Old News Archive

June 3, 2008 - Open Water Fishing Report

June 03, 2008 - TRC

Region A – Southwestern Maine

Local anglers have reported some great trout and salmon fishing in southern Maine over Memorial Day week, and the cool nights should continue that trend for the foreseeable future.

An angler from Raymond reported a fantastic trip on Sebago Lake, where two fishermen each caught and harvested their limit of six lake trout. Although their primary target was togue, they also caught and released several salmon with a total of 19 salmonids boated !

My dad went out on Sebago on Memorial Day with my brother-in-law, nephew, and my niece's boyfriend and they landed three salmon and a laker. My 11-year-old nephew, Casey Brown, caught a 16-inch landlocked salmon and a 24-inch lake trout. He released the salmon, but proudly harvested the trout. My sister stuffed the togue and baked it for dinner, and my nephew proclaimed, “I’m providing dinner for the family tonight !”

Stream fishing for trout also has been good. I ran into my neighbor’s son while shopping at Cabela’s and he reported catching some brookies and browns on the Little River in Gorham. He released the browns hoping they would grow up to the 24-incher he landed there a few years back, but decided to keep the “put-and-take” brookies that wouldn’t fair too well once the river warms up later in the summer.
I was planning to take my 4-year-old son, Hunter, bass fishing over the weekend, but our plans were foiled by the weather. Saturday rained and it was blowing a gale on Sunday afternoon. A four year old, high winds and a canoe are not a good combination. Hunter was disappointed, so I took him down to the Presumpscot River below the Mallison Dam. We saw several fly fishermen, and two of them landed trout during the short time we were there. Hunter managed to get in a half-dozen or more casts in with his Scooby-Doo fishing rod before deciding that throwing rocks into river was way more fun! He had a great time, and I realized that I was probably going to have to invest in a rod that casts more than 6-10 feet if I ever want him to catch a fish and stop throwing rocks !

Smallmouth bass are spawning and largemouths will soon follow. It’s a great time to get out there and bass fish. Male smallmouths are extremely aggressive when guarding their nest, and it is not uncommon to catch the same fish multiple times in a day. However, spawning can be a difficult time on these fish and I wouldn’t recommend over fishing a particular individual. Besides there may be a bigger bass behind the next boulder, although less aggressive, largemouths will also be easier to target during their spawning season. Not only is the action good, but you combine that with sight fishing and quality sized adults – it’s hard to beat! In my opinion it can be one of the best fishing times of the year, and I’m a trout fisherman at heart.
Late spring bass fishing is also a great way to introduce kids to fishing, since the action and catching can be almost nonstop. Get outdoors and enjoy. It’s one of the best seasons for both trout and bass !
-- James Pellerin, Assistant Regional Fisheries Biologist, Gray

Region B – Central Maine

The spring stocking of scheduled fish is winding down in the throughout the mid-coast region. While there are some ponds that get multiple stockings each year, the majority of this year’s spring fish are in and acclimating to their new homes, or may have been hooked by an intrepid angler. More than 56,000 brook trout, 14,600 brown trout, 2,500 landlocked salmon, 1,000 rainbows and 4,000 splake have been planted in 86 waters throughout the region.

A representative list of just some of the waters in the region that recently were stocked by our hatchery staff include:

Wassokeag Lake, Dexter, 1,000 brook trout;
Cochnewagon Pond, Monmouth, 500 brook trout;
China Lake, China, 1,500 brook trout;
Ross Pond, Bristol, 750 brook trout;
Maranacook Lake, Winthrop, 2,000 brook trout;
St. George Lake, Liberty, 1,000 landlocked salmon;
Nezinscot River, Turner, 1,900 brown trout;
Alford Lake, Hope, 1,300 brook trout;
Halfmoon Pond, Prospect, 1,000 brook trout;
St. George River, Thomaston, etc., 3,000 brown trout;
Unity Pond, Unity, 500 brook trout;
Swan Lake, Swanville, 500 landlocked salmon;
Flying Pond, Vienna, 1,000 brook trout;
Kennebec River, Shawmut, 2,000 brown trout;
Megunticook Lake, Lincolnville, 500 rainbow trout;
Echo Lake, Mt. Vernon, 500 landlocked salmon;
Brettun’s Pond, Livermore, 500 brook trout;
West Garland Pond, Garland, 300 brook trout;
Jamie’s Pond, Manchester, 750 brook trout.
The above list is only a sampling of what has been stocked around the Region, there are many more. For the complete list go to: www.maine.gov/ifw/fishing/reports/stocking/index.htm. Click on the 2008 stocking report. That link will have this year’s report, which has updated as the spring stocking has progressed. Good luck out there!
-- Robert Van-Riper, Regional Fisheries Biologist, Sidney

Region C – Downeast

If you prefer fishing that is characterized by lots of “catching,” this is the time for you! Recent weather has warmed lake temperatures into the mid-60 degree range, resulting in peaks of activity for both smallmouth and largemouth bass. Mature bass are moving to the shores to spawn, producing some fast fishing. Remember that Maine’s general law on bass allows artificial lures only until July 1.

