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For Immediate Release

September 9, 2003

September 9, 2003 Freshwater Fishing Report

Region A- Southwestern Maine I recently returned from my Montana fishing trip, the scenery and the fishing were spectacular and quite different than here at home. Of course, its nice to be home and I look forward to Maine's terrific fall fishing season. I can't wait to hook into a colorful, fall spawning brookie and a ballistic landlock. Numerous reports indicate the fishing is picking up statewide, and I have had several reports from regional anglers suggesting things are really starting to turn on again in the southern part of the State.

Our census clerk (Greg) reported surface water temperatures on several waters are just beginning to drop into the high sixties, whereas the Little Androscoggin River in Oxford was in the mid-sixties. According to him, these temperatures have already created an improvement in the local angling. One of his buddies caught a couple of rainbows and a brookie on the Little Androscoggin, which has basically been very quiet for the past month and half. In addition, anglers on the Range Ponds in Poland are starting to pick up more trout after a slow month. He reported seeing several 18" rainbows over the weekend and he expects to see a few trophy browns in the next week or two. The cooler temperatures are beginning to bring the trout closer to the surface and anglers may want to try re-adjusting their trolling depths to the 15-25' range. We also had a call last week from an out-of-state angler reporting some fantastic fishing on one of our smaller trout ponds, he landed a couple of beautiful 18 inch bows at Overset Pond in Greenwood.

Greg was out on Sebago on Sunday and reported a slower day for many anglers; however, almost everyone he saw reported fantasic fishing for lakers in the 2-4 pound range last week. One angler he spoke with had caught 19 togue in one day!!! Don't forget the 2003 Openwater Sebago Lake Trout Derby...the Derby runs from Friday (Sep. 12) to Noon on Sunday (Sep. 14). Last minute anglers can register at several local sites right up till noon time on Friday. The derby features several adult and junior prize categories including the largest sized fish daily/tournament, and the heaviest 1-day creel. For more information contact the Sebago Lake Marina @ 207-787-2444.

-Jim Pellerin, Assistant Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region B - Central Maine Years ago in a project study at a local water, we were being assisted by a regional wildlife biologist who landed two smallmouth bass on one lure. So what goes around comes around, when regional wildlife biologist G. Keel Kemper stopped recently at an attractive fishing hole on his way to work, and on his first cast of the day, realized that he had more on then what he usually caught. When he finally got his lure in, he had a smallmouth and a largemouth bass on the same lure. Bass fishing is really hot right now at many area waters. The Kennebec was the site for a state tournament and there are many bass being boated at several sites from Madison down that indicates the feeding frenzy on anadromous alewives will begin in earnest in the coming weeks. Lakes and ponds will also provide some hot action, and you can pick just about any in the central Maine area, and they should provide good action.

Coldwater angling should improve in the coming weeks also, as cool nights and increased flows are expected. As a local dam tender in the Belgrade area has indicated, water levels in area lakes have been held fairly high, and that allows for earlier releases from the lakes in order to prepare for fall rains and winter drawdowns. These area dams will be attractive sites for some good action with browns and salmon. Brook trout will also find their way to these "attraction flows" and will provide some pleasant fishing for Maine's most popular fish.

Biologists are preparing for population checks at several waters in the coming weeks, either through electrofishing or trap netting. The fall season is an excellent opportunity for many to observe the fall runs of salmonids at many of the falls and dams that are found throughout the region. A good way to find these sites that are holding fish is to look on a topographical map or the Maine Gazetteer, for features that indicate drastic changes in elevation near a water course. The site may have a dam or a waterfall that attracts all sorts of fish and accompanying anglers.

Keep in mind a few words attributed to Joe Brooks: " Of the many species of fish, each has its own special appeal, but none has the universal charisma of the trout...of all fish, the trout demands the most of the angler... and gives the most in return."

--Bill Woodward, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region C - Downeast Fall! - the season many Mainers live for, with its cool nights, bright sunny days, and colorful foliage. With every passing day, September weather produces a change from warmwater summer fishing to renewed surface fishing opportunities for landlocked salmon, brook trout, and brown trout as crisp autumn nights cool the surface waters.

As coldwater sport fish approach the fall spawning season, they return to the shoreline in search of spawning habitat. Knowledgeable lake and pond anglers will experience success near tributaries and outlets. Grand Lake Stream, West Grand Lake, Alligator Lake (T 34 MD), and Long Pond (Mt. Desert Island) are good chances for fall salmon fishing. For fall brook trout, try Monroe Lake (T 43 MD), West Monroe Pond (T 43 MD), Simmons Pond (Hancock), and Long Pond (Aurora). Good bets for brown trout are Walker Pond (Brooksville), Lily Pond (Deer Isle), Jones Pond (Gouldsboro), Long Pond (T 10 SD), Six-Mile Lake (Marshfield), and Simpson Pond (Roque Bluffs).

