February 19, 2018
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Late-season anglers may want to target bass

By Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Special to the BDN

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologists have been preparing reports that may help anglers. Here’s the most recent:

Central and midcoast

This time of year is a great time to target bass under the ice.

“Messalonskee Lake has good numbers of smallmouth bass,” said DIF&W fisheries biologist Jason Seiders. “There are good numbers of fish. You need to find that rocky habitat that is 20-30 feet deep and you should have success.”

Last week, a group fishing Messalonskee caught a number of smallmouth bass, averaging about 16 inches, with some up to 19 inches.

“They were in great condition, as well, feeding heavily on baitfish. They were very fat,” said Seiders, who added that many anglers are still landing splake on Messalonskee as well.

Anglers are still catching lake trout on Maranacook, as well as smelts.

“We saw a 15-pound togue caught on Maranacook last week, and they seem to be averaging in the 5- to 6-pound range,” said Seiders.

Smelt fishing continues to be good, as anglers are getting them in deeper water using small tackle. Smelts are in the 5- to 6-inch range.

“They are catching them throughout the south basin, at depths of around 40 feet. There are good numbers of fish, but it can be tricky,” said Seiders, adding that many jigging for smelts will also get an occasional white perch.

Sebago Lakes region

Anglers on Mousam Lake and the Range Pond chain did well recently, as the weather warmed up if only for a short time.

Notable catches on Mousam included an 11-pound lake trout, as well as a four-pound salmon.

“There still are some nice fish to be caught this season,” said DIF&W Fisheries Biologist Francis Brautigam. “This past weekend, we saw some nice coldwater fish landed.”

Along with the salmon, trout and togue, anglers are catching bass as well.

“There’s a much higher incidence of bass this time of year, and many of them are larger bass,” said Brautigam.

Anglers on Sebago are fishing throughout the lake, as the big bay has set up firmly. Anglers are catching lake trout, but many are finding that the lakers have been somewhat difficult to entice.

“They are seeing togue and a lot of bait on their fish finders, but most are saying that the lake trout are finicky,” said Brautigam.

Brautigam also wanted to remind anglers that with the weather we have been experiencing, anglers may very well be ice fishing into April.

Under the county rules section of the fishing law book, if there is still ice on the waterway and the body of water is open to ice fishing, anglers can continue to ice fish into April.

Rangeley Lakes

In the Rangeley Lakes region, anglers are still catching salmon and lake trout.

“I was out on Saturday on Clearwater and Porter Lakes, and anglers had caught a bunch of fish which is unusual as salmon fishing usually drops toward the end of March,” said DIF&W fisheries biologist Dave Howatt.

“I saw eight nice salmon on Saturday and a smattering of togue, brook trout and even some large bass,” said Howatt.

While many of the salmon were in the 16-inch range, there was one 20-inch salmon. Howatt did say travel was difficult on the lake with the frozen tracks, ruts and banks in the plowed areas but should smooth out with the recent snow.

In other parts of the region, there are still close to 50 shacks out on Webb Lake, and just north of Flagstaff Lake, they are still catching some trout on Spring Lake.

Speaking of Flagstaff, Howatt said he has heard some rumors of large salmon caught on the lake. He added that the lake is fairly underfished, but there are certain spots that some of the locals frequent and they do quite well catching cusk as well.


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