Open water fishing season began Wednesday, and this week, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife starts its open water fishing season previews.
In the coming weeks, the Fisheries Division will highlight one of the seven regions in Maine, starting with southern Maine. The previews will be included in the Outdoors Report, which is written by DIF&W biologists.
For more information on IF&W, visit www.mefishwildlife.com
Reminder: Use your Open Water Fishing law book.
As you prepare your equipment for open water fishing season, don’t forget to locate the Open Water Fishing Regulations booklet that you used last year. This law book is “good” through March 31, 2010. If you’ve misplaced it, you can pick up another one at the DIF&W in Augusta or at most licensing agents.
It would be a good idea to review the law book before you head out to your favorite water. General Law regulations are found on Page 8, but don’t forget many waters have regulations that depart from the general law. Check to see if the body of water you will be fishing is listed under the appropriate county heading. If it is listed, it will be followed by the special regulations that apply to that water. Remember, there were numerous changes specific to individual waters recently, so check the body of water you will be fishing.
A list of a few of the more significant general law rule changes can be found on Page 5 of the Open Water Fishing Regulations booklet. To summarize these changes:
The terms “trout” and “brook trout” now include Arctic charr (see Page 11).
The fall fishing season on the lakes and ponds in southern Maine now extends from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31 (see page 8).
Statewide, the minimum length limit on bass is now 10 inches (see Page 8 for the details).
The old S-23 and S-24 fall fishing seasons have been combined into a new S-24 regulation. Waters having an S-24 designation are open from Oct. 1-Dec. 31, artificial lures only, all trout, landlocked salmon and togue must be released alive at once.
— Dennis McNeish, Fisheries Management Supervisor, Augusta
Stocked trout ready for anglers
The DIF&W fisheries staff have recently completed a second winter of surveying select lakes and ponds in the central and southern Maine region that are stocked with fall-yearling brook trout. These surveys have shown that ice anglers catch up to 80 percent of the fall-stocked brook trout.
This means a number of stocked trout are around for open water anglers as soon as the ice goes off these waters. Anglers can improve their chances of finding these hold-over trout by using boats, canoes or kayaks in order to fish areas away from access areas.
Don’t forget: these large trout also are stocked in some other waters across the state, such as Little Round Pond in Penobscot County and Pickerel Pond in Hancock County.
Many of the fall-stocked ponds will be stocked with brook trout in late April and early May. The spring-stocked brookies, while not as large as the fall yearling trout, are of legal length or larger.
To get an idea of what waters near you are stocked with brook trout go to DIF&W’s Stocking Reports online at www.mefishwildlife.com/fishing/reports/stocking/index.htm. Now start thinking about waters to fish this spring!
— Joe Dembeck, Research Fisheries Biologist, Bangor
Bigger trout may be hooked
Wipe the winters dust from your rods and spool up your reels with new line. It’s time for Maine’s open water fishing season.
Central Maine anglers may wonder why some salmonid waters are managed so differently than others.
The answer is quite simple when you take into account that some waters have more potential than others. The better salmonid waters in the state will demonstrate the ability to hold over salmonids from one year to the next. Most landlocked salmon, togue, brown trout, rainbow trout and splake waters have this ability, enhancing the chances for an older or larger salmonid.
On the other hand many brook trout waters that are stocked in central Maine lack the ability to carry fish beyond the season they were stocked. These waters are referred to as “put and take” trout ponds. “Put and take” waters usually have low dissolved oxygen levels and warm water temperatures during the summer months, as well as abundant populations of predator and competitor fish such as white perch and chain pickerel.
Some waters in central Maine are able to carry over brook trout from year to year, at least in small numbers. These waters are referred to as “put grow and take waters.”
Central Maine has a handful of very productive “put grow and take” brook trout waters. These waters often have stricter regulations to limit harvest until the fish have grown to a more desirable size. To enhance your chances to catch a larger-than-average brook trout this spring, we suggest you try any one of the following waters: Tyler Pond in Manchester; Peters Pond in Waldoboro’ Spectacle Pond in Vassalboro; Kimball Pond in Vienna; Bowler Pond in Palermo; or Basin Pond in Fayette.
— Scott Davis, Fisheries Biologist Specialist, Sidney