Fall is also a prime time for white perch fishing. Anglers who locate schools of this delicious sport fish have fast fishing and ensure many meals of fried perch fillets or fish chowder. If you're looking for perch, try Grand Falls Flowage (Princeton), Big Lake (T 27 ED), Pocomoonshine Lake (Alexander), Third Machias Lake (T 42 & 43 MD), Chain Lakes (T 26 ED), Georges Pond (Franklin), Abrams Pond (Eastbrook), Lower Patten Pond (Surry), or Green Lake (Dedham and Ellsworth).

Biologists will start fall electrofishing soon with both backpack units and electrofishing boats to sample young-of-the-year bass along the shoreline of ten Downeast Region bass lakes to collect first-year growth information. Because young-of-the-year smallmouth bass do not grow when the water temperature is below 50 F (from late October through late April), their survival during the first winter depends on stored body reserves, with larger individuals surviving better than small ones. The information collected will permit us to assess the potential survival of bass from this year's spawning.

-- Rick Jordan, Assistant Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region D - Western Mountains Water temperatures are dropping quickly in the hills with daytime air temperatures in the 70's and nighttime temperatures in the 40's or 30's. Fortunately for stream anglers, we had a series of rain events in late August to draw fish from the lakes so that fishing has been good in the Kennebago, the Rangeley River, the Magalloway River, the Rapid River, and others. Fishery Specialist Dave Howatt recently talked to a party that left Pleasant Pond, Caratunk, with their limit of 3 to 6 pound lake trout. Rangeley Lake has held its own and I'm still hearing reports of 6 and 7 pound salmon as well as some nice brook trout. Trout are beginning to 'color up' into their spawning colors. September will go quickly so these are the clear, beautiful days to get out and enjoy some fine fishing whether it's trolling, pond fishing or casting on the rivers.

At the end of the summer field season, we find that much of our ambitious work schedule remains uncompleted. We typically sample a number of waters each summer to assure that stocked fish are performing well, that regulations are working as intended, or that wild fish populations are healthy, for example. With 300 waters in our Region, we can only sample a few dozen waters a year at the most. Recently, however, much of our time has been taken up responding to illegal fish introductions. We have spent more than 50 work days the past two summers on the illegal Rapid River bass introduction alone, with much more work still to be done. None of this work includes efforts to totally eradicate bass populations, for we realize that efforts to eliminate established populations in large bodies of water is futile, much like attempting to eliminate coyotes is futile. Instead, we are monitoring their interaction with coldwater fish, and are developing strategies to prevent them from migrating into new waters and to reduce their numbers in areas critical to coldwater fisheries.

-Forrest Bonney, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region E - Moosehead Region

From Greenville to the north and west, last Thursday's showers produced very little relief from an extended period of dry weather. Fortunately, recent cool weather has helped to prepare our waters for late summer fishing. Thanks to flows from water stored behind dams, traditional September fisheries on the West Branch of the Penobscot River, the Roach River, the East Outlet of the Kennebec River, the West Outlet of the Kennebec River, and the Moose River are now in full swing, and action has been reported from all fronts. Most of these waters will close to fishing on September 30th. However, Moosehead's East and West Outlets will remain open through October under "catch and release" regulations.

To the south of Greenville, last Thursday's inch of rain provided a small, but short-lived "bump" in stream flows. In response to the showers, the flow in the Piscataquis River increased from 25 cfs to 65 cfs, but that rate is slowly dropping with each day that passes without more rain. When we receive more rain, and the flow increases enough to allow stocking, 1,500 fall yearling brown trout are scheduled for the Piscataquis from Guilford to Dover-Foxcroft.

The crew at IF&W's Palermo Rearing Station have done an outstanding job in raising these fish. According to Fish Culture Supervisor Mike Roach, the browns now average nearly a pound apiece. They will surely provide some exciting action for Piscataquis River anglers in the weeks to come. The good thing about the Piscataquis is that it remains open to open water fishing year-round. Therefore, even if the browns cannot be stocked before the end of September, anglers will still have plenty of fishing opportunity in October and November.

Although the daily bag limit allows taking 2 trout year-round, we expect these browns will contribute to the fishery throughout the coming winter, wherever the river remains ice free, and even into next spring and early summer. Brown trout do seem to get harder to catch the longer they stay in the river, making them perhaps the most challenging to catch of all our coldwater species.

