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 remain strong well into the fall. Anglers fishing the northern end of Jeffreys and the fingers report good catches of pollock.

Changes have been made in the cod and haddock regulations for 2017. Anglers cannot retain any Atlantic cod and the minimum size for haddock is 17 inches with a 12-fish-per-angler, per-day bag limit. Also, as of Sept. 17, no haddock may be retained. All other groundfish (pollock, cusk, redfish, hake, etc.) can be retained within their respective 2017 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 thresher and porbeagle can be caught. The minimum size for all keeper sharks (makos, porbeagles, threshers and blues) is 41/2 feet in length while basking and great white sharks are a federally protected species. If you are not sure of what species you have hooked, then let it go.

The National Marine Fisheries Service has updated the adjustment of the bluefin tuna general category daily retention limit to one large medium or giant bluefin tuna (measuring 73 inches or greater) per vessel per day or trip. The daily retention limit adjustment applies to vessels permitted in the general and the charter/headboat category while fishing commercially. There are still tuna around, giants and footballs. All vessels fishing recreationally for Atlantic tuna, sharks, swordfish and billfish must have an Atlantic HMS Angling Permit. For more information contact the NMFS at 978-281-9260 or visit hmspermits.noaa.gov. Reports from the Jeffreys Ledge buoy and the Portland LNB weather buoy are about the same as last week, in the low 60s and upper 50s respectively.

COASTAL

Federal striped bass regulations: It is unlawful to fish for, take or possess striped bass in federal 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 over 28 inches total length. If you have questions or would like copies of the 2017 saltwater regulations, call 633-9505 or visit maine.gov/dmr/recreational-fishing.

ZONE 1: Some of this season’s best striper fishing 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. This is a good alternative when boating is not an option because of sea conditions. 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 31/2-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 while longer. Fish have been taken from along the Cape shore to the Eastern Prom and the areas from Back Cove, Mackworth and 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 still in the upper 50s.

ZONE 3: The stripers are dropping out of the rivers from east to west and heading south after their summer visit. Fishing in the lower parts of the rivers and beaches has been good, but remember as these fish stage up – where they are today may not be where they are 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. Pogies are still here in big numbers. If you are fishing on the Kennebec, upstream of the power line in Augusta, you must have a current freshwater fishing license. Sea surface temperatures, as reported from the DMR dock in West Boothbay Harbor, are in the upper 50s.

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 E-Mail:

[email protected]