MAINE - Anglers frustrated by the lack of safe ice need not wait any longer to go fishing, for there are open water fishing opportunities nearby while we wait for that prolonged winter freeze. This winter weekend looks mild once again, so why not try one of the year round fishing spots available throughout the state? Many of these have been recently stocked with brook trout and/or brown trout. If you can't wait to go ice fishing, but are frustrated by the lack of ice, grab your rod and reel and head to one of the following spots:
The Presumpscot River is open from the outlet of Sebago Lake downstream to tidewater, but check your law book for special regulations that apply to the various reaches. The upper section by Rte 35 in Windham is heavily stocked and typically provides the best fishing opportunities.
The Saco River is also open year round and features increased fall stocking programs below most of the dams to improve fishing opportunities. The best bet is to target tail water reaches below the Skelton and Bar Mills Dams.
The Royal River in Yarmouth from Bridge Street to tidewater is open to angling and is stocked in the fall with both brook trout and brown trout, and anglers report catching an occasional sea-run brownie.
Tidal sections of the Mousam, Oqunquit, and Salmon Falls Rivers are all stocked with larger sized trout (mostly browns) in the 11-13" range each fall, and provide some fantastic fishing opportunities for southern Maine anglers.
The Kennebec River – From Madison to the tidewater. The Shawmut/Benton stretch has been stocked with 1000 fall yearling browns this past fall and could give anglers additional action in the winter months. Bbrown trout fishing can be very productive this time of year with large streamer flies or smaller minnow type lures retrieved slowly.
The St. George River – From Lake St. George outlet (Liberty) to head of tide in Warren. 550 fall yearling brown trout have been stocked below Sennebec Lake in Union and 1000 fall yearlings were stocked in Payson Park in Warren.
The Nezinscot River – Turner – from the Turner Mill Dam to Meadow Brook, artificial lures only, all fish must be released alive at once; From Meadow Brook to the Androscoggin River, daily bag limit on bass: 1 fish, on trout: 2fish.
The Messalonskee Stream – Below Union Gas Dam to the confluence with the Kennebec River. Daily bag limit on salmon, trout and togue: 1 fish; minimum length limit on salmon, rainbow trout, and brown trout: 16 inches. Maximum length on salmon and brown trout: 25 inches.
The Orland River in Bucksport from the outlet of Alamoosook Lake down to the dam in Orland. Stocked this fall with 150 fish brook trout in the 14"- 16" range
The Union River from Graham Lake dam down to the Ellsworth dam (Leonard Lake dam). The river was stocked this fall with 250 brook trout in the 14-16" range.
The entire Androscoggin River is open year-round from the New Hampshire border to tidewater. During the winter, regulations require artificial lures only throughout the river, and in the section from the New Hampshire Line to the Gilead Bridge, it is artificial lures only, and lures must have a single hook. Trout and salmon must be released alive from October 1 to March 31.
In the Moosehead area, the Piscataquis River from the dam in Guilford downstream to the Atkinson-Sebec Bridge, is open to open water fishing from January 1 – December 31. Fishing is restricted to artificial lures only and the daily bag limit on trout is two fish with a minimum length limit of 6 inches.
In the Penobscot Region, a section of Millinocket Stream is open to year round fishing section just to the north of the Town of Millinocket in T1R8 WELS, from the Millinocket Lake Dam downstream to the Millinocket Town Line. The Enfield Hatchery stocked 230 large (14 to 16 inches) brook trout back on November 27th, 2006. The stream is open to year round fishing per general law provisions, EXCEPT that S-19 (2 trout) is in effect.
Remember, even though there is no ice, water is extremely cold, and care should be taken when fishing with waders or from a boat. Safety must come first when fishing open water during winter months.
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