Weekly Fishing Report by Maine Regional Fisheries Biologists - 7.23.2007
July 24, 2007 -
Region A - Southwestern Maine
In recent past reports we've mentioned several large fish that were caught this summer in Southern Maine, including two 20-pound class togue; one from Kezar Lake (Lovell) and the other from Colcord Pond (Porter).
Summer fishing on Sebago continues to provide good action, particularly for lake trout. For example, I fished the lake two weeks ago, when I was accompanied by 6 year-old Steven Crawford of Montville. Steven brought some good luck with him as we experienced steady action all morning long. Steven landed 8 togue, the largest of which was 6 pounds; I landed one short salmon. That day the togue were suspended in 30 to 70 feet over water that was 200 feet deep. DB smelt and small stick baits worked equally well on that day. Not surprisingly, the togue were holding in association with abundant schools of suspended smelt that were commonly observed in most areas fished in the Big Bay. Area Warden Jason Luce also reports consistent fishing for togue on Sebago, with anglers commonly reporting catches of 2 to 4 togue per trip. The salmon fishing has finally quieted down some, with the summer fishing offering a greater showing of young salmon. We've received a lot of positive feedback from spring and summer anglers regarding the great fishing on Sebago, and we're encouraged by these positive long awaited changes in the lake fishery.
We are working with several fish and game organizations to develop a long term fisheries management for Sebago. The following organizations will be providing plan input: Sebago Lake Anglers Association, Sam's Classic Salmon Director Larry Fiori, Windham / Gorham Fish and Game, Pine Tree Fish and Game, and the Sebago Chapter of Trout Unlimited. We hope to have a draft plan posted for public comment on the Department's web site by sometime this fall.
Jim and Brian are in the midst of surveying the habitat in Steven's Brook (Bridgton), as part of a multi-year project to remove a concrete dam lower on the brook. Dam removal would restore access to spawning and nursery habitat for salmon and brown trout in Long Lake.
-Francis Brautigam, Regional Fisheries Biologist
Region B - Central Maine-
Aside from the many anglers reporting that bass fishing is good just about anywhere theyinhabit, some anglers are indicating that coldwater fishing is providing some action for those that are working at it. Anglers are reporting some good size brown trout, brook trout, and splake in water that has some depth and where the oxygen and temperature is at a livable conditions for those fish. In waters where we have stocked those species, the best conditions are at 25 feet or deeper. Some of the waters to try are Alford, Maranacook, Great Moose, Pemaquid, Biscay, Damariscotta, Great, Messalonskee, Nequasset, Pleasant, Echo, Togus, Megunticook, and Lake George. Many other waters are stocked with brownies and brookies but water quality makes locating them difficult, and anglers who are familiar with those marginal waters may have a secret cool spot that provides them with a rewarding catch.
River, stream, or brook fishing for bass is paying off for those who pursue them. The best reports are coming from those who fish the slower meanders in the Sebasticook, Nezinscot, Androscoggin and the Kennebec Rivers, and anglers are catching both species of bass with regularity.
Other warm water species such as perch, pickerel, and hornpout are available in many waters in this region and anglers should give them a try in the shallower portion of the waters they regularly fish. Grubs and spinner baits work the best.
-Bill Woodward, Assistant Regional Fisheries Biologist
Region C - Downeast -
Three memories from a youngster who got hooked on fishing for a lifetime
1. It was a hot, calm July afternoon when the 12 year-old successfully rowed his first 100 yards across the cove. After tying a new frog-pattern floating Jitterbug lure to his fishing line, he targeted a cast between a big stump and a patch of lily pads. The lure landed with a “plop”, sending circles of ripples across the quiet water. As the ripples disappeared, the youngster slowly took a few turns on the reel, producing the tell-tale “blub-blub-blub” of the Jitterbug. This time the water exploded into shimmering droplets of water as a two-pound smallmouth bass leaped two feet into the air, producing a memory that would motivate the youngster to become a lifetime fisherman.