Because male bass remain on the nest to guard eggs and fry from being eaten by other fish, it is highly important that anglers land and release all bass quickly and as close to the nest as possible. Remember, male bass are excellent and protective parents whose role is vital in protecting each year’s next generation of bass.
Bass fishing is the way fishing should be! Once you learn their cover and habitat preferences along with locations of that habitat in the lake you are fishing, cooperative fish will be there.

What lures are best ? Almost any fishing lure works – from Mepps-style spinners to topwater Jitterbugs or Tiny Torpedos, diving crankbaits, and soft plastics with jigs. You can hardly go wrong. Be ready to set the hook almost as soon as your lure hits the water because the action can be quick.

Maine bass begin to spawn at around 9 inches in length, at an age of about four years old. In eastern Maine, a 12-inch bass averages six years old – slow growth due to a relatively short growing season but lots of fish. And Maine biologists have found that trophy bass larger than 18 inches long are 15-20 years old, so for every one harvested, it will take that long to grow another to replace it. For this reason, many anglers release most of their bass. This strong catch and release ethic is a key reason why Maine has some of the most highly cherished bass fisheries in the United States. Many tournament anglers have told me that Maine’s bass fisheries are held in the highest regard by other tournament anglers.

Hancock and Washington Counties have about 80-plus lakes with bass populations. Good fisheries are found at: Toddy Pond in Orland, Branch and Green Lakes in Ellsworth, Beech Hill Pond in Otis, Pleasant River Lake in Beddington, Schoodic Lake in Cherryfield, Gardner Lake in East Machias, Cathance Lake in Cooper, Meddybemps Lake in Meddybemps, West Grand and Big Lake in Grand Lake Stream, Boyden Lake in Perry, Rocky Lake in T 18 ED, and Rocky Lake in Whiting.

Take some youngsters, pack a big picnic lunch, and head out soon ! Don’t forget the swimming suits if it’s a hot day. The kids will never forget the excitement of hooking several bass in a day in a sport they will probably continue to pursue for a lifetime of enjoyment.
-- Rick Jordan, Regional Fisheries Biologist, Jonesboro

Region D – Western Mountains

Anglers on Aziscohos Lake in Lincoln Plantation in Oxford County have had good action lately. Our creel clerk, Liz Studdert, has so far interviewed 73 anglers that have logged over 300 hours of fishing time. In that time they reported catching 17 legal brook trout and 45 legal salmon. Also reported were 102 sublegal salmon, so Aziscohos Lake should remain good fishing for at least a few years to come. The salmon kept are averaging 16¾ inches, with the largest being 19¾ inches long and weighing about 2½ pounds. The brook trout kept are running about 13 inches in length.

Fishing has generally been good lately, with hatches of insect life in the evening being triggered by the sunny days. Some very enjoyable, and perhaps overlooked, fishing opportunities occur in the many miles of small brooks and streams throughout the state. Small trout, most commonly brook trout, are often abundant in this type of habitat. They will aggressively bite a baited hook or a small wet fly at any time of day. There is no better place to introduce a young angler to trout fishing than a small mountain stream. Most all the brooks in northwestern Maine have at least a few trout present, but brooks around the towns of Andover, Weld, Madrid, Eustis, and Bingham all have thriving populations.

Anglers interested in warmwater fish are having good luck also. Bass are spawning and will instinctively defend their nesting area from everything, including fishing lures. White perch are another species of fish active this time of year. They gather in schools near the water’s surface and are usually easy to locate on a calm evening. A few places to look for them are Locke Pond in Chesterville, Lufkin Pond in Phillips, Wentworth Pond in Solon, and Moxie Lake in The Forks Plantation. Anglers that harvest white perch are rewarded with high quality fillets for a chowder or fish fry.
-- Forrest Bonney, Regional Fisheries Biologist, Strong

Region E – Moosehead Lake
This past weekend marked the State of Maine’s Family Fishing Days. On May 31 and June 1 any person was allowed to fish without a license, except those whose license had been suspended or revoked. All other laws and regulations applied on these days. These family fishing days are designed to encourage people to get outdoors and enjoy a day of fishing with family and friends. These free fishing days may hook some individuals into obtaining a year round fishing license, so that they can further enjoy the plentiful fishing resources offered in the State of Maine.

Water temperatures still are fairly cool, with temperatures in the mid-to-high 50s in the smaller ponds across the region. As a result, mayfly and caddis hatches have been slow to start. Most of the insect activity has been spotty and will increase with warmer temperatures forecasted for the coming weeks. Brook trout stomachs have mostly contained dragon fly nymphs, midge larva, and leaches.

Reports from Moosehead Lake have been presented with a smile from anglers. Anglers are reporting good catches of lake trout, and a few nice landlocked salmon and brook trout are making there way into the creel. The Moosehead Lake Region Fisheries Staff is still encouraging anglers to take advantage of the no size or bag limit on lake trout less than 18 inches. Anglers took full advantage of this regulation this past winter and we are hopeful it will continue this spring. This liberal bag limit on these smaller lake trout in Moosehead Lake is designed to decrease the number of smaller individuals in this over abundant lake trout fishery.

