As the fall fishing season approaches, anglers are reminded of the new fall fishing regulations in effect this year on Sebago Lake. In the past the open water fishing season on most of the lake closed on Sept. 30. The single exception was a small area near Sebago Station that permitted fishing from Oct. 1 through Nov. 30.
The new regulations allow anglers to fish the entire lake from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31. From Oct. 1 through Dec. 31 togue (lake trout) may be harvested under the same size and bag limits in place for the rest of the year, but all salmon and trout must be released.
These new changes are not printed in the current open water fishing law book because the changes were advanced after the current law book was printed. Also, since the changes represented a liberalization of the existing regulation, providing expanded opportunity, anglers could not be penalized (fined) if they weren't aware of the change, according to Francis Brautigam, an IF&W Regional Fisheries Biologist based in Gray.
The regulation change was proposed by Sebago Lake Anglers Association and as adopted is consistent with the new salmon management plan recently adopted for Sebago. The change also is consistent with the Classic Salmon Initiative.
The purpose of the regulation change is to increase lake trout harvest opportunity and further reduce lake trout abundance. Lake trout are a strong competitor with landlocked salmon. The intent of the regulation change is not to allow additional salmon fishing opportunity!
Unfortunately there is no enforceable language that could be adopted making it illegal to fish for salmon. Although the current regulation prevents salmon from being taken from October through December, even catch and release fishing for salmon is expected to increase handling stress and associated salmon mortality, particularly for ripe adult fish.
We request that anglers not target salmon after Sept. 30, but take advantage of the opportunity to catch and harvest lake trout during a time of the year when most of the pleasure boat crowd have put their toys to rest, little fishing pressure exists, and the spectacular early fall foliage provides a great back drop to any open water fishing experience.
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