Mooselookmeguntic Lake Fishery Management

Fishery Interim Summary Report Series No. 08-03

By David P. Boucher

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
Fisheries and Hatcheries Division
Augusta, Maine

March 2008

Interim Summary Report No. 6 (2007)

Summary

Mooselookmeguntic Lake is the largest of the Rangeley Chain of Lakes and supports sport fisheries for wild landlocked salmon and brook trout. These fisheries have been monitored by periodic season-long creel surveys and aerial angler counts since 1981. Growth rates for salmon declined considerably beginning in the late 1990’s; brook trout growth also declined during that period but not as dramatically. The decline in fish quality for both species was attributed to a decline in harvest rates resulting from reduced fishing pressure and increased release rates of legal fish by anglers. Salmon regulations were liberalized slightly in 2000 to encourage harvest of smaller fish and improve fish quality. Salmon quality continued to deteriorate, so harvest regulations were further liberalized in 2006 (three salmon daily bag limit; minimum length limit 12 inches; only one may exceed 18 inches). Additional salmon harvest was also encouraged through an educational program involving signage, oral presentations, and written articles.

The more liberal salmon rules, combined with the education effort, appear to be resulting in an increased salmon harvest and improved growth rates, despite another decline in fishing pressure during the 2007 season. Nevertheless, we recommend continuance of the current liberalized harvest regulations until at least 2010 to encourage additional improvements in salmon quality.

Brook trout growth rates have stabilized since 2004, and older-age fish continue to be present in the fishery. Continued good growth rates of brook trout are attributed to the fact this species is less dependant on smelts for forage.

For more information, please contact:

Dave Boucher, Assistant Regional Fishery Biologist
689 Farmington Road
Strong, Maine 04983-9419
Telephone (207) 778-3322 Ext. 23
Email: dave.boucher@maine.gov