Reports from the Moose River, West Branch of the Penobscot, and the East Outlet of the Kennebec are very encouraging. Anglers are reporting catching some nice salmon and brook trout. Fish are being taken on a variety of wet fly and nymph patterns. These dam controlled river systems provide cool water temperatures through out the summer months and can provide some good fishing during the warmer days of summer.

If you are planning to fish moving water in the Moosehead Lake Region it is a good idea to check the river flows before you head north. FPL Energy and Kennebec Water Power Co. have a flow hotline for flow levels on the Kennebec and Androscoggin rivers at 1-800-557-3569. If you are headed to the West Branch of the Penobscot River call the Brookfield Power river flow hotline at 1-888-323-4341.
-- Stephen Seeback, Fisheries Biology Specialist, Greenville

Region F – Penobscot Valley
We continue to get reports of good catches of lake trout from East Grand Lake in Danforth and Weston, with many fish in the 5- to 10-pound range. Reports of respectable catches of lake trout also have come from Schoodic Lake in Brownville, Millinocket Lake in T1 R8 WELS, and Cold Stream Pond in Enfield. Pemadumcook in T1 R9 WELS and Matagamon at the northeast corner of Baxter State Park are two lakes that have the potential to produce some very nice lake trout as well (10 pounds-plus).

The salmon fishing in Region F continues to be good at Hay Lake, Shin Ponds, Pleasant Pond, Mattawamkeag Lake, Matagamon Lake and Scraggly Lake. Cold Stream, Schoodic, Pemadumcook, Upper Jo Mary and East Grand lakes also continue to give up some nice salmon, with a few fish reported in the 5 pound category.
With normal stream water levels the brook angler can expect to find some excellent brook trout fishing. It would be a pretty good bet that your favorite brook trout spot is now producing fish. If you’re looking for a new stretch of water to try might I suggest these waters spread around Region F; Trout Brook, Seboeis River, Mattawamkeag River, Fish Stream, Wassataquoik Stream and Little East Branch, Webster Stream and the outlet of Matagamon Lake (East Branch Penobscot).
Splake waters in Region F include West Seboeis Lake in T4 R9 NWP, Cedar Lake in T3 R9 NWP, Endless Lake in T3 R9 NWP and Lower Togue Pond in T2 R9 WELS.
As the water temperature beings to rise the warmwater game fish will become more active. Presently we have reports that smallmouth bass are becoming more active, however the catch rates are still slow a bit slow. A week of warm weather will surely turn the catch rates around and speed things up.

White perch fishing is still slow but again as the water temperatures rise and the fish begin to stage for spawning and catches will improve.
--Brian R Campbell, Fishery Biology Specialist, Enfield

Region G – Aroostook County

Regional fisheries personnel and district game wardens floated Beaver Brook last Friday from the bridge on the Beaver Brook Road downstream to its confluence with the Aroostook River. Beaver Brook is a major tributary to the Aroostook River and supports a wild brook trout sport fishery. Water had dropped during the week and although flow was satisfactory for canoeing, much less would have resulted in considerable dragging. In spite of low flow, water temperature was 50 degrees due to the cool spring that we have been experiencing.

We try to float one or two rivers or large streams in the spring to become familiar with the habitat and fishing quality that is offered in order to have a better understanding of conditions being experienced by anglers. I have found that there is nothing short of first-hand experience that connects with anglers when discussing a specific water. I have also found during my 29 years in this profession that any particular water in the state is someone’s favorite water and you had better be familiar with it to have any credibility !

While floating Beaver Brook the water was clear and pea- to walnut-size gravel was extremely abundant and clean in the riffles and pools. The channel was windy and on occasion beavers had attempted to dam the brook but high spring flow had reduced the head of most dams such that we could canoe over them. As we approached the lower reaches of the brook, deeper slow moving pools were more common and the bottom was covered with a light amount of silt. A stretch of quick water with rock and cobble substrate was encountered just prior to reaching the Aroostook River. Wood ducks, beaver and a wood turtle were observed along the way.

Exposed gravel banks afforded the opportunity to fish some of the deeper runs. It was evident from tracks observed in the gravel that the brook had been previously visited by anglers this spring. Three parties were observed fishing, all having caught some trout and camping at one of the campsites at the lower end of the brook. Trout observed in our trip ranged from 4-11 inches with most being 7-8 inches in length. By the end of the trip, the water temperature had risen to 56 degrees and a mayfly hatch was coming off the water. Numerous logs in the lower section were covered with large caddis fly cases. All trout appeared to be fat and healthy.

There is no public access where Beaver Brook meets the Aroostook River. Rather than motor upstream to Ashland, the decision had been made to motor downstream to the public landing in Washburn. It took 1.5 hours to cover this distance with canoe and motor. It was a great day to experience what the region has to offer our sportsmen while adding to our knowledge of what Beaver Brook has to offer for trout habitat and a sport fishery in the Aroostook River drainage.
-- David J. Basley, Regional Fisheries Biologist, Ashland

Deborah Turcotte, Spokesperson

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
SHS 41
284 State St.
Augusta, ME 04333

W: (207) 287-6008

C: (207) 592-1164

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