectric project. After consultations with Department wildlife biologists and other key personnel, Spencer Lake was selected as the site for FPL's Indian Pond wetlands mitigation project. The Spencer restoration project centered on constructing a new concrete dam at the site of the old driving dam. The new dam would be designed to reestablish water levels to the lake's natural elevation. This would restore about 600 acres of the lake's contiguous wetlands, including those associated with Fish Pond located just upstream, and provide significant benefits to a variety wetland-dependent wildlife species. Additional benefits included re-watering great brook trout habitat, re-connecting the lake to its tributaries for brook trout and smelt spawning, and preventing the upstream migration of bass from Little Spencer Stream. The project would also benefit anglers because boat access from Fish Pond could reestablished with the higher, more stable water levels.

The project was overseen by FPL biologists Bill Hanson and Kyle Murphy, and Bud Brown of Eco-Analysts. Dan Spaulding from Spaulding Engineering designed the dam, while Joe Haley from M&H Logging in Rangeley carefully removed the old dam and very ably coordinated other contractors. We were present during most of the construction period to assure that bass could not pass into the lake during different phases of construction. This was an excellent crew and they deserve lots of credit for getting this project completed in about six days, just prior to the fall rains.

-Dave Boucher, Assistant Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region E - Moosehead Region

The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has adopted the "Hooked on Fishing - Not on Drugs" program as one of its youth educational tools. This is an ideal program to promote youth and family togetherness through fishing within the State of Maine.

On June 5th, members of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Dover-Foxcroft Kiwanis and volunteers held a Youth Fishing Day at the Kiwanis Park Pond in Dover-Foxcroft. Over 80 fourth grade students from the Morton Avenue Elementary School attended the one-day event. The class was broken into 4 groups of approximately 20 students. A short presentation was given to each group regarding the stocking of the pond and another one on the importance of “saying no” to drugs and alcohol”. The students were then given the opportunity to fish for about an hour. Many of the students were successful in reeling in a trout or two, and a few were lucky or skilled enough to catch more.

Before the fishing started, each group was asked if there was anyone that had never fished before. Surprising to me there were several that said this was their first time fishing. This event was their first time out and I’m happy to say that many of these kids caught their first fish. What a great feeling to see the expressions on some of the faces and the screams of “I’ve got one” as they felt the tug of a fish on the end of their line. There were plenty of plastic bags and ice on hand for any students wishing to keep their catch. The fish were cleaned and placed in a bag with ice and each students name was marked on it. At the end of the day the fish were taken back to the school and given back to the students where they got strict instructions from Mr. Ellis not the open the bags on the bus !

There were lots of worms that made the ultimate sacrifice that day. A few trees were left with some souvenirs. The weather cooperated and the bugs were not bad either. Students seemed to really enjoy this event. A special thanks goes out to Jim Ellis for spear heading this outing, one that he hopes we can make an annual event.

-Jeff Bagley, Assistant Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region F, Penobscot Region

Rivers and streams in our area continue to provide some excellent fishing.

The Penobscot is producing some great angling for smallmouth bass, in some areas a local angler reported it "seemed like there was a bass or two behind every rock.”

Water temperatures are staying below normal and that is helpful to brook trout. We had a couple reports of some good fishing in the tributaries of the Penobscot, Piscataquis, Mattawamkeag and Pleasant Rivers.

The green drake hatch is slow to get started due to the below normal temps but a few are starting to show up on some of the Baxter Park trout ponds. The hatches should be starting by the weekend.

The white perch are beginning to spawn in many of our lakes. Here are a few good perch lakes in the region that you might like to try: Pushaw, Eskutassis, Nicatous and Seboeis Lakes; Mattanawcook and Dolby Ponds.

Our landlocked salmon waters continue to produce some nice fish. East Grand Lake, Cold Stream Pond, Pleasant Lake (Island Falls) are all good bets.

Last week, during a routine fisheries survey on Chemo pond, we found yet another illegal introduction of largemouth bass.

In the past couple of years we have had both largemouth and smallmouth bass, as well as northern pike showing up in our regional waters. The movement of these exotic species is destroying the future of Maine's native fisheries. This is a serious problem. There is a $10,000 fine for a conviction of illegal stocking. To report information about an illegal introductions, please call 1-800-253-7887.

The cooler temps this spring have been a real benefit to the cold water fisheries in our region. It has also helped keep the black flies and mosquitoes at bay.

-Brian Campbell, Fisheries Biologist Specialist.

Region G – Aroostook County

Low flows in area rivers and streams got a needed boost of water from Sunday's thundershowers. This increase in flow should get the trout to move a little. These showers were much needed relief from the continued warm temperatures of last week.

All of the stocking has now been completed in regional waters. Legal size trout have been stocked in East Branch Mattawamkeag River, North Branch Meduxnekeag River, Arnold Brook Lake, Logan Lake, Upper McNally Pond, Conroy Lake, Spaulding Lake, Mud Pond (Linneus), Nickerson Lake, Rockabema Lake,Durepo Lake, Monson Pond, Island Pond (T10R10), Round Mountain Pond, Upper Elbow Pond, Beavertail Pond, Ben Lake and Moccasin Pond. Reports on fishing in these ponds has ranged from excellent to "are you sure the water was stocked" ?

Fall fingerling brook trout ponds that have been producing this year include: Echo Lake (Presque Isle), Hanson Brook Lake, Trafton Lake, Hale Pond, Perch Pond, and Silver Lake.

All indications are that fishing in area waters, either standing or flowing, has been very good for brook trout.

-Dave Basley, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Submitted by : Mark Latti, DIFW


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