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

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. The minimum size for halibut in federal waters is 41 inches and the taking of halibut in Maine territorial waters is closed from July 1 to April 30.

Anglers after groundfish, i.e. cod (which must be released), haddock, pollock, hake, cusk, redfish and halibut have had equal success catching fish with jigs coupled with a fly and bait (clams).

Platt’s, Tanta’s, the Kettle, Sagadahoc and Jeffrey’s are some of the places that have been giving up plenty of blue sharks along with the occasional mako and thresher. The minimum size for all keeper sharks (makos, porbeagles, threshers and blues) is 41/2 feet in length, while basking and white sharks are federally protected species. If you are not sure what species you have hooked, then remember, “If you don’t know, let it go.”

All vessels fishing recreationally for Atlantic tunas, 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 their website, hmspermits.noaa.gov. The NMFS has closed the Atlantic Bluefin General and Charter/Headboat categories (when fishing commercially) until Sept. 1. The NMFS has determined that the adjusted June through August subquota has been reached and that a closure is warranted at this time.

Reports from the Jeffrey’s Ledge buoy show temperatures in the low to mid 60s while at the Portland LNB weather buoy temps are around 60.

COASTAL

Federal striped bass regulations: It is unlawful to fish for, take or possess striped bass in federal waters (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 any questions or would like copies of the 2017 saltwater regulations please call 633-9505 or check the web at maine.gov/dmr/recreational-fishing.

ZONE 1: Stripers, plenty of them, are still here with some of the better fishing upcoming as we approach fall. Beach fishing has been more productive than the estuaries and lower rivers as of late. Beach fishermen should check local ordinances before fishing as some area beaches may restrict fishing between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. until Labor Day.

Eels (at night), chunked macs, worms and clams are the baits of choice. Use a balloon or float between your weight and your hook to keep the bait off the bottom and away from the crabs. Lures that have been getting it done include the mackerel pattern Striper Maine-iac, the Yo-Zuri clear Crystal Minnow and the Savage Gear Ghost. For those anglers that would prefer to toss a fly, try chartreuse or the chartreuse/white Clousers and any of the crab or sand eel patterns.

Mackerel, harbor pollock, flounder, pogies and the occasional shad are also being caught in this zone.

ZONE 2: The Cape shoreline and the islands are some of the locales where striper fishing has been good. Stripers are around and moving so where you catch fish today you may not find them tomorrow. Anglers need to put the time in and read the water. Spinners have been doing well working Rapala X-Raps, Yo-Zuri Mag Minnows, Mag Poppers and the Atom Striper Swiper.

Fly fishermen are catching fish throwing Snake flies along with crab and mackerel patterns. Sandworms, mackerel and clams are the baits that have been getting it done. There are plenty of harbor pollock available. Water temperatures at the Maine State Pier are either side of 60 degrees.

ZONE 3: There are lots of stripers around. Find the bait and you will find the stripers, as these fish will be actively feeding before their trip south in a few weeks. Action on the rivers has been good but sometimes anglers will be marking fish and just can’t get them to take a hook as there is a lot of bait in the water. See Zones 1 and 2 for baits, artificials, flies and fishing tips. Mackerel catches have been hit or miss along the east side of Southport, the Cuckolds and Lower Mark Island. Once on a school, toss some cat food over to help hold the fish. Pogies are still here. Remember that 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 low 60s.

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 me at 633-9505 or E-Mail: [email protected]