AUGUSTA -- April first marks the beginning of the open water fishing season in Maine, and while the late winter cold snap means that many waterways are still frozen, many anglers know where to find open water on the first of April.
"Opening Day is a tradition in Maine," said Roland D. Martin, Commissioner, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, "For many in Maine, spring does not begin until they go fishing."
Anglers are likely to find open water near on rivers and streams throughout much of the state, but some of these waterways may be a little higher than normal with the spring runoff. Anglers fishing streams with regulated water flows will find more areas to fish. Lakes and ponds are beginning to open up around shores and tributaries, and anglers should target those areas that open up first each spring.
Anglers are likely to find more fish available in waters that were stocked last fall. A late start to the ice fishing season meant less time for ice fishing, leaving many trout and salmon that normally would have been caught in the winter still there for spring anglers.
If you are heading out anywhere with a boat this weekend, 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 department's hatchery division starts an ambitious stocking program in the next two weeks, 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.
If you haven't purchased your license yet, hop online and visit www.mefishwildlife.com to purchase your license any time of the day, any day of the week. And if you buy your license through MOSES (Maine Online Sportsmen's Electronic System), you will be automatically entered to win a Classic Rangeley Sportfishing Boat.
Once again, there are some changes in fishing regulations specific to certain ponds. Before heading out this spring, please check the regulations in the law book.
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