If you are a recreational saltwater angler, Maine law may require you to register with the Maine Saltwater Recreational Fishing Registry. To learn more or to register visit www.maine.gov/saltwater or call 633-9505. Here are the current conditions:
A few sharks have been reported, including at least two documented reports of sand tigers. Note that this species of shark is illegal to retain. With sharks, “If you don’t know, let it go.” The minimum size for all keeper sharks (makos, porbeagles, threshers and blues) is 4 feet, 6 inches in length.
Atlantic bluefin tuna are here but there have not been any confirmed reports of fish landed by rod and reel. Try trolling for these fish if the dogfish are a nuisance instead of setting up on the ball and chunking. All vessels fishing recreationally for Atlantic tunas, sharks, swordfish, and billfish must have an Atlantic HMS Angling Permit. For more information about permits and regulations, contact NOAA Fisheries at 1-888-872-8862 or visit its website at hmspermits.noaa.gov.
Cod, pollock and haddock are the mainstays for those targeting groundfish. New in 2014, the minimum size for cod and haddock is 21 inches. The daily bag limit is 9 fish per person for cod and 3 fish per person for haddock.
The Portland weather buoy, 12 nautical miles southeast of Portland, reports sea surface temperatures in the high 50s.
Federal striped bass regulations: It is unlawful to fish for, take or possess striped bass in federal waters – waters greater than 3 miles from shore.
Statewide striped bass regulations: An angler may fish all year for striped bass, but may only keep one per day that measures between 20 and 26 inches in total length or one striped bass per day 40 inches or greater in total length. If you have questions or would like a copy of the 2014 saltwater regulations, call 633-9505 or visit www.maine.gov/dmr/recreational/rechomepage.html
Remember, if you are fishing for striped bass or bluefish using bait, you must use a non-offset circle hook. There is an exception: Rubber or latex tube lures may be used without a circle hook as long as they are at least 8 inches long and have a single hook protruding from the end of the tubing where bait may be attached.
ZONE 1: If you want stripers, get out early or late since the heat and sun may slow activity during the day.
Schoolies can be found in the lower portions of most rivers, while larger fish are out on the beaches and rocky structures. Shore anglers have done well at Old Orchard, Higgins, Pine Point, the Bath House end of Biddeford Pool and the beach next to the Camp Ellis jetty.
The key to beach fishing is to be willing to move to find the fish and not wait for them to come to you. Beach fishermen should check local ordinances as some beaches restrict fishing between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Reasonable catches, even during the day, have been reported from boat guys on the lower ends of the rivers with the black, bubblegum or wine red surgical tubes coupled with a sandworm. Bait, especially worms, is producing the most fish. Rubber baits continue to catch fish for anglers using artificials. Fly guys tossing patterns that match the natural bait are catching fish. Mackerel catching has been spotty. Use chum to stay on the fish once you start hooking up. Decent flounder catches have been reported out and around the Piscataquis.
ZONE 2: The transition into the summer striper fishing mode is occurring. Slot fish on up are scattered throughout the islands, coves and rocky ledges and along the Cape Elizabeth shoreline.
Fish areas where there is moving water or along the back side of any surf, as that will be where the bait has been kicked up by the surf. Schoolies can be found in the lower ends and mouths of many rivers. Anglers working the rivers have been more productive in the early morning, at night or in low light conditions, and have done best during a falling tide as the stripers are forced down river.
Those fishing outside have not found these conditions quite as critical. Artificials that are producing include surface poppers and rubber baits. For those using artificials, if you have a hit and lose it, just let the lure sit there a second or two before continuing the retrieve. Often the fish will come back and strike again. For anglers throwing flies, try 2/0 Groceries or Clousers (black on cloudy days or night). Clams, worms and mackerel (live or chunked) are working well.
Mackerel can be found meandering about this zone.
ZONE 3: For the first time in several years there are reports of stripers in most rivers, beaches and rocky ledges all the way to the Penobscot. Anglers fishing the flats have found them most productive when working the falling tide.
Make sure you are not fishing in the shadow of your boat, as that will spook the fish. Sandworms and eels are the baits of choice off the beaches and on the flats, while mackerel have been producing around rocky structures. All sized mackerel can be found in most of this zone.
If you are fishing on the Kennebec, upstream of the power line in Augusta, you must have a current freshwater license.
This saltwater report is compiled by Bruce Joule, Maine Department of Marine Resources. He can be reached at 633-9505, P.O. Box 8, West Boothbay Harbor 04575, or by email at