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The Latest IFW Fishing Report

Region A – Sebago Lakes Region

Maine 2016 Fishing reportIn the Sebago region, the rainbow trout fishing is heating up.

“We’ve been hearing about some good rainbow fishing in the region, particularly in the western part of the state. Some of the fish are pushing four pounds,” said IFW fisheries biologist Francis Brautigam.

The smelt run is starting to wane on Sebago. There still are some at the mouth of the Songo, but salmon are starting to redistribute throughout the lake as the smelts disperse. Anglers may want to try around the western shore, or down at the southern end of the lake.

sebago salmon verticalWater temps are still in the low 40s on Sebago. Some anglers have switched from trolling smelts to trolling streamers, but the results still have been excellent. One angler targeting togue caught 18 togue and three salmon; another netted 8 togue and three salmon.

With water levels lower than you would normally find this time of year, some anglers are hitting area streams with good success, catching a fair amount brookies and browns, some that have held over from the fall.

If you are looking for some panfish, it seems to still be a little early for the white perch spawn, but there are some big yellow perch spawning this time of year. Biologists were out trapnetting on Ossipee and the yellow perch captured in the nets were dripping with eggs or milt.

Bass fishing hasn’t really started to heat up, but this time of year, bass are seeking out shallower coves and the mouths of inlets where you will find warmer water.

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

In central Maine, anglers hitting some of the area rivers are doing very well.

“Fishing on the Nezinscot has been phenomenal. There are a lot of brookies and browns in the river, some reaching 17 or 18 inches. The Nezinscot should fish well into June,” said IFW fisheries biologist Jason Seiders.

Anglers have also been doing well on the Kennebec up in the Bingham and Madison areas. One angler caught two rainbows, one 27 inches and another that was 20. In Madison between the dam and the Sandy River, anglers are catching some nice holdover brown trout.

“White perch runs are just getting started. North Pond in Smithfield always has a very strong run, as do many lakes in coastal and central Maine. Target large inlets and you will likely find white perch spawning this time of year,” said Seiders.

If we ever get some nice, warm, sunny weather, bass will be moving into the shallows. Usually the first bass into the shallows are the larger fish so don’t miss out.

Relatively low water levels have resulted in outstanding small brook fishing for brook trout. Now is the time as the there are no black flies and plenty of fish. Look for streams that are a little in higher in elevation, or streams that you know stay cold in the summer. Even if you think they are too small, they probably hold some trout as long as it stays cool.

Region C — Downeast

Now is the time to fish in Washington County.

“The fishing is great, everything is coming alive,” said IFW fisheries biologist Greg Burr. “Streams have warmed and are producing brook trout, salmon are still on top and biting in area lakes and bass are beginning to move into shallower water.”

Reports are coming with some very good catches at West Grand Lake, Branch Lake and Beech Hill Pond.

“At Branch, they are catching some beautiful salmon in the 19-22 inch range, and Beech Hill is producing nice salmon as well,” said Burr. “On West Grand, most of the salmon are in the 16-19 inch range, and they are experiencing great catch rates.” On West Grand Lake, one angler even caught a 35 inch togue.

On Grand Lake Stream, salmon have started to move throughout the river. The river was also recently stocked with brook trout, giving anglers and added bonus. There is also a kids’ only fishing area in the canal that was also recently stocked with brookies.

Other trout ponds you might want to try include Indian Lake in Whiting, Salmon pond in Township 30, Berrypatch Pond in Township 31 and West Pike Pond in Deblois. Jones Pond in Gouldsboro is also gaining in popularity as anglers are catching some nice rainbows there.

“Now is just a great time to fish,” said Burr.

Region D – Rangeley Lakes

If you are looking to go fishing in the Rangeley area, you may want to try Rangeley Lake.

Biologists talked with fisherman on the lake, starting the day after ice on the 21st. Catches have been very good. Last weekend, they checked over 70 boats that had caught 183 legal salmon. On average, salmon are running in the 19-20 inch range, but they did measure one that was 22.5 inches and weighed just over four pounds.

