DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Local Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologists were credited Wednesday with keeping the public so well-informed about fishing regulation proposals that only one person attended a public hearing on the matter.
The hearing, one of three being held throughout the state, was a chance for the public to comment on the department’s new consolidated open water and ice fishing book that will be produced every two years, as well as regulation changes on specific bodies of water.
DIF&W Commissioner Danny Martin reported that about 20 people attended a public hearing on Tuesday in Princeton, and a third public hearing is set for 6:30 p.m. today at the Auburn Middle School in Auburn. The public has until 5 p.m. Oct. 5 to submit comments to the department regarding the proposed rule changes. Staff will review the comments before the proposals are voted on by the DIF&W advisory council in late October.
In summarizing the proposed changes, John Boland, fisheries division director, said that after more than a year of work, the open water and ice fishing law books were consolidated. He said the move was based partially on funding, but he also noted that several states were polled and Maine was the only state that had two sepa-rate law books.
“We’re just trying to make it simpler,” Boland said Wednesday.
As for fishing regulation changes, the DIF&W has proposed that open water fishing be allowed in all waters open to ice fishing which would provide a lot more fishing opportunities, according to Boland.
Locally it is proposed that Mud Greenwood Pond in Willimantic, which has not been stocked since 1980, be closed to fishing until a study is completed by biologists. The biologists plan to stock the pond and then study the fisheries for a few years before managing it for trophy fishing.
Other proposed changes would affect Piscataquis County waters as follows:
• Doe Pond would be open to ice fishing as requested by residents.
• The one fish bag limit on togue over 18 inches and the five fish limit for togue under 18 inches would return for Moosehead Lake and its tributaries.
• The bag limit and slot limit of native brook trout would be reduced at Twin Pond No. 1 and No. 2 in Township 4 Range 9. The slot limit specifies the minimum and maximum size range of fish that must be released.
• The use of live fish as bait would be prohibited at Brown Pond in Township 8 Range 9.
• The extended fall season would be eliminated at Echo Lake in Township 9 Range 11.
• A daily bag limit on trout to one fish with a minimum length of 14 inches would be imposed for Millinocket Lake and Little Millinocket Lake in Township 7 Range 9, Township 8 Range 9 and Township 7 Range 10.
For information on the proposed fishing changes, visit www.state.me.us/ifw/. Comments can be forwarded to Andrea Erskine at firstname.lastname@example.org or sent to her attention at Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, 284 State St., 41 SHS, Augusta 04333-0041.