Fishing on the region’s largest lake – Sebago Lake – continues to be productive for both salmon and togue, and angler use remains fairly high. Adult salmon are making a strong showing in the catch, but a higher proportion of sublegal salmon are being caught. Some outstanding catches of lake trout also are being reported to our census clerk, Bill Yeo. One boat recently caught 20 togue, and boats with 10 togue or more are not uncommon.

Fishing for salmon on Sebago has been very good the last few years. Some experienced anglers report that the lake has recently produced some of the best salmon fishing, particularly in terms of overall size quality, in the last 40-60 years. In response to these significant improvements in the fishery, we have fielded some interesting theories about why the lake is now producing so many large salmon. In an effort to dispel these rumors, I will briefly explain some of the management philosophy that has contributed to the development of this quality salmon fishery.

First and foremost, an abundance of smelt is critical to optimizing salmon growth and survival to large size. Only where salmon growth is optimized can salmon of large size quality be produced in any numbers. As a classic salmon water, the management focus on Sebago is on improving salmon size quality, sometimes at the expense of higher salmon catch rates associated with higher salmon densities.

In the past, the stocking of large numbers of hatchery salmon on top of existing wild production created competition between wild and stocked salmon for smelt and prevented optimal salmon growth. Additionally, an abundance of wild lake trout heavily influences smelt abundance. Annually assessing wild salmon production in the Crooked River and significantly scaled back stocking of hatchery salmon has maintained lake salmon densities lower than in the past, thus favoring salmon growth and survival as well as better fishing for larger salmon. We have also encouraged the harvest of lake trout through a variety of techniques, including liberalized regulations.

Anglers interested in a more through discussion of stocking rates and other issues related to the management of salmon in Sebago are encouraged to read the Sebago Lake Salmon Management Plan, which is available on the Department’s Web site.

Fish stocking report now available with daily updates

The spring 2008 stocking report now is available on the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s Web site, and it features daily updates from hatchery staff.

Instead of hearing when and where the hatcheries have stocked well after the season has ended, anglers now will be able to easily locate waters freshly stocked with catchable trout.

Waters are grouped by county, listed by town, and include the date of stocking as well as the species, quantity, and size of fish released. The address to visit the fish stocking report page is: www.maine.gov/ifw/fishing/reports/stocking/index.htm

Additional material by Todd Langevin, superintendent of hatcheries


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