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Volunteers Key to Keeping Launch Sites Clean

July 29, 2008 - Maine Fishing Round Up

This past week regional staff spent about six days addressing management issues on Little Sebago Lake (Windham) and Cold Rain Pond (Naples). What I learned from these "projects" is just how many helpful members of the public are out there working to keep our public waters and access sitesclean.

The public launch at Little Sebago in Windham was built more than 15 years ago and remains one of our most heavily used regional water access sites.The size of this waterfront property limits parking and at times the demand for access exceeds available parking. Fifteen years of encroaching tree growth was removed over two days to restore full use and function.

Anyone who regularly launches there has likelymet the very personable Jim and Jacky Fitzgerald of Windham, who greet boaters and request that their boats be inspected for invasive aquatic plants. Jim and Jacky are more than milfoil inspectors; they have become stewards of the facility, voluntarily maintaining a trash receptacle and actively collecting trash.They also try to help with traffic flow. Jim volunteered to repaint the parking area lines. Ed Steward of Windham, a regular user of the launch, paid to rent the striper and paint.

At Cold Rain Pond in Naples, a large ice fishing shack was abandoned, creating quite an eyesore on this picturesque undeveloped pond.While we don't ordinarily go around collecting abandoned ice shacks, our only neighbors on the pond( MDIF&W owns about two-thirds of the shoreline), the Buck Family, were concerned.

The Bucks towed the barely floating ice shack using a canoe and lots of brawn to the IF&W launch site, where we dismantled it and hauled it to the dump.

Anyone proposing to volunteer time on a maintenance project at one of our MDIF&W water access sites in Region A should contact one of the regional fisheries biologists in Gray (657-2345) to obtain permission, unless of course you're assisting with trash removal, which is always a welcome activity.
-- Francis Brautigam, regional fisheries biologist, Gray


Fishing for brook trout and other salmonids has slowed due to rising water temperatures and lower than normal flows, but fishing for bass has picked up. Anglers are having success in both large and small still waters and in our larger rivers, most notably the Kennebec and Sebasticook.

We are in the midst of bass tournament season. Along with Region A, the midcoast area has the most of tournaments in the state. "Club" contests put on by a particular club or association, and "open" tournaments are open to non-club members.

The best times to visit a tournament is at the start or at the end. The start is exciting in that everyone leaves from a specific location, either as a timed or a race-like start.

A better time for a novice angler wanting to learn more about bass fishing is to visit a tournament, especially an open tournament with a weigh-in. A novice will find the opportunity to speak with tournament anglers. They probably won't let on where they fished, but most will talk at length about their sport.

-- Robert Van-Riper, regional fisheries biologist, Sidney


During the last few weeks we have been sampling brooks and streams around Stud Mill Road, north of Route 9. We gained valuable information.

The No. 1 factor in determining where trout were found was water temperature. As long as the water temperature was less than about 70 degrees we found trout. One example is a small brook that is only about 4-5 feet wide and about a foot deep. This brook meanders through some tall grasses and alders, and the flow is quite slow. We recorded a temperature of about 70 degrees, which indicated that this brook has spring influence contributing cold water from underground. The bottom of the brook had at least one foot of soft organic sediment on bottom. We electrofished a section of 150 feet and were pleasantly surprised with the result. In that section we netted 127 brook trout, 10 times more than I would have guessed. The brook was not very well shaded, but it did have undercut banks that provided good shade and cover for brook trout. Only four of the 127 fish were over 6 inches, the majority of the fish had hatched out this spring.

-- Joe Overlock, fisheries biologist specialist, Jonesboro


Stream flows in the Rangeley region are finally beginning to look normal. Late-afternoon thunderstorms seemed like a daily occurrence through much of June, and this kept flows in our major rivers unusually high. On the positive side, the high flows were generally coupled with cooler than average temperatures, so the fishing held up well in places like the Rapid River, the Magalloway River, and the Androscoggin River. As flows and temperatures return to normal, salmonid fishes will seek thermal relief provided by cool tributaries, spring seeps, and in the case of larger lakes, the deeper water.

Over the six weeks or so, we'll be conducting surveys to assess our management programs on small trout ponds with both wild and hatchery stocks, larger lakes for salmon, togue, and brookies, small streams for trout and salmon, and larger streams for brown trout, rainbow trout and bass.

We'll also complete assessments of bass populations in Wesserunsett and Wilson lakes monitor stream restoration projects and complete a few initial surveys of remote ponds.

-- David Boucher, regional fisheries biologist, Strong


Many readers may remember that this past winter new regulations went into effect on Moosehead Lake allowing anglers to keep two lake trout over 18 inches with a no size or bag limit on lake trout under 18 inches.

As usual during winter season our staff put forth a substantial effort to collect creel census data from the Moosehead. To accurately age a lake trout, we have to obtain otoliths, sometimes called ear bones, from the fish. Otoliths lay down a layer of calcium carbonate each year. The layers appear much as the rings on a tree. This summer we will obtain a sample of lake trout from Moosehead. Our goal is to collect a minimum of 30 lake trout from each of these areas.

-- Jeff Bagley, assistant regional fisheries biologist, Greenville


We are getting more and more inquires from parents and grandparents looking for opportunities for young anglers. There are a number of obvious places, including those waters open to "Special Opportunities for Kids" listed on page six in the Open Water Fishing Regulations Book.

Pickerel Pond, in T32, has recently given up brook trout from 10 to 18 inches in length. Other regional hot spots for kids include Rock Crusher Pond in Island Falls, Cold Stream between the hatchery and the lake in Enfield, Jerry Pond in Millinocket and Harris Pond in Milo. As always, the Penobscot River remains one of the premier locations to take kids for an enjoyable evening of bass fishing.

Regional staff will be heading to Baxter State Park this week to do some stream and pond surveys in the southern portion of the park. Center Pond, Abol Pond, Lower Togue Pond and Draper Pond will be checked for any changes in species composition and water quality.
-- Nels Kramer, assistant regional fisheries biologist, Enfield


Summer weather has warmed the surface water of northern waterways so that trout and salmon have retreated to deeper, cooler water. A recent check of a small pond in southern Aroostook County showed trout to be active during evening hours in 15-20 feet of water.

Frequent rain is maintaining excellent flows in rivers and brooks, and springs,are running well. Trout seek out these cooler inlets when temperatures in the main stem increases much beyond 65 degrees F. Trout fishing is very good so far this summer and with light traffic in the North Maine Woods, anglers can have a solitary experience on their favorite trout brook.

-- Frank O. Frost, assistant regional fisheries biologist, Ashland

July 27, 2008
The fishing report is written by biologists at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. For more information, call 287-8000.


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