April 14, 2015 This week we’re really in the “tweener-situtation,” from too much ice for open water fishing to not enough good ice, and some places being closed to ice fishing. So what’s a person to do?
Well, some of the saltwater charter and party boats trips are being started-up but there’s still some confusion about what species and what kinds of rules are going to be adopted for response to the very low populations of codfish and other species that are being pounded on by both commercial and recreational fishing. Species that were not thought of as being prime targets for recreational fishing, such as redfish, hake and squid are now being included in some of the fish targeted by the party boats and in some instances, bringing new respect for these species.
Of the party boat anglers we’ve interviewed many say that although they sure miss the glory days of when they’d bring home big catches of prime fish, now it’s more for at least the chance to get out there and fish and what they catch doesn’t make the trip, it’s just being out there and having a line in the water.
You’ve got to love that spirit and the patience that many of these old-time saltwater anglers are showing with today’s restrictions and limitations!
MASSACHUSETTS: This just in from Captain Jason Colby of Little Sister Charters at Quincy, Massachusetts (Boston Harbor Flounder Specialist) “Well, as of recent rain, the last of the snow finally faded away from my backyard! To say "it won't be long now" is about right. I was going to launch Little Sister on Saturday the 25th (two weeks from today) but the tide is late in the day and my daughter’s birthday is the 26th so I will try to call that my "last weekend" before The Quincy Flounder Boogie" which involves three months of little sleep and lots of smiles. I conspired with my mechanic to launch the boat on Tuesday morning, the 28th at 8am and we will try out the boat and fish a few hours right then. I don't expect too much with the cold water but we shall see.”
“The Tuesday and Thursday open boat schedule (6-11am by reservation only) starts on May 7 with Tuesday, May 12 already filled up (Carl, Matt, Pete and the gang). There is still plenty of room on the 7th, 14th and 19th for anyone itching to get out early in the season. With very few exceptions, weekends are booked through the end of June (what's left for weekends is 5/30 pm, 5/31 pm, 6/7 pm, 6/21 pm, 6/27 pm).”
“The good news is that if you need a weekend date, July should be excellent again this year as it looks like we will have a similar situation with the water temps again. Remember, they bit right through July last year with the biggest fish of the year hopping aboard the last three weeks!”
“I hear getting worms could be an issue this year so if anyone is on the way out, you are always welcome to bring a supply. Otherwise, I will do my best to have a good amount aboard at all times.”
“I am already looking forward to Westport on August 1! I am anxious to try some fluke, striper and sea bass spots I found late in the season to see how they work when there are actually fish around. It should be quite interesting if it is what I'm thinking.”
“Lastly, further down the road in the next off season I plan on doing seminars for fishing shows, clubs, associations and other fishy venues. I am going to put together presentations on "Flounder Fishing" (general), "Quincy Flounder Fishing", "Surf Casting" (bass, blues, weaks) and "Striper Fishing" (boat) for whatever the venue wants/needs. So, if you know of any such venue, please pass this on to them!” email@example.com / 617-755-3740 / www.littlesister1.com
This info from Surfland Bait and Tackle on Plum Island, Massachusetts about this year’s clean-up gathering: “The area we are cleaning is Ferry Park in West Newbury. It is a beautiful stretch of the Merrimack River just upstream of Rocks Bridge. This bend of the river is a natural deposit point for river-born plastic. Please join us on Saturday, April 18, 2015 from 8:00 am –10:00 am to provide a little stewardship to this picturesque spot on the tidal Merrimack. Thank you for donating your time to a worthwhile cause.” Please e-mail Eric Roach at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
MAINE: This news in from Karin R. Tilberg, Deputy Executive Director of the Forest Society of Maine: “In mid-December the people who have come to love the Moosehead Lake Region got an early Christmas gift of conservation.”
“I am writing to share some wonderful news: the Moosehead-Seboomook Inholding project (also known as Little W Shoreline) was completed on December 15, 2014! Your support for this project helped bring about this splendid outcome and it is now part of the state-owned “Seboomook Unit” managed by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.”
“This parcel of land was the largest undeveloped inholding on 41,000 acres of state-owned and managed lands known as the Seboomook Unit that were permanently conserved in 2003. Now, thanks to the descendants of Blin W. Page of Skowhegan, 81 forested acres with two miles of shoreline will provide a connection between these inland forests and Moosehead Lake.”
“This conservation outcome for these lands helps ensure that sustainable forest management and public access for recreational use will be maintained on this important area on the northern end of Moosehead Lake. Under state ownership and management the parcel will provide an attractive area of respite for paddlers on the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, as well as for boaters, campers, and fishermen exploring Moosehead Lake, and for snowmobilers on the Moosehead Lake Snowmobile Trail loop.”
“We truly appreciate their effective and timely support that will safeguard the ecological, recreational, and economic values of Maine’s forestlands for all to enjoy. Thank you again for helping make this significant conservation project a success.”
Master Maine Guide Stu Bristol of Lyman reports: “Open water season has been set back this year due to an exceptionally long winter. Most southern Maine lakes and ponds still have plenty of ice. That said, the ice on most of those bodies of water is gray and beginning to honeycomb, making it unsafe for anglers. Over the weekend I noticed more anglers sitting at the edge of ponds where a large crescent of open water allowed them to wet a line. Also the number of small brook and stream anglers has increased. The water is still plenty high and cold but the worm dunkers got out anyway just to enjoy the weather. It wasn’t all for naught as some of the anglers who braved the snow depths along streams found brook trout in the 8-10 inch range in the larger, slower pools.”
