The statewide fishing report compiled by the Maine Sunday Telegram runs every two weeks.

Spring has come early for open-water fishing season across the entire state.

This weekend will be cold in Aroostook County, but the fishing could be hot. And from southern Maine to eastern Maine, the smelt runs are going strong. That means tight lines.

SOUTHERN MAINE

Reports around the southern region indicate fast fishing and big catches.

The landlocked salmon fishing has been very good on the bigger lakes in the region, including Auburn, Thompson and Sebago, reports regional fisheries biologist Francis Brautigam.

Right now at the mouth of the Songo River, the smelt runs are attracting lake trout and salmon in that northern corner of Sebago. Brautigam said here there have been salmon caught in the 16- to 20-inch range, and lake trout as large as 23 inches.

In addition, plenty of browns in the 2- to 6-pound range have been caught throughout Cumberland and York counties, Brautigam said.

DOWN EAST

Regional fisheries biologist Greg Burr said all lakes in the region are now ice free, and fishermen are having the best luck on small ponds.

Burr recommends trolling for landlocked salmon. He also noted that fishermen already are out in good numbers fishing from tubes and canoes.

WESTERN MAINE

Rivers are running at low summer levels in the region, but biologist Jason Seiders said the fish are biting like it’s spring. The brook trout fishing in the Sandy River is especially fast right now.

“It was just stocked, and there are also holdover fish (from the fall),” Seiders said.

Meanwhile, the salmon fishing in Rangeley Lake historically is fast the two weeks after ice-out, so this year, that’s now, Seiders said.

EASTERN MAINE

Smelt runs are going strong in this region, particularly on the West Branch of the Penobscot River, fisheries biologist Nels Kramer reports.

He reminds fishermen that the bag limit on smelts was reduced this year on the West Branch from 2 quarts to 1 to ensure ample forage for game fish.

Finally, the ice went out at East Grand Lake on April 16, making it not the earliest year, but close to it. That record was set in 2006, when the ice went out April 6.

MOOSEHEAD LAKE REGION

Last week was the first ice-free week on lakes and ponds in the Moosehead region. And like everywhere, the streams are running low due to a lack of rain, but that makes the fishing quite good, said regional biologist Tim Obrey.

Moosehead is not open for fishing until May 1, but Obrey has had good reports of brook trout caught in First Roach Pond. He recommends looking for brookies close to the shore, where the fish are cruising for a meal this time of year.

Finally, the smelt runs have already started in the southern end of the region. And Obrey expects those to be in full swing this week.

NORTHERN MAINE

The County had record-breaking warm days April 15, 16 and 17, and, like everywhere, is two weeks early as far as fishing.

Regional biologist David Basley said by this weekend ice would be out on all the lakes along the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, and the ice-cold water would offer good fishing.

He cautions anglers in boats and canoes to wear life vests, because the water is dangerously cold this time of year.

Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at: [email protected]

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