IF&W warns against thin spots

17 years ago

    The following is an excerpt from the Dec. 27 ice fishing preview from the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. For more information or to read the complete report visit the DIF&W Web site at www.mefishwildlife.com.

    Region G – Aroostook County

    Mild winter weather has had its influence in northern Maine. As we write this report, a resident on the shore of Drew’s Lake reports looking out at a wide open lake. Anglers in southern Aroostook should be extremely cautious of lakes that freeze over between now and Jan. 1, especially if there is any snow on the ice. Many lakes in the Ashland area, north and west, have had a cache of ice for a longer period of time but warm days and rain have been a factor to weaken the ice, if not thaw it completely, in some of the larger lakes. Some of the coves on the larger lakes are likely to have thicker ice than the main body – anglers should be aware of this before venturing forth. 

    Anglers should keep aware of cold weather between now and Jan. 1 and plan any ice fishing trips accordingly. If we can offer any advice, it would be to walk from shore checking the ice with a chisel before tearing out on a snow sled. The season for most waters lasts three months; you want to be around to see the end of it.

    A new regulation in effect this winter pertains to possession of live bait. In an effort to reduce the incidental introduction of undesirable fish species into Maine waters, it is now illegal to store or hold live bait in any water where the use or possession of live bait is prohibited during either the entire ice fishing or entire open water fishing season. This includes waters restricted to the use of artificial lures only during the ice fishing season and waters restricted to fly fishing only or artificial lures only during the open water fishing season.

    The minimum length limit on brown trout in lakes and ponds has been increased from 12 inches to 14 inches.

    On group A designated waters, trout, salmon and bass are now legal (subject to length, bag and possession limits) prior to Jan. 1.

    Regional waters that have received stockings of fall yearling brook trout include: Arnold Brook Lake, Drew’s Lake, Nickerson Lake, Spaulding Lake and the Hodgdon Mill Pond. For the second year, Madawaska Lake was stocked with fall yearling brook trout and will be open to angling on Feb. 14-March 31. As a bonus this year, fall yearling salmon were also put in the lake. In addition to brook trout, fall yearling brown trout were stocked in the Hodgdon Mill Pond. Squa Pan Lake received its annual allotment of fall yearling splake and should continue to provide excellent fishing in the central Aroostook area.

    Regional biologists and temporary staff will be conducting season-long creel surveys on Big Eagle, Churchill, Ross Spider, Big Pleasant and Clear lakes in the back country area. We will be monitoring Long Lake, Cross Lake and Square Lake in the Fish River chain and visit Madawaska Lake once it opens on Feb. 15. Spot checks will be done on waters in central and southern Aroostook that have received stockings of fall yearling brook trout and splake.

    We also will look for an opportunity to visit St. Froid Lake to check on results from the experimental lake whitefish program. As always, we seek angler cooperation with our surveys. Our creel surveys offer an excellent opportunity for one-on-one conversation between biologists and anglers. We also remind outdoorsmen to read the law book before the season starts to eliminate any embarrassing encounters with the district game warden.

– Dave Basley, regional fishery biologist