Also under the category of more fishing opportunity in the Moosehead Region, the long awaited public access at Mountain View (Fitzgerald) Pond has been constructed and is now open for use. Thanks to the strong commitment of Commissioner Martin and Deputy Commissioner Jacques, Maine anglers finally have a convenient access to this 550-acre body of water located just off Route 15 between Greenville and Rockwood. Contractor Mike Therriault and his crew have done a fine job in constructing the access driveway, a parking area, and the boat launch.

People will discover that the Mountain View Pond boat launch offers a spectacular vista to the west, and we invite everyone to go in and take a peak. Please remember, though, this is a day use site where camping and fires are not allowed. That should not prevent folks from enjoying a picnic there, as long as they do not block the access for parking and boat launching. Also remember, a Carry In - Carry Out policy is in effect for trash. We hope all who use this site will take pride in maintaining its condition.

Mountain View Pond can now be added as one more water with public access in the immediate vicinity of Moosehead Lake where IF&W improves local trout fishing opportunities by stocking legal-size brook trout each spring. Next year, 5,400 brook trout are scheduled for stocking there. These fish are now fingerlings at the Enfield Fish Hatchery. Over the coming winter, under the care of Fish Culture Supervisor Tim Knedler and his team, these trout will be grown to average 10 inches by the time they are stocked.

That's more good news for Maine anglers from the Moosehead Lake Region!

-Paul Johnson, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Region F, Penobscot Region As the days get shorter and the water temperatures begin to cool, the trout and salmon will begin to congregate and start to head for their spawning areas. This can provide some excellent fall fishing.

This week in Enfield, at the Cobb Fish Hatchery we will be marking approximately 124,000 fish to be stocked out this fall and next spring. This is done with the help of some local citizens, some of whom have been assisting the department with fin clipping for 25 years. The fish are moved from their pools, placed in a pool with anesthetic in the water. Then the fish are put in submerged nets in front of the fin clippers. The fin clippers remove the appropriate fin with clippers, and place them in a trough of running water that returns them to their pool. This fall we are marking approximately 75,000 brook trout, 34,000 splake and 15,000 lake trout. Next spring, we have a additional 15,000 landlocked salmon to be marked at the Cobb Hatchery. Removing a different fin each year allows the fisheries biologists and voluntary anglers to identify hatchery fish and the year of stocking.

Smallmouth bass and white perch are still biting very well. One angler reported having great success on Lower Hot Brook ( T8R4 NBPP). We are also hearing that Dolby Pond ( East Millinocket), East Grand and Spednic Lake (Forest City), Pleasant Lake ( Island Falls), and the Penobscot River are all producing some great bass fishing.

As fall approaches some anglers tend to lose interest in fishing and start thinking about hunting. Just a reminder, some of the best fishing Maine has to offer is in the fall. And the black flies and mosquitoes generally tend not to be around.

Enjoy the great state of Maine.

--Brian Campbell, Fishery Biology Specialist

Region G - Aroostook County

Some reports from area small trout ponds have been of excellent fishing with trout venturing into shallow water for short periods of feeding. Various methods will work this time of year, including casting or trolling natural baits or use of artificial lures and flies, either by casting or trolling. Many anglers prefer this time of year for surface fishing with wet or dry flies where trout and salmon sometimes readily strike when conditions are right. For this type of fishing select brightly colored (red, orange) patterns that will oftentimes yield heavy strikes by overly aggressive fish. In northern Maine conditions look perfect for some excellent fall fishing and many lakes and ponds remain open through October (check lawbook for the S-23 special regulation).

Want a quick trip close to home in the early morning or evening? Many trout waters exist close to population centers in Aroostook County that are easily accessible and can yield some great fishing action. Try these: Meduxnekeag River (Houlton, Littleton), Logan Lake (Houlton), Conroy Lake (Monticello), Echo Lake (Presque Isle), Aroostook River (Presque Isle, Caribou, Fort Fairfield), Little Madawaska River (Caribou, Connor Twp.), Monson Pond (Fort Fairfield), Black Lake (Fort Kent), Fish River (Wallagrass, Fort Kent), Wallagrass Lakes (St. John Plt.), and Hunnewell Lake (St. John Plt.). Fishing regulations vary on these and other waters, but offer the range of general law fishing to more restrictive regulations intended to maintain fishing quality - check the lawbook or call the regional office for information.

-Dave Basley, Regional Fisheries Biologist




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