Being the size of all the other New England states combined, Maine has a variety of fishing opportunities. That’s never more evident than this time of year, when fishermen are enjoying fast action during smelt runs in one part of Maine and waiting for the ice to go out in other parts.
Either way, this is the perfect time to get a fishing license and go wet a line.
The smelt were stagging last week at the mouth of the Songo River, which means one thing: The fishing for salmon in Sebago Lake has been fast, reports regional fisheries biologist Francis Brautigam.
“I would say Sebago is on fire. The guys who know what they’re doing are picking up 12 fish in the morning. The guys who are really good and are fishing the better part of the day, those guys are catching upward of 20 fish,” Brautigam said of the lake, which has a daily bag limit of two fish with a minimum length of 16 inches.
Most salmon caught are in the 2- to-3-pound range, said Brautigam with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
Brautigam said one IFW employee tracked the smelt run and found a ribbon running well over a mile.
Stream fishing in central Maine has been productive with brooks and streams all at fishable levels, reports state biologist Jason Seiders.
Meanwhile, June will mark the beginning of a new study on one river. Biologists will conduct a telemetry study of landlocked salmon, brown trout and rainbows in the Kennebec River from The Forks down to the tidewater.
Biologists will track the fish to see what they use for habitat and how the dams affect spawning.
Salmon fishing also is fast along the Down East coast, reports regional biologist Greg Bur. He recommends trolling with streamer flies and getting out early.
Hatches have begun in the region and can be expected for another month, Bur said.
While the fishing is fast in the southern half of Maine, lakes are still socked up north.
In the Rangeley region, there is mostly ice on the big lakes like Rangeley and Mooselookmeguntic, reports biologist Bob Van Riper.
That means smelt runs are still to come.
Van Riper has been busy conducting a report of the bass waters in his region, which is famous for its wild brook trout waters. So far, he’s documented 11 largemouth bass fisheries.
MOOSEHEAD LAKE REGION
The ice officially went out of Moosehead on Sunday, and most of the lakes and ponds in the Greenville area are now clear, reports regional fisheries biologist Tim Obrey.
The Chamberlain area may still hold ice on the smaller, isolated ponds. But Obrey reminds fishermen the week after ice-out is the best for hooking into a big brook trout. And he said the ice fishing season suggests there will be fast brook trout and salmon fishing on Moosehead this spring.
The ice on East Grand Lake went out April 20. And ice-out on Matagamon Lake should take place the middle of this week, biologist Nels Kramer predicts.
Overall the water bodies are warming up fast in Eastern Maine, although the fishing reports have not picked up yet, Kramer said.
The smelt runs are either taking place or already done. And the stocking season is about to begin in this region.
Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at: