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.

OFFSHORE

Atlantic bluefin tuna are around and while they have been taken by the stick boats I have not heard of any taken by rod and reel. A few sharks have been reported. The minimum size for all keeper sharks (makos, porbeagles, threshers and blues) is 4.5 feet in length. All vessels fishing recreationally for Atlantic tuna, sharks, swordfish and billfish must have an Atlantic HMS angling permit. For more information contact the National Marine Fisheries Service at 978-281-9260 or visit https://hmspermits.noaa.gov.

Weather buoy reports from Jeffrey’s show sea surface temperatures in the low 60s while at the Portland LNB, temps are in the mid 50s. The NMFS han’t yet set the 2017 groundfish regulations so anglers are still fishing under 2016 regulations. This means anglers can keep 15 haddock a day that are over 17 inches but may not retain any cod. Regulations will change, but it’s uncertain when.

Pollock and haddock catches have been decent. Lesser numbers of hake, cusk and redfish along with the occasional halibut generally round out the day’s catch. Anglers specifically after haddock should fish bait rigs (clams, hook, sinker) and make sure their rig is right near the gravel or sand bottom. Also, be careful not to overload your hook with bait since haddock have a relatively small mouth and more is not better.

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).

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. If you have any questions or would like copies of the 2017 saltwater regulations, call 633-9505 or check maine.gov/dmr/recreational-fishing/index.html

ZONE 1: It’s summertime fishing conditions for stripers. With this stretch of sunny weather, get out early or late. Shore anglers have been hooking up plenty of bass off the beaches (Higgins, Pine Point, Biddeford Pool, ocean side of the Camp Ellis jetty). Beach fishermen should check local ordinances; some beaches restrict fishing between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Bait (clams, worms, live or chunk macs) is producing the most fish. River fishing (Saco, Scarborough, etc.) has been very good during the incoming tide and the first hour of the outgoing. Rubber baits (Slug-gos, Shankas and Ronz) have been getting it done for those fishing artificials. Fly fishermen throwing crab and sand eel patterns are catching fish. Mackerel fishing has turned on. For better catches use chum (cat food) coupled with mix flasher Sabiki rigs and a diamond jig at the end. There have been a few reports of bluefish. If you are targeting blues, try the orange 3-ounce Ranger lure and remember the wire leader.

ZONE 2: The mouths of the rivers (Presumpscot, Harraseeket, Royal, etc.) the islands (Cushing, Cow, Little Chebeague) and the Cape shoreline are areas that have been productive for striper fishermen. The rivers are still producing but as the water temperatures rise the fishing activity slows. Again, with this sunny weather, these areas generally will be most productive when fished at pre-dawn/night or under low-light conditions. Anglers working artificials have been getting into the fish using Rapala X-Raps, mackerel or herring Gag’s Mambo Minnows poppers as well as any of the rubber baits. Flies that have been effective include any of the 2/0 and 4/0 grocery patterns (river mouths) and Clousers (on the flats). Baits of choice are mackerel and worms. Mackerel catches throughout the bay are moderate. Use chum to stay on the fish once you start hooking up.

ZONE 3: Statewide striped bass regulations now apply to all of this zone. Stripers and mackerel can be caught from various locations throughout this zone. Anglers report catching stripers, schoolies on up, from a wide range of spots including Sagadahoc Bay, Back River (Kennebec River) and the Sasanoa. Though early in the season, this is some of the best striper fishing we have seen in several years. Bait (live macs around the rock piles, worms on the flats and eels from the beaches) has been king. Try to match your artificials and flies to the natural bait.

If you are fishing on the Kennebec upstream of the power line in Augusta, you must have a 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 email:

[email protected]