“The salmon are looking good – healthy and fat,” said IFW fisheries biologist Liz Thorndike. “Anglers are also picking up some trout as well.” Most anglers are trolling sewn-on smelts at slow speeds.

Nearby on Richardson Lake, anglers are catching some very nice lake trout. One angler landed two togue that were both over 30 inches.

Elsewhere, smelt are still running on Aziscohos, with scattered reports of good fishing on the Rapid as well as the Magalloway. Overall, stream and river fishing is picking up as the flows are very fishable now.

Region E – Moosehead Region

The fishing on Moosehead now is very good.

“We’ve heard some good reports from Moosehead,” said IFW fisheries biologist Tim Obrey. “Smelts are still running in the Moose River. That’s the place to go for salmon, togue and trout. Anglers are catching salmon up to 21 inches.”

On Moosehead, the smelts are still running on the northern end of the lake, but the runs have petered out in the southern end.

IFW stocking trucks have also made several trips to the area, and one of the more popular fisheries is the West Outlet. Anglers have caught some nice brook trout there. Other rivers in the area including the Roach still might be a little too cool to fish.

“It’s still early – there’s still ice on Allagash,” said Obrey.

Now is also a good time to try some of the smaller ponds in the Moosehead area.

“Now’s the time of year when people catch the biggest trout out of these small ponds. The next two weeks are likely really good for bigger fish,” said Obrey. “There’s usually a few midge hatches around midday, and anglers can catch some nice trout on wet flies during the day as well.”

Region F – Penobscot Region

Smelt runs have been strong in the Penobscot Region, and that translates to good fishing and large fish.

“In the north end of the region, ice went out two weeks ago on places like Matagammon, Shin Pond and Scraggly. For the most part, we’ve had some good smelt runs, but they have been extremely good in some places,” said IFW Fisheries Biologist Nels Kramer, who said that the size and condition of the salmon they are seeing is excellent.

“Schoodic and Cold Stream pond are looking really good,” said Kramer. “It’s still a little early for Matagammon and the East Branch of the Penobscot but those are probably good as well.”

Ice went out on East Grand a month ago, but cold and windy weather have limited fishing activity there. This weekend could be really good there with the winds likely diminishing Saturday.

“The head of the lake has produced some good, healthy salmon but down at the southern end, we just haven’t seen many anglers due to the wind. When we have seen fish, we have seen some very nice salmon,” said Kramer.

It’s still early up in the Katahdin/Baxter Park area, but they are opening the Park Tote Road to Foster Field on Monday. This will give anglers access to Daicey, Kidney and Draper ponds.

“There’s some pretty good ponds in that neighborhood and anglers do well,” said Kramer. “We did some netting in there and the results were astounding.”

Region G – Aroostook Region

Up north, winter is still hanging on in much of the region. Basically, the further north and west you go, the more likely you are to find ice on ponds and lakes, while waters are more open to the south and east of the region.

“In the northwest corner of our region there’s still a lot of snow in the woods and the roads are just beginning to open,” said IFW Fisheries Biologist Frank Frost. “The southern and eastern part of the region is ice-free.”

However, that could change soon.

“By the weekend, we expect ice outs to begin to spread from the east to the west. Eagle Lake should be out by the weekend and others will follow,” said Frost. Eagle is usually the first lake for ice out in the Fish River chain, and Long Lake is the last.

Smelts have just started to run in the Fish River Chain, while most of the smelt runs in the southern part of Aroostook are done.

“Square and Eagle are very good ice out fisheries, along with the thoroughfares. Smelt are spawning in the thoroughfares and the salmon and trout are following them into the tributaries,” said Frost.

Ice is out in the shallower ponds in eastern and southern Aroostook. Many of those ponds are heavily stocked and the ice out fishing can be excellent.

Even with the recent rain, water levels are lower than you would normally see for this time of year. Anglers may want to check out the Fish River, as there has been some good fishing both above and below the falls.

About Alexander Theberge

Alex is the former creative director of The Maine Sportsman. An avid fisherman and professional photographer he enjoys everything about the outdoors.
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