May 12, 2008 - Open Water Fishing ReportMay 12, 2008 - TRCFish Stocking Report Now Available With Daily UpdatesThe spring 2008 stocking report now is available on the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s Web site, and it features daily updates from hatcheries staff.Instead of hearing when and where the hatcheries have stocked well after the season has ended, anglers now will be able to easily locate waters freshly stocked with catchable trout.Waters are grouped by county, listed by town, and include the date of stocking as well as the species, quantity, and size of fish released. Here is the web address to visit the fish stocking report page: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/fishing/reports/stocking/index.htm- Todd Langevin, Superintendent of Hatcheries, AugustaRegion A – Sebago LakesThe month of May could be the favorite month of this fishery biologist. The birds are singing, the fish are biting and the black flies can’t quite carry you away yet. The best part of May for me is the start of field season, the time when the fishery staff of the Sebago Lakes Region begins to spend more time outdoors than in!For the last two weeks Assistant Regional Biologist Jim Pellerin and I have been training Bill Yeo, our new creel survey clerk, to collect catch and effort data from anglers on Sebago Lake. Bill will be out on a boat speaking with anglers twice a week during the regular open water fishing season. This week I will be out on various ponds boat stocking trout and salmon. Boat stocking is a method by which fish are transported and scatter planted by boat to reduce predation on newly stocked fish by shoreline predators like bass and pickerel. This method also spreads out the fish to better distribute the catch among anglers, particularly for legal size brook trout. Low water temperatures at Lake Auburn went a long way towards reducing thermal stress on newly stocked togue during boat stocking last week. Stocking numbers of both togue and salmon have been significantly reduced at Lake Auburn in response to a noticeable drop in salmon growth observed during our annual sampling last November. My colleagues and I have transferred a fair number of smelt eggs to Lake Auburn to augment the recovering smelt population and to hopefully put the salmon and lake trout fishery back to its splendor of recent years. No weekly fishing report this time of year would be complete without a mention of Sebago Lake salmon. The lake still is producing good numbers of 3- to 4-pound salmon with the occasional 5- to 7-pounder caught. The largest salmon confirmed by us was 7 pounds 10 ounces, although we have received reports of salmon exceeding eight pounds. As the weather warms I begin to see more and more families bringing young children out to try their hand at fishing. I think it’s a wonderful thing to see a dad introducing his 4- or 5-year-old to fishing. While the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife stocks trout in several ponds for youth only fishing, I can make a pretty good case for targeting sunfish for that first ever fishing experience. Sunfish can be seen in schools off many public access docks in southern Maine and are easily caught without any special equipment. Best yet, sunfish are eager to bite on those warm summer days that are ideal for introducing a young child to fishing. It may be a bit early yet for sunfish angling but warmer days are swiftly coming. Best of luck! --Brian Lewis, Fishery Biospecialist, GrayRegion B – Sidney and Belgrade LakesIn recent years an important focus of the Region B fisheries staff has been to survey the region’s numerous brooks and streams. To our delight, our survey work has revealed a surprising number of populations of wild brook trout. But this is on the basis of biological surveys – electrofishing observations. Interesting to anglers but to at least some fishermen, not nearly so convincing of a straightforward probe with a fly rod !So, when last week end’s promise of rain did not materialize, I decided to put off yard chores for the morning and go fishing. I know of several small streams within a few miles of the house that I wanted to check out. I had fished several of them before and had had some really fine brook trout angling. But there are others that I had never spent any time at. It was high time, plus, the work wasn’t going anywhere, it could wait at least until the afternoon. I packed a lunch, rounded up the dog and my fly rod, and headed out on foot. I passed my parked ATV on the way out, but decided that it was a perfect day for a walk. With fine weather and a pursuing cloud of black flies, I headed down my road to a network of woods paths and logging roads. Just in case I ever wanted to return to my intended destination, I took my GPS along. Of course, I really didn’t have an exact “intended destination” at the time.In a short time, I crossed several small brooks. All of them looked like they might hold stream brookies and some I knew did, but I kept walking. My goal was trying to find the right combination of an open tree canopy for casting and a light breeze for the black flies. Finally, I found the breeze, but not the mature tree canopy I had wanted for casting. But the stream itself was the picture of a wild brook trout