2. His Dad and Grampie awakened him at 4 a.m. that Saturday to be on the stream at daylight. He slept in the car on the drive, then pulled on his short rubber boots as first light was breaking through the orange glow in the east. At first he trekked excitedly down the trail that started as an old woods road through the spruce-fir forest, then he shivered as the cold heavy dew of the meadow-grass soaked his clothes in the cool early morning air. At the edge of the first beaver flowage, he hooked a worm just below the gold spinner that his eyes would watch intently all day long as he casted and reeled. It was a slow fishing day, but by late afternoon, he saw a trout chase at the worm and hit it just enough to jiggle the spinner blade – and in those seconds, a visual memory was made that would last a lifetime. No hook-ups today, just a tease from one brook trout, and a burning hope for more that would motivate the youngster to become a lifetime fisherman.
3. The tousled, blond-haired 12 year-old had raked blueberries from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on a hot, August day in Aurora. His Grampie thought the boy was there to rake blueberries to earn money for school clothes, but raking blueberries was just an excuse for the youngster to be close enough to Long Pond for an evening of fishing. He had a cheap fiberglass rod with a long history of thousands of practice casts on his back lawn in Brewer, but no real casts on the water until this blueberry season arrived. His fly matched no hatch ever seen; it was a chartreuse colored wooly worm dry fly – the first fly he had tied himself, but it was highly visible to him and the fish. Did they bite that night? It was a great fishing night by his standards – 3 fish, all caught on flies. Were they all trout like Long Pond is known for? No, they were all pumpkinseed sunfish but they convinced the boy that he could fly fish and that fish would bite his homemade flies, once again motivating the youngster to become a lifetime fisherman.
We all have special memories and stories on how we started fishing. Take someone fishing this summer and introduce them to a wonderful lifetime sport.
-Rick Jordan, Regional Fisheries Biologist
Region D - Western Mountains -
This week we are surveying Douglas Pond in Kibby Township and Fox Pond in Lower Cupsuptic Township. Douglas Pond was first surveyed in August of 1993. It is a very shallow 20-acre pond with a maximum depth of 3 feet. No fish were taken on the original survey; however, anglers have recently reported taking some trout from the pond. A resurvey this week will tell the story. Fox Pond is another shallow 20-acre pond near the Cupsuptic River. It has never been officially surveyed, although a fish sample of minnows and hornpout was taken in 1982. Brook trout may enter the pond seasonally, via the pond’s outlet, when conditions are right.
Hornpout or brown bullheads are common in many waters throughout Maine. With three sharp spines on the fins, they can be a little difficult to handle, but they are very good to eat and fun to catch. The best time to target hornpout is at night with a baited hook on the bottom. Bullheads will have no trouble locating the bait in darkness as it is their normal time to feed. Quality size bullheads, 12 inches and larger, can be found in Fahi Pond in Embden, Locke Pond in Chesterville, Ellis Pond in Roxbury, and Wilson Pond in Wilton, to name just a few. Soaking the fillets in milk for a few minutes before frying adds to the eating quality.
Warm water temperatures in lakes and ponds cause coldwater fish species to seek cooler thermal refuge. These conditions in most large lakes are easy to find, the fish just have to go deeper. That’s also what anglers must do to target salmon and trout. A slow troll using a downrigger or lead-core fishing line is what it takes to get down into the 40-foot deep water where the fish are suspended. If fishing for brook trout or salmon, the Rangeley area is hard to beat. All the larger lakes contain trout and salmon and have good public access. Lake trout anglers can go to Varnum Pond in Temple, Jim Pond in Jim Pond Twp., Spencer Lake in Hobbstown Twp., or Pleasant Pond in Caratunk to find some good action. All these ponds are deep and contain large togue. A sewed-on bait or small streamer fly with a dodger are a couple of good techniques to try.
-Dave Howatt, Fisheries Biologist Specialist
Region E - Moosehead Region -
Last Wednesday the Greenville Fisheries Staff and two members of the Warden Service teamed up to conduct a day of work together. However, this was not a day of field biology on some remote trout pond or an enforcement issue directed at bringing down a large poaching ring. It was a day of education. Our classroom, the shores of Indian Pond in Indian Pond Twp and our students were a group of twenty, 10 to 16 year old boys and girls taking part in a youth outing organized by the Forks Fish and Game Club. Many of these kids were from various regions of Maine and others traveled much further distances such as Texas, Oregon, and one individual was from Denmark (the country). Most of the kids have ties to the Forks area, which brought them here this summer.
