AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologists are preparing reports that may help anglers in the weeks ahead. Here’s the most recent report:
Ice conditions are good throughout the region, as most areas have 12-16 inches of ice. West Grand Lake opened Feb. 1, a date that every ice angler in the region looks forward to.
“Fishing should be terrific for salmon and togue, with the chance of a togue at over 10 pounds,” said Gregg Burr, DIF&W fisheries biologist. “There is also a pretty good chance of catching a whitefish. They are throughout the lake, but more are found in the Junior Bay area.
Travel on and around the lake should also be good.
“There’s a good 15 inches of ice or more on West Grand. Traveling conditions are patches of ice and snow, with crusty snow in the woods. People will be able to travel around easily,” said Burr.
Anglers interested in ice fishing tournaments should get ready.
This week is the G&M Family Market derby which includes all legal waters in Hancock County. This is a two-day tournament, with a weigh-in each day at the G&M store in Holden. The derby focuses on lake trout, particularly thinning out the lake trout population in Phillips, Beech Hill, Branch and Tunk Lakes. There is a cumulative prize for the largest combined weight of lake trout. Burr said Branch Lake if you are looking to catch a lot of togue.
“I saw two groups catching fish while others were snowmobiling on the pond,” said Howatt. “We are not seeing a lot of fisherman up there, but what groups we are seeing are doing quite well. There’s fast fishing there for both trout and yellow perch.”
“Things have certainly turned the corner in this region,” said fisheries biologist Nels Kramer. “All the crappy weather and poor ice is gone. Conditions are as good as it gets for travel on the ice with 15-20 inches of with decent snow cover.”
Anglers are getting out on the ice in the Penobscot region. Kramer said that Schoodic has been productive lately, with good catches of lake trout, brook trout and some nice salmon.
“One angler caught an 8-pound salmon,” said Kramer, “and some nice togue as well.”
Shacks are set up in the middle looking for togue, and they’ve had some success jigging.
Anglers are using a variety of jigs, such as weeping willows, Kastmasters, Swedish Pimples, and jigs with minnows, “Talk to six guys about what the best jig is, and you will get six different answers,” said Kramer.
Anglers are also getting excited about the 52nd annual Schoodic Lake Ice Fishing Derby, which is slated for Feb. 15 and 16, and also includes Seboeis and Ebemee Lakes. It is one of the oldest derbies in the state.
“There are some great prizes, and the organizers are very cooperative with IFW with the prize structure and how the derby is set up,” said Kramer. There are prizes for biggest fish in several categories and also some great prizes that are drawn for anyone who registers a fish into the derby. For information, check out http://www.trcmaine.org/fishingderby.
In The County, the cold weather has firmed up ice conditions. Traveling is a lot easier, and the fishing has been pretty good, according to fisheries biologist Jeremiah Wood.
“Splake fishing has been very good on Scopan,” said Wood, referring to the lake formerly known as Squapan. “It’s a good fishery but it’s a quiet fishery, not many people take advantage of it.” Wood also noted that the smelt are biting in the Walker Siding area of the lake.
Anglers are also getting smelt on Eagle and Saint Froid Lakes. Bigger fish such as togue are coming a little slower, although there were several five-pounders and a seven-pounder as well.
Activity on Glazier Lake has also picked up. Poor ice conditions kept most anglers off the lake early in the season, but the ice is solid on this border lake, and last week, IFW fisheries biologist Derrick Cote talked to 38 people fishing Glazier.
Wood also noted that it has been fairly quiet on the Allagash Waterway for ice fishermen. Poor weather was a factor for both ice and travel conditions, but it should still be pretty good fishing due to light fishing pressure early in the season.