fishery. It was about 10 feet wide. Trees and shrubs crowded the banks and grew low to the water. With pools between drops and a number of snags, there looked to be lots of terrific hiding places for squaretails. I tied on the smallest black woolly bugger I had, thinking that it was too still darned big for this little brook. Casting was out of the question. It was strip and flip downstream with a staggered retrieve back up. After two strikes and no sets, I put on a bead head prince, and bounced it off the bottom as it drifted downstream.Switching to the nymph and drifting it changed everything. The brook came just “came alive” with fish. Within an hour, I had hooked and released a half dozen beautiful wild brook trout. The largest of these was 8 inches in length! Not bad for such a small stream. I decided that next time out here, since I had marked the site on GPS, I would bring my spinning rod and see what kind of luck I might have with a lure. This sort of fishery exists throughout the region, and the state for that matter. For the most part, it is an underutilized resource. If you think about your own “neck of the woods”, you can most likely think of a brook or stream that is similar to the one I speak of above. That brook or stream might even be in your own back yard. Next time you have a moment, gear up and take that walk, you might be surprised at what you find. But be sure to ask for permission to access private property.-- Robert Van-Riper, Regional Fisheries Biologist, SidneyRegion C -- DowneastPrimetime May fishing is here! Your favorite spring gamefish is feeding heavily and biting well, so now is the time to visit your favorite lake, river, or stream to enjoy the fishing.Stream water temperatures have reached and are remaining in the mid-50s, triggering daily hatches of mayflies and caddis flies, sending brook trout into feeding binges. Trout hold a special place in Maine’s angling traditions. And what brook trout angler doesn’t pause while unhooking each fish to take a long, lingering look and a mental picture of the trout’s green flanks, orange and white belly, tri-colored orange-black-and white fins, and red spots with blue halos? Do your part to keep our trout populations healthy for the future – practice catch and release on part of your catch.Good brook trout producers this spring have been Long Pond in Aurora, Simmons Pond in Hancock, Fox Pond in Twp 10 SD, Lower Hadlock and Witch-Hole Ponds on Mt. Desert Island, Pineo Pond (fly fishing only) in Deblois, West Pike Brook Pond in Twp 18 MD, Salmon Pond in Twp 30 MD, Berrypatch Pond in Twp 31 MD, Monroe Lake in Twp 43 MD, 6-Mile Lake in Marshfield, Indian Lake in Whiting, Lily (Anderson) Pond in Trescott, Huntley Creek Reservoir in Cutler, and Keene’s Lake in Calais.Spring trolling for landlocked salmon and togue is producing good action on many eastern Maine lakes. Salmon are “on top” much of the time, but getting down 5-15 feet with a few colors of lead line or a downrigger may produce better action, especially on sunny or flat calm days. Landlocked salmon fishing is peaking, with the silvery leapers cruising the surface and the shores as the water warms in search of their favorite food – the smelt. Trolled streamer flies, metal wobbler spoons shaped like fish, and lures like Rapalas will trigger strikes followed by a few trademark salmon jumps before the fish is landed. Eastern Maine lakes like West Grand, Big Lake, Green Lake, Phillips Lake, Brewer Lake, Donnell’s Pond, and Cathance Lake have all been good producers of salmon this spring, with some quality-sized fish.If you want to try brown trout fishing, visit Great Pond in Great Pond Plantation, Pennamaquan Lake in Charlotte, Simpson Pond in Roque Bluffs, Rocky Lake in Whiting, or Flanders Pond in Sullivan.This week is landlocked salmon stocking week in Hancock and Washington County, when we stock 7- to 9-inch salmon. At most lakes, biologists boat the fish in aerated metal tubs, carrying them out to deeper water before stocking them. Once the fish are dumped into about 40 feet of water, most of them disappear within 3 or 4 seconds and will soon begin feeding on their natural foods in the lake – primarily smelts. Boat stocking has produced a higher survival rate compared to shore stocking in lakes with numerous shoreline predators.Hatcheries also are busy stocking legal-sized brook trout into numerous eastern Maine ponds. Next week, we will stock togue at Green Lake in Ellsworth and will institute a low-density stocking at Donnell Pond in hopes of producing some above-average sized fish by controlling numbers stocked.