Regional Fishing Information - Region E (The Moosehead Region)

MDIFW Regional Office
P. O. Box 551
Greenville, ME 04441
(207) 695-3756

January 10, 2014

Moosehead Lake Region Fishing Report - Submitted by: Tim Obrey, Regional Fisheries Biologist

This month marks the 7th Annual Moosehead Lake Togue Derby on Maine’s largest lake.  The event will be held from January 24th to the 26th and the rules and prizes will be similar to last year.  The derby was initiated in 2008 by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife as a strategy to help control the burgeoning togue population.  In 2008, small togue were so plentiful that there was not enough food in the lake to support the fishery.  The derby has brought thousands of anglers to the lake over the past 6 years and now the togue population is in check. The derby also provides a boost to the local businesses in the winter months, not to mention that all of the proceeds go to non-profits.  The Fisheries Internship/Enhancement program sponsored by the Natural Resource Education Center at Moosehead is the primary beneficiary.  This program provides support for college students to perform various projects in the Moosehead Lake area that will enhance fisheries management.  For example, each spring under the supervision of regional fisheries biologist, college students conduct netting on trout ponds to remove competing species which, in turn, improves the brook trout fishery.  Funds from this program have also been used to purchase vital equipment that contributed to projects like the Socatean Stream and Roach River weir studies and the restoration of native arctic char in Big Wadleigh Pond. We encourage anglers to come to Moosehead Lake and enjoy a great weekend of fun and have a chance to land a big fish and great prizes.  We will once again have fish pool prizes so catching a small fish could still pay off. Of course, you don’t even have to fish to win the grand door prize and purchasing a ticket is a great way to support these non-profit programs.

You can purchase tickets in Greenville at Indian Hill Trading Post, Lucky’s Bait and Tackle, Northwoods Outfitters, and the Moosehead Lake Region Chamber of Commerce.  Tickets are also on sale in Rockwood at Moosehead Bait and Tackle. The weigh in stations will be in the basement of the Masonic Hall in Greenville and at Moosehead Bait and Tackle in Rockwood.

Also, NREC is sponsoring a showing of the movie “Hardwater” on Saturday night of the Derby (Jan 25th) at 6:00pm at the Greenville High School Auditorium. This is a made-in-Maine movie about the traditions of ice fishing in our great State and it highlights the ways in which ice fishing brings people together during the harshest of seasons.  It will be great entertainment for the family.  Admission by donation.

December 17, 2013

Moosehead Lake Region Fishing Report - Submitted by: Tim Obrey, Regional Fisheries Biologist

Can we declare the end of global warming? Probably not, but we can find some reason to be thankful for the cold wintery weather that enveloped the North Woods in November and December.  As the snow birds fled south to warmer clines, old man winter brought the rest of us hardy souls an early ice-in.  We have already seen a “flurry” of ice fishing activity on our smaller ponds like Fitzgerald Pond and Prong Pond, both of which are stocked with 12-14 inch brook trout in late fall to provide some early ice fishing action. To the south of us, Brann’s Mill Pond and Harlow Pond should be fishing well as we approach the traditional start of the ice fishing season. Drummond Pond in Abbot is open to kids only and is also stocked just before the ice forms in the fall.  We’d like to thank those individuals that have generously plowed out the parking area at Drummond Pond and Fitzgerald Pond. I’m sure the anglers appreciate it as well.

Of course one of the hottest early season favorites is Big Wood Pond in Jackman. The pond is stocked with splake and brook trout (including some adults) and even an occasional salmon is caught. Access is very easy, with plenty of parking in this friendly town and snowmobile trails onto the lake.  This is a terrific place to take the family to catch a limit in January.

We’ve been riding the wave of big brook trout on Moosehead Lake for the past several years.  It is unclear how long it will last, but we’ve seen and heard of many trophy trout from Maine’s largest lake recently.  The best trout fishing is early in the season and anglers should be tight to shore amongst the rocks. Don’t forget the 7th Annual Moosehead Lake Togue Derby will be January 24th to 26th this year.  It is a great opportunity to win some prizes while helping us control the lake trout population in the lake.

As always, check the ice before venturing out in unfamiliar territory.  No fish is worth a surprise dip in the lake this time of year.