“Crappie anglers fared better as the schools have moved into the shallows, especially along the western shorelines where the sun hits first and holds longer. It has been my experience that once the crappies move to shallow water they will remain there until after spawning. Suggested hotspots would be the larger rivers and overflows such as the Songo River Locks in Standish and Panther run in Windham.”
Dave Garcia at Naples Bait on Long Lake in the Sebago Lake Region is finally back from his Florida fishing vacation, sporting quite a tan and an even deeper sense of humor.
“We still have some ice fishing going on here and around some of the surrounding lakes and ponds but it’s getting to the point where one or two more sunny days will result in more dangerous conditions that we now have. It wouldn’t surprise me if Sebago Lake’s ice didn’t go out by the end of the week if this warm and sunny weather continues. Although Long Lake here is still iced-over it should be out by the 20th or around that date. There is some fishing going on over at Sebago in the limited open water around the Songo Locks and out around the mouth of the river.”
“As far as ice fishing goes, most of the action seems to be at the smaller ponds that are stocked with brookies to support the ice fishing. Thomas Pond in Casco, as of this morning seems to be one of the more popular ponds and has produced some good brookie fishing but it could be ice free as we speak—that’s just how it is right now. As far as suggesting anyone to go ice fishing, we wouldn’t!
Over at Sebago Lake, Greg Cutting at Jordan’s Store in East Sebago says that the ice is getting pretty dark but it’s still supporting some fishing as is the open water patches. “It was pretty funny this weekend when I walked down to the shoreline across from the store where I could see a couple of boats and canoes fishing the open water at the mouth of the Songo River and looking the other direction there were three people out on the ice at the other end of the lake!
“There are some open water opportunities, such as we mentioned at the mouth of the Songo River but also up into the river from the Songo Locks down to the mouth. Also there’s quite a bit of open water at the Muddy River where it comes into the lake and that’s a great place to have a chance at a big brook trout or even a salmon.”
“Down the far end of the lake where the lake’s water flows into the Presumpscott River it’s open season year ‘round and you can catch both trout and salmon there. Check out the regulations for restrictions on gear there. I think that there is a fly-only stretch. Trout Unlimited has put a lot of effort into this river.”
NEW HAMPSHIRE: The party and charter boat group is putting most of the saltwater action going this early in the year as some have started their regular runs while others are gearing up for the first trips.
Sunday, April 12: This news is from Captain Rocky Gauron at Gauron’s Fishing Boats in Hampton: “If you haven’t heard from us via email, please call. We’re still having a computer problem with them. We’re still gearing up for May 1! I talked to somebody at National Marine Fisheries Service last Tuesday. Our recreational proposal will be ruled on for us to get four haddock per person at 17 inches. It hasn't been approved yet, but think that's what we will end up with for this upcoming season beginning May 1.”
“What about the tackle requirements? Unknown. I plan to have haddock rigs with circle hooks to give to our patrons on our first weekend of operation in case that is passed. Of course, getting a hold of Judy at Sea Wolfe has been unsuccessful so far.”
“As far as cod jigs with a single J hook, I am not worrying about that yet. We can't keep cod anyway. Hoping for a few pollock. We will have two boats ready to go on May 1, and thereafter. Let's hope for great weather and some nice haddock!”
“I will keep everyone posted. And please plan on fishing with us as you have in the past. We could really use some crowded boats!”
Good news! Eastman’s party boats that are docked at Seabrook Harbor are going to be ready to go this week! “We will be starting Wednesday April 15, weather permitting (looking promising long range weather) able to retain Redfish, Pollock and Hake.”
“Speaking of Hake, check out Fishshark adventures for a multitude of Hake/Squid trips this Summer/Fall. Think by now most of you have the website, a quick Google to find it if you don't.”
“Our biggest meeting yet for the GOMCRFA (Gulf of Maine Commercial and Recreational Fishing Alliance) and we REALLY hope that we can get as many people as possible to attend for a show of force for politicians. Press and politicians will all be invited.”
“Here are some updates on progress and direction. Same location as last meeting, Monday April 20 at 6:30 in the cafeteria of the Hampton Academy in Hampton NH. Please attend and bring your friends and let people know how important our mission is. The website GOMCRFA.com will have paypal and a blog page very soon. We need membership and attendance to forge forward. Thanks”-- Captain Lester Eastman Jr.
Nick at Suds-n-Soda Sports reports that very little open water is available in the local area with most of the ponds still holding on to their ice and the brooks and rivers that have some open water haven’t been stocked yet, to his knowledge.
“We have seen a few people in here that have tried for some of the tidal white perch but haven’t had any catch reports yet but those fish should be here as they are often caught through the ice but with no smelt there’s been little to no ice fishing effort on the tidal waters.”
Chad at Dover Marine Sports reports that although the water flows are high and there’s still some iced-in spots it’s probably a good time to try out some of the specially stocked and regulated fly fishing waters on both the Cocheco River and the Lamprey River.
“On the Cocheco the best stretch is behind the Strafford County Farm and over at the Lamprey River in Lee, the stretch of water that produces the best action is below the Wiswall Dam there.”
Because of the inherent time restrictions of gathering fresh, up-to-date information, editing and producing this report in a timely manner, occasional errors or marginal information may slip by us. We try our hardest to provide accurate information. We urge readers to use this report as a tool to increase their fishing pleasure and not to rely on as their sole resource. First or second hand information is offered by fishing guides, commercial fishing charters or party boats, bait and tackle dealers, well known successful anglers and state and federal fisheries and natural resource law enforcement officials. We also welcome and use reports forwarded to us by fishermen that use this report. Thank you, Kittery Trading Post Fishing Report Reporter.