AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage signed an emergency resolve Thursday extending the ice fishing season in northern Maine through Sunday, April 16, due to unusually cold weather conditions.
Waters in southern Maine already are open year round to both ice fishing and open water fishing unless closed by special rule.
“Extending the ice fishing season in northern Maine will provide anglers throughout the state similar ice fishing opportunities to those in southern Maine,” said LePage, in a Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife press release. “Not only will this provide for more recreational opportunities for anglers, but also continued economic opportunity for many small businesses that support fishing.”
Under the emergency law, waters that are open to ice fishing as of March 31 in the north region will continue to be open from April 1 through Sunday, April 16. All rules and regulations for those waters that are already open to ice fishing in the north region will remain in effect.
Waters that are not open to ice fishing will remain closed to ice fishing.
April 1 also marks the traditional start to the open water fishing season in the northern region of the state.
“We are pleased that we can extend additional ice fishing opportunities for anglers this year, and we look forward to working to modify the current statute so that a future commissioner may extend or shorten seasons when appropriate,” said Chandler Woodcock, IF&W commissioner, in the press release.
Maine Warden Service encourages anglers to be aware ice conditions can change rapidly in the spring, and to always test the thickness in several locations, be mindful that new ice is stronger than old and that ice formed over flowing water is dangerous.. Wardens also remind people to be respectful of private property and avoid damaging roads when they are muddy.