Smelt fisherman attracts 911 calls after walking out onto Penobscot River ice shelf

A man tries his luck catching smelts on the ice of of the Penobscot River about 25-30 yards from the Brewer shore Saturday afternoon. The man didn't want to be identified, but he said he didn't catch anything. He measured the ice where he was fishing and it was 16 inches thick.
A man tries his luck catching smelts on the ice of of the Penobscot River about 25-30 yards from the Brewer shore Saturday afternoon. The man didn't want to be identified, but he said he didn't catch anything. He measured the ice where he was fishing and it was 16 inches thick. Buy Photo
Posted Jan. 18, 2014, at 5:44 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 19, 2014, at 9:05 a.m.
A man tries his luck catching smelts on the ice of of the Penobscot River about 25-30 yards from the Brewer shore Saturday afternoon. The man didn't want to be identified, but he said he didn't catch anything. He measured the ice where he was fishing and it was 16 inches thick.
A man tries his luck catching smelts on the ice of of the Penobscot River about 25-30 yards from the Brewer shore Saturday afternoon. The man didn't want to be identified, but he said he didn't catch anything. He measured the ice where he was fishing and it was 16 inches thick. Buy Photo

BREWER, Maine — Several 911 calls reporting a man on the ice were made Saturday afternoon after a Bangor man decided to go fishing for smelts on the Penobscot River’s ice shelf, said Brewer police Cpl. Paul Gauvin.

“We got a call that there was a guy out on the ice walking back and forth,” the corporal said. “They’ve been out there breaking ice and he was about 40 feet from running water.”

The Coast Guard spent Saturday breaking ice along the Penobscot River to prevent ice jams and flash flooding, and to help loosen the ice-locked Kenduskeag Stream.

From the Bangor side of the river, it looked like the man, who is in his 20s but who was not identified by police, was right on the edge of the ice, but the aerial view from the Penobscot Bridge showed he was only about half way out on the ice that extended from the shoreline.

The fisherman had a chair and auger he used to cut his fishing hole into the ice along a very visible crack in the frozen water.

“He was fishing between a shelf and there was open water [along the shore],” Gauvin said. “The guy was pretty adamant, ‘I’ve got 16 inches. It’s safe.’”

Gauvin, who said he doesn’t like ice especially when there is clearly open running water, called the fisherman over to the shore and called Maine Marine Patrol before before allowing him to return to his fishing.

“We’ll keep an eye on him,” Gauvin said. “Just to make sure he’s safe.”

The man told a Bangor Daily News photographer that the fish were not biting.

BDN photographer Gabor Degree contributed to this story.

 

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