-- Rick Jordan, Regional Fisheries Biologist, JonesboroRegion D – Western MountainsWe began conducting a creel survey at Rangeley Lake on May 9. The survey will continue into July, when the fishing activity begins to slow down. In the first couple of days we interviewed 30 anglers that had logged 145 hours of fishing time. They reported catching 11 legal brook trout and 32 legal salmon. The salmon kept are averaging 17.8 inches, with the largest being 21 inches and over 3 pounds. The brook trout kept are running about 13.7 inches. The average length of the salmon in this year’s survey is smaller than the average lengths observed in past surveys, while the brook trout lengths are similar to those measured in earlier surveys. Aziscohos Lake also will be surveyed this summer, but this study is not yet underway. However, Fern Bosse of Magalloway Plt. has placed creel survey boxes at launch sites around the lake. If you are coming off the lake after fishing, please report your catch by filling out a card at one of the survey boxes. The data collected will supplement the clerk survey and be very useful for the future management of Aziscohos Lake.With the summer heat returning, the waters are warming and aquatic insect life is beginning to emerge. Anglers should target small brook trout ponds in the evening to take advantage of eagerly feeding fish. A few waters to try are Saddleback Lake in Dallas Plt., Little Jim Pond in Jim Pond Twp., and Big and Little Dimmick ponds in Caratunk.Bass fishing also is starting to pick up as water temperatures warm. Smallmouth anglers should try Wilson Pond in Wilton, Webb Lake in Weld, Wyman Lake in Moscow, or the Kennebec River in the Norridgewock area. When the conditions are right, any of these waters will provide action for respectable sized bass.-- Dave Howatt, Fishery Biospecialist, StrongRegion E – Moosehead LakeThis spring we used trapnets to capture and mark wild brook trout in Secret Pond, a 14-acre pond located in Greenville, to obtain data on the population dynamics and to evaluate the regulations on this small trout pond. Secret Pond has a special slot limit regulation where all trout less than 6 inches and longer than 12 inches must be released alive at once. This regulation is designed to bolster the number of brook trout greater than 12 inches to produce a better quality fishery.From April 30 through May 8, we fished 2 trapnets in two different locations for a total 378 net hours. We applied a temporary upper caudal fin clip then we released 161 brook trout, which ranged from 5 to 16 inches. The brook trout averaged 11.3 inches in length and 8 ounces in weight. The number of recaptured fish from the 10-day netting operation provided enabled us to estimate the abundance of the brook trout population in Secret Pond. The population estimate of brook trout was approximately 321, about 23 brook trout per acre. We plan to estimate harvest and use on Secret Pond this summer by counting anglers and relying on voluntary angler and voluntary box data.To get a grasp on the relative success of the region’s fisheries the Moosehead fisheries staff relies heavily on voluntary information. These records influence our management strategies such as including stocking and regulations. This information provides us with a general knowledge of the fishery and allows us to monitor various management plans and help determine their success. Your contributions as a voluntary record keeper or by filling out survey cards at access sites are a valuable asset to the Region’s fisheries staff. So next time you use an access site that has a survey box, we encourage you to take the time to fill out a survey card. Also, if anyone is interested in becoming a Record Book Keeper don’t hesitate to contact the Greenville Headquarters to obtain a Personal Fishing Record Book.Annual spring stocking of legal- size brook trout is in full swing. Hatchery staff will be stocking these trout in easily accessible waters through out the region to create “instant fishing”. These waters are stocked on more than one occasion during the spring to insure fishing success longer into the season. Some of these waters would provide no fishing without a stocking program. Region E waters that receive catchable trout in the spring include: Fitzgerald Pond, Big Moose Twp.; Whetstone Pond, Blanchard Twp.; Hebron Lake, Monson; Shadow Pond, Greenville; Shirley Pond, Shirley; Gravel Pit Pond, Little Moose Twp. (Family Fishing Area); Drummond Pond, Abbot; Power Trout Pond, Little Moose Twp.; Spectacle Ponds, Monson; Long Pond, Long Pond Twp.; Doe Pond, Monson; Sawyer Pond, Greenville; Bennett Pond, Parkman; Prong Pond, Greenville; Big Wood, Jackman; Parlin Pond, Parlin Pond Twp.; West Outlet Kennebec River, Sapling; and Piscataquis River, Dover-Foxcroft and Guilford.-- Stephen Seeback, Fisheries Biology Specialist, GreenvilleRegion F – PenobscotI’m happy to report that over the past week the last lakes in the northern areas of the region lost their covering of ice (except perhaps some of the lakes and ponds in Baxter State Park). With the winter that we had, many were predicting late May ice outs on these northern lakes, it’s amazing how quickly spring has progressed. In the next week to 10 days the fishing on these lakes should really pick up. As for the central and southern areas of the region, now is the prime time for spring fishing for salmon, trout and togue as the lakes have turned over, surface water temperatures have warmed and fish are in the mood for a feast. We’ve heard that salmon are biting at both Upper and Lower Sysladobsis (Dobsie) Lakes, as well as East Musquash, Duck and West Lakes. Anglers should try sewn smelt trolled slowly, alternating between shallow rocky shoals and deeper water areas of the lake to locate feeding salmon. If using streamer flies plan to speed up quite a bit (2.5 to 3 mph). Occasionally pumping the rod when trolling streamers helps give the fly some action, imitating the