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

Plenty of blue sharks along with a few makos and threshers are available on most of the inshore and offshore humps. The minimum size for all keeper sharks (makos, porbeagles, threshers and blues) is 4.5 feet in length, while basking and great white sharks are federally protected species. If you are not sure of what species you have hooked, then “If you don’t know, let it go.” There are still tuna around. Anglers have gotten fish by both trolling and setting up on the ball. All vessels fishing recreationally for Atlantic tunas, sharks, swordfish and billfish must have an Atlantic HMS angling permit. For more information about permits and the regs contact the NOAA Fisheries at (888) 872-8862 or visit hmspermits.noaa.gov. Please note that you cannot keep any cod and haddock but all other groundfish (pollock, cusk, redfish, hake, etc.) can be retained within their respective 2015 regulations. The minimum size for halibut in federal waters is 41 inches and the taking of halibut in Maine territorial waters (inside three miles) is closed from July 1 to April 30. Sea-surface temperatures, as reported from Jeffrey’s Ledge, are in the mid- to upper 60s.

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 saltwater regulations, please call 633-9505 or check maine.gov/dmr/recreational/rechomepage.html.

Also, if you are fishing for striped bass or bluefish using bait, you must use a nonoffset 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.

ZONE 1: Stripers are there for the taking. Time of day is not an issue, so fish when you can and expect to put some time in. Try Ferry, Higgins, Old Orchard, Pine Point and Goosefare Brook, as well as the lower rivers and estuaries. Realize, though, stripers are on the move and they can show up anywhere one moment and be gone the next. Worms, clams and macs along the beaches and chunk macs fished around the rock piles are getting results. Nothing beats surgical tubes when fished in the lower rivers and estuaries, but don’t forget to put that sandworm on the end of the rig. Spinners should try 2-4 ounce Crippled Herring, Point Jude metal lures, Deadly Dicks or any of the rubber baits. Fly fishermen casting black Clousers, day or night, have been hooking up bass. Mackerel are roaming around the islands in Saco Bay. Use chum and small Sabiki rigs for the best results. There have been reports of a few bluefish around, mostly outside.

ZONE 2: Stripers can be found in the lower portions of the rivers, the flats and the ledges of Casco Bay. Mackerel and sandworms are the preferred baits but the stripers will take just about anything you give them. Anglers using artificials have been successful working 4-6 inch Lunker City Slug-gos, Gag’s Schoolie Poppers and Yo-Zuri Hydro-Poppers. Fly guys who have been tossing Clousers and Deceivers in silverside and sand eel patterns report modest catches. Mackerel catches have picked up. Water temperatures at the Maine State Pier are in the low 60s.

ZONE 3: As you head from east to west in this zone the stripers will be starting to drop out of the rivers for their journey south. As these fish stage up, where they are today they may not be tomorrow. Anglers fishing deep have been getting the bigger fish. Look for bird activity and breaking bait, and you will find the stripers. See zones 1 and 2 for baits, artificials, flies and fishing tips. Mackerel can be found in many of their typical locations. If you are fishing on the Kennebec, upstream of the power line in Augusta, you must have a current freshwater fishing license.

This saltwater report is compiled by Bruce Joule, Maine Department of Marine Resources, P.O. Box 8, West Boothbay Harbor 04575. If you have information to report, please contact him at 633-9505 or at:

[email protected]