The Shawmut Dam section of the Kennebec River was once a destination brown trout fishery until the fishery collapsed slowly over the past five years. Now biologists are working on changing that.

Work is ongoing to develop a more robust strain of browns that can survive in this sketchy section of river where water levels vary greatly.

Elsewhere in Maine, ice is finally out all over, save for the highest elevations and the very top of Maine.

REGION A: SOUTHERN MAINE

Good reports from remote ponds are coming out of southern Maine but the roads in the undeveloped areas are in rough condition, reports regional biologist Francis Brautigam.

The high water in the Presumpscot River has gone down and stocking has begun at the popular stretch along the Route 35 bypass.

Norway Lake in Norway has had consistent action for rainbow trout in the 12- to 18-inch range, said Brautigam.

And Sebago Lake continues to see good action this spring, with salmon in the 14- to 20- inch range and togue upwards of 17 to 23 inches.

“It’s not uncommon to get five or six fish in a trip,” Brautigam said.

REGION B: CENTRAL MAINE

The Shawmut Dam fishery may make a comeback if biologists working on improving the strain of brown trout hatchery fish can find a better one.

“One thing we proposed is putting in a new strain, if we can get something a little more vibrant as far as survival,” said IFW regional biologist Robert Van Riper.

The new fish will be marked so that biologists can gauge how well it survives in that section of river, where water levels can vary greatly.

REGION C: DOWNEAST

Brooks Downeast are just starting to warm up; hatches are beginning; and fishermen are targeting small brook trout streams with success reports IFW biologist Joe Overlock.

“It’s still somewhat cool. It’s getting to be a little more active,” Overlock said.

REGION D: WESTERN MAINE

Finally ice is out everywhere but at the very high-elevation ponds (1,500 to 2,000 feet) in western Maine, and river flows are actually fishable.

All of that might make the Rangeley region the fishing hot spot this week.

Biologist Dave Boucher said there was outstanding fishing at Rangeley Lake at ice out.

REGION E: MOOSEHEAD LAKE REGION

Ice has cleared in the Moosehead Lake region at last but the rivers in northern Somerset and Piscataquis counties are still high and should be avoided at the moment, reported IFW biologist Tim Obrey.

Smelt are running all around the region this week and it should be a good time to catch large salmon and brook trout.

“We’ve heard of some big lake trout coming out of Sebec Lake and First Roach Pond,” Obrey said.

REGION F: EASTERN MAINE

East Grand Lake salmon are looking the best in years, with local guides catching fish in the 3- to 3.5-pound range, said IFW biologist Nels Kramer.

“The good news is the salmon fishery. It’s going through a lot of heartache with the whole landlocked, alewife and smelt interaction. It has reduced the number of salmon,” Kramer said.

The end result is stocking numbers will get bumped up this spring after a reduction in 2007. Kramer said IFW staff are stocking 7,000 this spring, up from 6,000.

REGION G: NORTHERN MAINE

Ice went out in nearly all lakes in Aroostook County last weekend, save for the Chain of Lakes in the Deboullie Preserve, IFW biologist David Basley said.

Smelt runs are starting in southern Aroostook County as well, but fishing hasn’t begun in earnest on lakes in central and northern parts of the county, with fishermen seeing action only on smaller ponds.

Fishing on the larger lakes should pick up in the next week or two, Basley said. He recommends trying the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.

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

[email protected]