movements of a wounded baitfish, thus producing more strikes. There are a plethora of spoons on the market these days that work well for all cold water fish, in fact spoons when trolled correctly often will out fish sewn smelts. The old stand by Mooselook Wobblers and Flash Kings are long time favorites of Mainers, however new lures introduced in recent years worth a try include the DB Smelt and Harry Lure. When it comes to trolling style, some folks like to troll around the entire lake, while others have traditional “hot spots”, or troll until they get a bite and then concentrate their efforts on that area, figuring that must be where the smelts are, and hence the salmon.Cold Stream Pond still continues to produce salmon and lake trout; however we’ve noticed a drop off in fishing pressure over the last week now that other lakes are open. I’ve personally fished the lake three times this year with no luck (nothing new for me), but I know others that have caught some handsome salmon weighing 4 to 5 pounds! We’ve had several reports that the salmon and lake trout are biting at East Grand Lake as well. Remember, you are only allowed to fish with one line per angler at East Grand, and the daily bag limit on togue is one fish.Finally, the State hatchery in Enfield started stocking fish this week in area ponds and lakes. Kids should take note that Pickerel Pond on the Stud Mill Road near Old Town was stocked with some beautiful brook trout that averaged over a pound a piece! The Fire Pond in Burlington and Rocky Brook in Lincoln were also stocked this week with some fine looking spring yearling trout. As a special treat for youngsters, all of these waters are also receiving a few large retired trout as well, with most of these fish weighing between 2 and 4 pounds! Good luck and be safe.-- Richard Dill, Regional Fisheries Biologist, EnfieldRegion G – Aroostook CountyThe ice sheet has retreated from most of the major fishing lakes in the region save those that are at high altitude and perhaps in the far north. Smelts are running in many of the lakes and anglers are starting to troll in Long Lake looking for the big salmon. Trout fishing in the small trout ponds in eastern Aroostook County is going straight ahead with many anglers being observed on the shoreline. Stocking of spring yearling brook trout has commenced in some area waters. Black flies will be out soon.The rainfall of April 29 combined with melting snow pack caused flooding problems in northern Maine. You have read about the damage caused in Fort Kent and other communities. Water runoff also washed out hundreds of culverts and damaged several dozen major bridge crossings on private roads in the forests of northern Maine.From Al Cowperthwaite, executive director of North Maine Woods, we bring this information for anglers planning trips to the back country:“Roads were most severely impacted in the region east and west of Oxbow Township extending west to the Allagash River and north to the American Realty Road. Once above the American Realty Road, damage extended west to the St. John River, east to Route 11 and from there all the way north towards Estcourt, St. Francis and Fort Kent. Water crossings at Umsaskis and Henderson Brook on the Allagash River are still under water and indications are the bridges under the water may not be passable for some time. Although roads in the southern parts of North Maine Woods did not receive as much damage, the causeway across the west end of Seboomook Lake is impassable.“Landowners, members of the Maine Warden Service and Maine Forest Service Ranger have been reporting locations where passage is not possible and, with mapping capabilities provided by the Maine Forest Service, we are mapping this information as a service to the public. The map is available at www.northmainewoods.org. This is a dynamic situation with road repairs taking place daily so information on the web site will be updated on Mondays and Fridays until conditions are somewhat back to normal.“There are significant safety issues related to this event. Water has undermined many roads leaving only the top few inches of road surface remaining. Many bridges have also suffered unnoticeable structural damage. Passing over these road sections and unstable bridges can cause cave-ins, vehicle damage and serious personal injury. “Due to these safety concerns, and to hasten the repair process, we are closing the American Realty Road and Fish River/Big Brook road systems to public travel until at least Memorial Weekend. Frost is still coming out of the ground causing unstable road surfaces and keeping unnecessary traffic off road systems will allow crews to do their job without interruption. If you have questions about a specific road, please feel welcome to contact us at the email@example.com and we will do our best to help you.“Forest roads south of the damaged region are in better than average condition for this time of year, so there are still many other opportunities to enjoy the North Maine Woods.”-- David J. Basley, Regional Fishery Biologist, AshlandSubmitted by : Deborah Turcotte, SpokespersonMaine Department of Inland Fisheries and WildlifeSHS 41284 State St.Augusta, ME 04333W: (207) 287-6008C: (207) 592-1164 NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.