Fishermen last week took advantage of the early start to the season, proclaimed by Gov. John Baldacci to open March 25.

Water levels are still high from rain, but the fish are biting. State biologists confirm fish being caught from Sebago Lake to the western mountains.

REGION A: SOUTHERN MAINE

Biologist Francis Brautigam said anglers were out en masse last weekend on lakes and ponds around Sebago Lake, some catching their limit.

“I don’t know if the fact there was light ice fishing pressure and a short season had anything to do with it. It’s very encouraging,” Brautigam said. “All in all there were a half-dozen good reports of nice fish being caught.”

REGION B: CENTRAL MAINE

DIFW biologist Robert Van-Riper hasn’t seen many fishermen out, but he has the skinny on where to go.

Hit the big lakes where light ice fishing pressure this warm winter means there are a lot of fall yearlings.

Try Megunticook Lake in Hope, Washington Pond in Washington, China Lake in Vassalboro, Cobbosseecontee Lake in Manchester and Androscoggin Lake in Wayne.

REGION C: DOWN EAST

Cold as it was last weekend, fishermen were out fishing from boats in Washington County.

DIFW biologist Rick Jordan heard fishermen were out on Lake Cathance in Cooper.

“It didn’t even get above freezing that day,” Jordan said.

REGION D: WESTERN MAINE

It’s still early in western Maine for open-water fishing, so state biologists were out last week checking ice fishermen.

Needless to say with the warm weather, they didn’t find any.

Instead, rumors pointed to the Dead River right below Flagstaff Lake where word is fish were caught, said DIFW head biologist Dave Boucher.

REGION E: MOOSEHEAD REGION

Biologist Tim Obrey suspects fly fishermen will be out soon.

He said at Sebec Lake in Sebec, anglers soon should be able to fish from shore.

The earliest ice out for Moosehead Lake is April 14 and Obrey said a record might be set. Open-water fishing on Moosehead still is not legal until May 1, however, despite new fishing regulations that went into effect April 1.

REGION F: EASTERN MAINE

The ice out record was broken on Cold Stream Pond in Enfield where ice went out March 24, breaking the previous record of April 2, 2006. The records have been kept there since 1950, said DIFW biologist Nels Kramer.

“And we still have ice on East Grand Lake. There was still a dozen inches of ice up there,” Kramer said.

REGION G: NORTHERN MAINE

In Aroostook County there won’t be open water for some time, said DIFW biologist David Basley.

There is one change in Aroostook County with the new fishing regulations, and that is the new areas where ice fishing continues in April. In most of Aroostook County the previous fishing regulations remain unchanged.

But on Class A waters, ice fishing extends until April 30, although right now there is poor ice in most places, Basley said.

He recommends ice fishermen try Squapan Lake in Masardis, Arnold Brook Lake in Presque Isle and even Mud Pond in Linneus, which was previously closed to ice fishing.

Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at:

[email protected]