October 28, 2013

Moosehead Lake Region Fishing Report

If you are a frequent reader of our fishing reports, you will likely remember the circumstances of Big Wadleigh Pond.  Big Wadleigh Pond is located at the northern edge of the Moosehead Lake Region in T8 R15 WELS.  It is one of just 12 native Arctic char waters in the lower 48 states.  An illegal introduction of smelt nearly 10 years ago threatened to wipe out the char in this 157-acre pond. 

In the spring of 2011, we netted 10 adult char and implanted them with radio transmitters donated by the Natural Resource Education Center at Moosehead, so that we could return in the fall just before spawning occurred and hopefully locate and capture these fish and many others.  We did just that, and moved 60 adult char to Mountain Springs Trout Farm, a private hatchery, in Frenchville.  These adults were stripped of eggs and milt, and their progeny have been raised at the facility along with native brook trout that were also captured from the ill-fated pond. 

While these fish were held and raised in Frenchville, we chemically reclaimed the pond in the fall of 2012.  It was arduous work.  Hurricane Sandy delayed our chemical shipment from New Jersey in early November and the Maine weather did not cooperate either.  Scattered snow squalls, moderate west winds, and subfreezing temperatures were the forecast for the day and the weatherman was right on the mark.  The crew of IFW Fisheries Biologists was up before dawn and on the water as the sun crested the shoreline.  This was one of the largest chemical reclamations ever attempted by the Department and we had scheduled two days to apply the entire dosage of chemical.  However, it was clear that the pumps that were mixing the chemical with water would freeze overnight if the project was kept on schedule.  Therefore, the crew worked relentlessly to complete the project in one long day.  About an hour after sunset on November 6th 2012, we distributed the last barrel of rotenone into Big Wadleigh Pond.  We observed thousands of dead smelt floating up over the following days as the chemical thoroughly dispersed in the pond.  The chemical was active all winter and into early spring, therefore, we held off re-stocking the pond with its native fish until this fall.

On October 24th, 2013 we met with Gary Picard, operator of Mountain Springs Trout Farm, with a truckload of native brook trout and char destined for Big Wadleigh Pond.  We restocked approximately 650 char fingerlings, 2 char adults, and 3,500 brook trout fry/fingerlings. We held some fish in reserve at the hatchery for a spring stocking and to allow us to take more eggs and milt this fall.

We hope that the char and brook trout will re-establish over the next few years in the absence of smelt and once again Big Wadleigh Pond will have flourishing populations of these native fish that provide such a unique fishing opportunity in Maine. In most cases, there is no option for restoration and the impacts of non-native fish introductions are permanent and devastating to native fish. We must all work together to stop the epidemic of illegal fish introductions which represent the largest threat to Maine’s indigenous fish species.

I’ve added a number of new pictures and you can view a photo history of the project here:

June 13, 2013

Moosehead Lake Region Fishing Report - Submitted by: Tim Obrey – Regional Fisheries Biologist

Another Project to Improve Access for Anglers

You may recall last winter I wrote a fishing report outlining our collaborative efforts with Elliotsville Plantation Inc (EPI) to improve access to popular fishing holes like Big and Little Benson Ponds in Bowerbank.  We received a lot of positive feedback from anglers after they learned they could once again access Big Benson Pond in the winter on their snowsleds using some of the traditional trail routes.

EPI also owns land in the Town of Elliotsville that includes some premier wild and stocked brook trout waters.  EPI representatives have been working hard to develop a trail network to these ponds and recently teamed up with the IFW and Boy Scout Troop 61 from the Parkman-Guilford area to build some canoe storage racks along the shore of three of these trout ponds.  Some of the scouts hiked in the day before from Shirley and camped overnight.  On Sunday, the team went to work using materials purchased by EPI constructing nice new racks on the shores of Little Wilson Pond, Moose Pond, and Prescott Pond.  This effort will help keep the area clean and organized while giving anglers the opportunity to once again store their canoes at these remote ponds. While the no motorized vehicle rules are still in place on this parcel, anglers can carry their canoes in and leave them on these new storage racks.  EPI simply requests that you label your canoe with your name and phone number so they can keep track of derelict boats in the future.  Anglers and hikers can park at the campsites near Little Wilson Falls then hike a little more than a mile into these great trout ponds.  This is a terrific opportunity to fish some beautiful trout ponds in a remote setting.  We hope anglers will take advantage of it.