Some people do crossword puzzles for a hobby; Ron Cote builds apps.

A year ago, the West Gardiner man launched his first app, Fish Maine, which contains all the state’s fishing regulations.

Since then, he has released a Hunt Maine app, and just recently an update for the fishing app, Fish Maine 2017.

West Gardiner resident Ron Cote, shown in March 16, 2016, at Togus Pond in Augusta, has updated his fishing regulations smartphone app and now is offering it free.

For Cote, who is releasing the apps through his limited liability corporation, Northeast Logic, building the programs for mobile devices such as smartphones is like solving a puzzle. The information comes from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife and it’s organized so that fishing enthusiasts can find what regulations apply to where they are, thanks to their GPS.

“This one will have directions to boat launches,” Cote said. “That’s new.”

Also new this year is the price: It’s free.

In the world of app development, developers can make money initially two ways. They can sell the app via Google Play or the App Store, or they can make it free and incorporate advertising on the site to earn some revenue.

Cote, who has a full-time job with the Maine Department of Transportation, originally planned an ad-free app, but he said he got a call from someone asking to advertise, and that’s how it started.

Scott Snell, a fishing guide who, with his wife, Alison, runs Wilsons on Moosehead Lake, a lodging and guide business in Greenville Junction, said he mentioned advertising to Cote last year.

“We were in the booth next to him at the sportsmen’s show,” Snell said. When he saw how the app works, he said he was blown away.

Snell said his guests travel from all over the East Coast to fish in Maine, where they may not be familiar with the local landmarks and place names.

“If I send them to a trout pond and they go to the wrong one, it’s easy to do, and they could be fishing illegally,” he said.

In Piscataquis County, for instance, there are three Notch Ponds.

While Snell acknowledged the IF&W book is the official source of fishing regulations, he said it ought to come with a map.

“Not every fisherman is really good with trying to take the (’Maine Atlas and) Gazetteer’ and figuring out which Indian Pond, Great Pond or Long Pond they are going to,” he said.

Cote said he just about broke even when he charged for the app, but it wasn’t about the money. He developed the app because he didn’t want to run afoul of fishing regulations himself, or risk heading out without the regulation book.

“If we give it away, and did some advertising, then we could break even and even more people could use it,” he said.

So far he’s taken ads from the Maine Guides, Wilsons and a fish taxidermist. He opted for businesses that are relevant to the fishing crowd.

Late last year, Cote also released Hunt Maine, an app that provides handy smartphone access to Maine’s hunting regulations. It currently costs $3, but Cote plans to make that one free, too.

Cote said he may branch out to other apps.

“People have asked me about building different things, like an app to show cemetery locations where someone is buried,” he said. “It can be done. I have also been thinking about snowmobile trail apps. There’s some demand for some of that stuff out there, but I want to get (the fishing app) a little more refined.”

When Cote debuted the app last year, IF&W spokesman Mark Latti said the department’s regulation book is the only definitive source of regulations because it’s filed with the Maine secretary of state’s office annually, as required by law. Latti confirmed Friday that that’s still the department’s stance.

For his part, Cote is working on making the app a little more user-friendly by having depth information come up in lake search results. That will probably be done in March.

For now, the updated app is available in Google Play for Android phones, and it will come to the App Store for iPhones soon.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.