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

Groundfishing is good and should continue well into the fall. Anglers fishing the northern end of Jeffrey’s and the fingers report good catches of pollock. Please note that it is now illegal to 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 3 miles) is closed from July 1 to April 30 For anglers going sharking; blue sharks along with the occasional mako, thresher and porbeagle can be caught. The minimum size for all keeper sharks (makos, porbeagles, threshers and blues) is 4 1/2 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.” The tuna bite continues decent and the good news is that the price has improved. 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 their website at hmspermits.noaa.gov. Sea-surface temperatures, as reported from Jeffrey’s Ledge, continue in the low 60s.

COASTAL

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).

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, 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 8 inches long and have a single hook protruding from the end portion of the tubing where bait may be attached.

ZONE 1: Some of this season’s best striper fishing is and will occur over the next few weeks before these fish head south. The beaches and the mouths of the rivers are the places to be with stripers breaking in locations from Cape Elizabeth to York. During this time of year, the time of day that you are fishing plays less of a role in catching fish. Also, the daytime restrictions on beach fishing have been lifted so get out and catch fish when you can. Higgins, Scarborough and Old Orchard beaches are producing decent sized stripers. Bait (worms, mackerel and clams) has worked best, but anglers are landing fish using the Gibbs Polaris Popper, the 6-inch Lunker City Arkansas Shiner Slug-Gos, R. M. Smith wooden lures and Gag’s Grabber 3½-inch poppers. Mackerel will be here for a while longer. When you come upon them, use chum and fish with Sabiki rigs or hand tied Christmas tree rigs.

ZONE 2: Stripers will be around a little while longer. Fish have been taken along the Cape shore to the Eastern Prom and the areas from Back Cove, Mackworth, Falmouth to the Harraseeket. Watch for bird action to locate the bait and the stripers. Night fishing has been very productive even though we are well into September. Sandworms and mackerel continue to produce the most fish. Artificials that have also been catching fish include Krocodile Spoons, Rapala X-Raps, Gag’s Schoolie Poppers and the Yo-Zuri Mag Minnows. Water temperatures at the Maine State Pier are running in the low 60s.

ZONE 3: The stripers are dropping out of the rivers, from east to west and heading south after their summer visit here in Maine. Fishing in the lower parts of the rivers and beaches has been good, but as these fish stage up, where they are today they may not be tomorrow. Anglers need to read the water and look for the bait. See zones 1 and 2 for baits, artificials, flies and fishing tips. Mackerel can be found in most of their typical locations all the way to Eastport. 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 me at 633-9505 or

[email protected]