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.
West Grand Lake is still offering some fast fishing.
“There’s been some good catches of salmon in the 18- to 21-inch range, lots of togue in great shape in the 18- to 22-inch range, and a lot of whitefish,” said DIF&W fisheries biologist Greg Burr.
Anglers who are catching whitefish are using small smelts and small shiners, or jigging with cut bait on small jigs.
“Whitefish can be very finicky. Cameras show that sometimes they will nose or bump the bait, then all of a sudden, hit the bait,” said Burr, who said a few years back, some winters there would be a whitefish village set up in Junior Bay, with up to 40 shacks in one area.
“It’s still there, but on a smaller scale. People would spend their whole weekends in the shacks,” said Burr.
Anglers will find good traveling on West Grand, with 20-24 inches of ice. Be aware, however, that there are pockets of slush. Traveling on lakes and ponds closer to the coast is even better.
Burr also added that bass are getting more active and starting to bite, as we get later in the season. The key to success in winter bass fishing is finding their wintering areas.
“Bass can be pretty dormant. Some lakes are full of smallmouth, but you won’t catch them unless you find the overwintering areas,” Burr said.
On Moosehead Lake, anglers also are still having success.
“It’s been pretty steady up here,” said DIF&W fisheries biologist Tim Obrey. “Catch rates for trout have been pretty typical of what we have seen the last couple of years.”
Now that March is here, some of the lakes such as Allagash, Lobster and First Roach have closed, but there are still plenty of waters to fish.
“Anglers out on Sebec have done well for togue, and they are still catching plenty of salmon up on Chesuncook,” he said.
Catch rates have also been good on Manhanock in Parkman. The pond received a good stocking of brook trout this fall, and anglers have been catching some big bass as well. “It’s a really good fishery,” said Obrey.
Lake travel is good. There is some slush for snowmobilers, and on most lakes, the snow is getting a little too deep for ATVs.
In Region F, fishing on East Grand Lake is picking up.
“Early in the season, we were getting reports of slower fishing, but the last few weeks, anglers are doing well on lake trout and with some good fish in the 3- to 5-pound range,” said DIF&W fisheries biologist Nels Kramer.
On Junior Lake, anglers are reporting good catches of both whitefish and salmon, and anglers are seeing whitefish in Scraggly as well.
In some parts of the region, anglers are targeting perch. If you are looking for some perch for a fish fry, Kramer suggests heading to Saponac Pond or Eskutassis Pond.
“We do see quite a few people heading out for perch, and they’ll get not only perch, but the occasional bass as well,” Kramer said.
“Anglers are having good luck out on Madawaska, catching brook trout,” said DIF&W fisheries biologist Frank Frost. “The trout are biting extremely well.”
Madawaska offers some fine brook trout fishing and easy access.
“It’s close to Caribou, has good access, and it’s a good place to take the kids,” Frost said.
Snowmobile travel in the area has been good, with easier travel farther north, as the latest storms have dumped more snow in the southern part of the region.
“Traveling is better in the north than in the central and southern part of the region where there is lots of slushy, deep snow on the lakes,” said Frost.
Fishing pressure always drops off on Long Lake as the season progresses, but there are still big fish to be had there.
“There’s not as many anglers out there, but there still is the opportunity to catch big salmon,” said Frost, who said over the years, large salmon have been caught throughout the lake.
Anglers who are eyeing something smaller might want to try smelt fishing in the region. Frost said that smelt fishing has been good on Eagle Lake, St. Froid and Portage. Mornings tend be the best time to smelt fish those lakes.