This was the fifth year that the Forks Fish and Game Club put on such an outing for youngsters in the area. The outing held last week began with the group canoeing up Indian Pond from Harris Dam to a campsite near the inlet of Indian Stream. They were going to camp there for two nights before heading back down to the dam. The youngsters were broken into 3 groups, each had their own responsibilities for the event. The group took part in many outdoor activities such as fishing, canoeing, animal identification, map and compass, GPS, and they even were introduced to radio telemetry.
The IF&W staff, which met with the group on Wednesday, provided them with information on what we do as fisheries managers and law enforcement officers. Fisheries staff brought along several pieces of sampling gear and explained how it works and what applications we use them for. We had collected a couple of fish earlier in the morning and the kids were able to conduct some fish identification, anatomy identification, and stomach analysis of these fish. The group as a whole, both youngsters and chaperones had several good questions directed at biologists and wardens. We even learned a lot about them, as several of them shared short stories about their outdoor experience.
We would like to thank the youngsters once again for providing a delicious lunch. My hats off to Eric Holbrook and the Forks Fish and Game Club and the time and effort they put forth in providing such a great opportunity for these young people. For a look at our group, please visit our 'Photos from the field', above.
-Jeff Bagley, Assistant Regional Fisheries Biologist
Region F - Penobscot Valley Region -
The highlight of Region F is the excellent smallmouth bass fishing that is being found in the Penobscot River.
We have had reports of excellent fishing from Bangor to Medway. Easy access, great scenery, and a multitude of wildlife sightings all add up to a trip that the whole family will enjoy. The angler can fish from shore, take a canoe, or hire a Maine guide for a trip to be remembered. We have had reports of excellent catches. The bass are mostly in the 1 to 2 lb category but much larger ones are also being caught.
Many of our smallmouth bass lakes are also producing great fishing, South Branch Lake in Seboeis Plt., Baskahegan Lake in Brookton, East Grand Lake in Danforth, Pleasant Lake in Island Fall, Mattanawcook Pond in Lincoln, and Eskutassis Pond in Lowell. If you enjoy fishing for bass, give these waters a try.
Schoodic Lake is producing some good catches of lake trout along with the occasional nice salmon. West Lake has produced some good catches of salmon and brook trout.
Just a reminder, summer is close to being half over, so get out there and enjoy!
-Brian Campbell, Fisheries Biologist Specialist
Region G - Aroostook County -
As we enter the dog days of August and, hopefully, some drier and warmer weather, we might suggest giving the coldwater fish a break and consider spending a few days fishing for pickerel at Drew's Lake in the southern Aroostook town of Linneus. A public boat launch at the outlet allows easy access for boats of all sizes.
The best pickerel fishing would probably be found at the very west end of the lake and in some of the shallow coves on the north shore. We would recommend casting around the emergent vegetation and pond lilies that give these fish cover as they sit and wait for unsuspecting prey. Red and white spoons with large treble hooks are very successful at attracting pickerel to strike. It might be advisable to keep checking the line ahead of the lure after catching several pickerel to check for worn line. A short steel leader attached between the lure and monofilament line would eliminate this problem and not infringe tremendously on the action of the lure. Because these fish have numerous sharp teeth anglers should be very careful in removing the hooks from the mouth. That is the reason for suggesting using large treble hooks on whatever lure is used. A pair of needle-nose pliers would also be a welcomed addition to the tackle box when fishing for pickerel. Should several larger fish be kept in the creel, they make an excellent fish chowder, however, removing the numerous bones is the test of patience required to prepare this table fare.
-Dave Basley, Regional Fisheries Biologist
Regions: Sebago, Belgrade, Rangeley, Moosehead, Sanford, Bangor, Katahdin, Embden, Houlton, Lincoln, Jackman, Presque Isle, Allagash, Calais, Mid Coast, Downeast
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