AUGUSTA -- April first marks the beginning of the open water fishing season in Maine, and in contrast to last year where lakes and ponds were buttoned up tight with ice, this April, anglers should be able to areas to fish throughout the state.
"This certainly is different than last year," said Peter Bourque, Director of Fisheries for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, "With the mild winter we have had, there are open water spots to fish throughout the entire state."
Many lakes in southern and even central Maine are either partially or completely ice free. The lower than average snowfall also means that rivers and streams are at low springtime flow levels, making for easier fishing. Still, with the recent bout of winter, some areas are still icebound, particularly the further north you go.
As with any boating activity, the Maine Warden Service is urging boaters to wear their lifejackets. Prolonged immersion in cold water can kill, and wearing a life jacket can greatly increase your survival chances if you are in the water unexpectedly.
The beginning of the open water season also means that the department stocking trucks will be busy. The Dry Mills Hatchery and the Casco Hatchery Fish Hatchery start an ambitious stocking program in mid-April and by the time ice starts to cover lakes in the fall, over 1.2 million fish will have been stocked in waterways across the state.
Below are some recommendations of where to fish on opening day from Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Fisheries Biologists.
With water levels in streams and brooks low, we will start stocking April 2, a couple weeks earlier than normal. Expect brooks, streams and small ponds in southern York County to be stocked the first week.
Ponds like Crystal Lake in Gray and Upper and Lower Range Ponds in Poland should provide good action for rainbows as well as browns next week.
If you are looking for sea-run browns, try the Mousam River in Kennebunk, Ogunquit River in Ogunquit and the Salmon Falls River in South Berwick.
There are regular stockings of lake trout occurring in Maranacook Lake, Damariscotta Lake, Lower Narrows Pond, and Echo Lake. Additional togue fishing opportunities can be found on self-sustaining, reproducing populations in Swan Lake, Wassookeag Lake, and Sheepscot Lake.
If you are looking for a brown trout trip, include Great Pond, China Lake, or Androscoggin Lake. In our region there are excellent perch fisheries in numerous waters, but a listing of good prospects would include China Lake, Long Pond (around Castle Island), Salmon Lake (primarily by boat), and Unity Pond.
Grand Lake Stream will draw a sizeable crowd of inveterate fly fishermen chaffing at the bit to cast a streamer. The Dam Pool is the spot to try your luck. If you succeed in outsmarting a salmon, expect them to be quite thin, as most have over-wintered in this pool after spawning in late October-early November.
Piscataquis River has been at fishable levels throughout March. There is less snow than normal upstream in the drainage, so without significant rains the Piscataquis could remain fishable through the entire month of April. Brook trout are stocked in several locations from Guilford down to East Dover.
Dover-Foxcroft Kiwanis Club and the Town of Dover-Foxcroft enlarged and deepened an existing man-made pond located on Dunham Brook in Dover-Foxcroft. This enhanced the pond for trout and trout fishing. The pond is an integral part of Kiwanis Park, an urban recreation area for the residents of the Dover-Foxcroft. It provides a safe location for children to fish West Outlet will open to fishing on April 1st and has been stocked several times each season with 8 to 12 inch brook trout. This year will be no exception, and to mark the occasion of the April 1 opening 300 speckled beauties will be waiting for fishermen, as the West Outlet will have been stocked for the first time during the last week in March
Locally, Shirley Pond, Sawyer Pond, Prong Pond, Shadow Pond, Long Pond just downriver from the West Outlet, and of course Gravel Pit Pond near Greenville Junction. Gravel Pit Pond is one of our favorite locations. It is a great place for the kids to go after school, and a great place for parents to take their children in the evening.
Penobscot Valley Region
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