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 maine.gov/saltwater or call 633-9505.

OFFSHORE

Major changes have been made in the cod and haddock regulations for 2015. Anglers can’t retain any Atlantic cod and the minimum size for haddock has been reduced to 17 inches with a 3 fish per angler per day bag limit. Pollock and haddock have been dominating the groundfish catches, especially on Jeffrey’s and Tanta’s. Both jigs coupled with a teaser and bait are working well. It is the exception when a boat does not max out on its quota for haddock. There are a few porbeagles around so for those of you groundfishing, have a pitch bait ready before getting to your spot. Many times, because of your boat’s presence, a porbeagle will show and you must be able to get that pitch bait into the water immediately or the porbeagle will lose interest and be gone. The minimum size for all keeper sharks (makos, porbeagles, threshers and blues) is 4.5 feet in length. All vessels fishing recreationally for Atlantic tunas, sharks, swordfish and billfish must have an Atlantic HMS angling permit. For more information contact NOAA Fisheries at (888) 872-8862 or visit hmspermits.noaa.gov.

COASTAL

Federal striped bass regulations: It is unlawful to fish for, take or possess striped bass in federal waters (waters greater than three miles from shore).

New statewide striped bass regulations: An angler may fish all year for striped bass, but may only keep one per day that measures over 28 inches in length. If you have any questions or would like copies of the 2015 saltwater regulations please call 633-9505 or check www.maine.gov/dmr/recreational/rechomepage.html

Also, 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 a minimum of eight inches long and have a single hook protruding from the end portion of the tubing where bait may be attached. Anglers using artificial lures for stripers and blues can’t have more than two hooks on a lure.

ZONE 1: Most all the rivers (Saco, Spurwink, Scarborough) are holding a varied mix of stripers from the mid-teens to the upper thirties. These fish are now dropping out onto the beaches following the bait as the waters warm. The beaches (Higgins, Biddeford Pool, Old Orchard) are starting to produce and will just get better as more fish come to Maine for summer. Bait fishermen who are using herring, mackerel (live is best or chunks) or clams for the big ones and sandworms for the schoolies are catching fish. Surgical tube rigs almost always get fish in the rivers. Troll these rigs slowly with the current for best results. Artificials that have proven successful include the Arkansas Shad, Crystal Minnows, Kastmasters and white Slug-Gos. For the fly guys; green crab, silverside and sand eel patterns are working well. Mackerel can be found in all their usual haunts.

ZONE 2: Bait is everywhere and so are the stripers. All the rivers and most of the inside islands have plenty of various sized, robust fish. Anglers fishing the lower portions and the mouths of the Presumpscot, Harraseeket and Royal have not been disappointed. Fly fishermen tossing 1/0 gray or olive colored Deceivers have been rewarded for their efforts. Crank fishermen using mackerel Mambo Minnows, rubber baits and Bucktail jigs are catching fish while bait guys have been happy dunking sandworms and mackerel.

ZONE 3: Many of the rivers (Androscoggin, Kennebec, etc.) are holding stripers and lots of bait. Special striper regs remain in effect until July 1 for the Kennebec watershed (www.maine.gov/dmr/recreational/regulations.htm). Large herring pattern flies in fast moving water and small shrimp patterns in the shallows are working for anglers using fly gear while poppers and the small soft baits are the spinner’s choice.

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

[email protected]