April 14, 2012

It's spring, and fishing is hot

By Deirdre Fleming dfleming@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Spring fishing in Maine is as much as two weeks to a month ahead of schedule, depending on where you're wetting a line. And fishermen just about everywhere are taking advantage, say fisheries biologists statewide.

This is our first installment of our open-water fishing report, which runs April to October in Outdoors.

Every other week, we'll check in with fisheries biologists statewide and find out where the fishing is hot, where fishermen are missing out, or where biologists have discovered a new wild trout pond.

Given the early spring, the fishing report this week shows fishermen out in good numbers. But in southern Maine, the fishing has been wild hot.

"It's fast spring fishing and starting to heat up," said regional fisheries biologist Francis Brautigam.

In the Sebago region, smelt already are staging at the mouth of the Songo River, which means trout and salmon will converge in the area this week, Brautigam said.

Elsewhere in southern Maine, there's fast fishing.

On April 1, the first day you could fish Lake Auburn, Brautigam said wardens reported 75 cars lined up.

There also have been good numbers of rainbows taken out of Little Ossipee Pond in Waterboro. And Thompson Lake in Casco has shown a good catch rate for salmon, with fish as big as six pounds.

Fishermen also are having luck at Burnt Meadow Pond in Brownfield and Sabbathday Lake in New Gloucester.

"With the warming temperatures, the smelt runs are running a week or more ahead of schedule. And some runs are over or near completion," Brautigam said.

Downeast the fishing is fast, if cold, said regional fisheries biologist Greg Burr in the Jonesboro office.

Burr said the fish are biting just to the east of Ellsworth on Donnell Pond and Tunk Lake, and at Long Pond on Mount Desert Island.

In Eastern Maine, the ice should go out at Cold Stream Pond any day now, said regional fisheries biologist Nels Kramer.

And kids fishing around the edges are catching fish.

The bad news is at Pushaw Lake, where the trap nets went out two weeks early before the northern pike spawning run, with the hope of catching the invasive species. The reports of pike are as bad as last year, which is not good for Penobscot River drainage.

"We put the nets in 10 days earlier. We have caught 55 as of today," Kramer said Wednesday.

"Last year we ended up with 78 so it's hard to predict. We'll ride this dragon as long as we can, and then pull the nets and look for pike another year."

Meanwhile in northern Maine, fishing is two weeks ahead of schedule and should get hot soon.

"The water is running low and cold. Even though it is fishable, the trout are not cooperating," said regional fisheries biologist Dave Basley.

But anglers are trying their luck where the ice is pulling away at the trout ponds around Presque Isle, Basley said.

The bad news in The County is the lack of rain right now, following the lack of snow this winter.

"There isn't a lot of rain on the horizon. I fear we are setting up for a drought summer. If we don't get rain, we could have low water. Generally the ice is around until late April," Basley said.

Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at:

dfleming@pressherald.com

Twitter: Flemingpph

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