Category Archives: News

News, press releases and information noteworthy to the outdoorsman

IFW Commissioner Opens Fishing Season Two Weeks Early

From The Dept of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife Press Office:

DIFW Shield smallFor Immediate Release: March 16, 2016

Effective tomorrow, Thursday, March 17, the 2016 Open Water fishing season will begin, two weeks earlier than usual, per an amended rule by the Commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

The amended regulation allows bodies of water that were closed to open water fishing until April 1, 2016 to become open to open water fishing effective March 17, 2016.

Anglers throughout the state may now get a chance to enjoy the early spring by fishing on their favorite waterway earlier than usual.

Many lakes in southern and even central Maine are completely ice free. The lower than average snowfall also means that rivers and streams are at low springtime flow levels, making for easier fishing.

Anglers are likely to find more fish available in waters that were stocked last fall. Poor ice conditions meant less time for ice fishing, leaving many trout and salmon that normally would have been caught in the winter still there for spring anglers.

The early open water fishing season does not apply to waters with special season opening dates starting after April 1, 2016. This rule does not close any body of water currently open to ice fishing or open any water to ice fishing that is currently closed to ice fishing.

In addition, all waters with S-10 and “CO” designations will also be open to fishing. All other S-codes, tackle restrictions, daily bag, possession and length limits still apply as listed.

If you are fishing from a boat, the Maine Warden Service is urging boaters to wear their lifejackets. Prolonged immersion in cold water can kill, and wearing a life jacket can greatly increase your survival chances if you are in the water unexpectedly.

The beginning of the open water season also means that the department stocking trucks will be busy. The department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife begins an ambitious stocking program in mid-April and by the time ice starts to cover lakes in the fall, over 1.2 million fish will have been stocked in waterways across the state.

If you haven’t purchased your license yet, please visit www.mefishwildlife.com to purchase your license any time of the day, any day of the week

Please be sure to check the 2016 fishing law book for regulations specific to the water you wish to fish.

Ski and Snowshoe Trailer at Aroostook State Park

Get outdoors and try your hand (or feet as it were) at skiing and snowshoeing!

The Bureau of Parks and Lands will be pulling the Ski and Snowshoe Trailer into Aroostook State Park this month. This is a great opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy winter sports if you don’t own a ton of equipment for the whole family.

Date: February 22, 2016 – February 25, 2016aroostook

Time: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Location: Echo Lake, west off U.S. Route 1, south of Presque Isle
State Park: Aroostook
Event Type: Nature Exploration

Visit our Ski and Snowshoe Trailer daily, 10:00am – 2:00pm, from February 22 through February 25.

Equipment rental is FREE with regular park admission.

  • Cross-country skis
  • Snowshoes
  • Ice skates
  • Snow tubes
  • Sleds

Park staff will be on hand to assist and answer questions.

Contact Phone: (207) 768-8341
Website: http://www.maine.gov/aroostook
Cost: Free with park admission: $1.00 for ages 5-11, $3.00 for Maine residents ages 12-64, $4.00 for non-residents ages 12-64, $1.00 for non-residents 65 and older; persons under 5 and Maine residents 65 and older are free.

Fishing For Togue In Deep Water? Know these tips if you plan to release them…

By IFW Fisheries Biologist Kevin Dunham

Togue and other bottom-dwelling fish often have expanded swim bladders after being pulled up rapidly from deep water. This is known as barotrauma, usually when they are caught from water deeper than 30 feet.  Barotrauma is caused by the rapid expansion of gases in the swim bladder and other tissues as fish are retrieved to the surface.

When fishing near or on the bottom, try to bring your fish to the surface slowly to allow it time to expel gases built-up from water pressure changes.barotrauma

If a fish has a normal-sized swim bladder while it is swimming 60 feet below the surface, its swim bladder could double, even triple, as a fisherman gives it a quick trip to the surface.

A ballooning swim bladder is a non-issue if the fish will be kept.  If it’s a catch-and-release kind of fish, however, its life is in jeopardy.  With the equivalent of a beach ball in its gut the fish can’t swim back down.

The first thing is to understand the signs of a fish struggling with barotrauma, or “pressure” trauma.  The physical signs of barotrauma are:

  • Bloated abdominal area,
  • Bulging eyes,
  • Balloon-like tissue protruding from the mouth or other areas of the body (sometimes).

Sometimes lake trout can be gently squeezed to help force gas out of the swim bladder.  Gently press your thumb along the stomach near the paired belly fins and move it forward a few times to remove air from the bladder.  Fish suffering from barotrauma can survive if released properly and within two minutes of surfacing.

Snowmobile Trail Fund Sticker now Available!

Release from Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry:

Snowmobile Trail Fund Sticker now Available!

Show your support for Maine’s snowmobile trail system by purchasing a Snowmobile Trail Fund Sticker.

Stickers are available for purchase:STF

  • Online at the IF&W store – Snowmobile Trail Fund
  • From snowmobile registration agents statewide
  • At time of or after snowmobile registration

Proceeds from each Trail Supporter sticker, less a $2 administrative charge, will be transferred directly to the Snowmobile Program to support the trail fund. The colorful stickers are available in three levels of support: $25, $50 and $100.

Free Snowmobile Weekends 2016

Headshot

By John Floyd

The Dept of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has announced two special weekends in 2016 to enhance opportunities for snowmobilers this winter.

The first, being hailed as the “Tri-State Snowmobile Weekend“, is scheduled for Jan 29-31. This weekend event enables full reciprocity for Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire riders. All currently registered machines may use the entire trail network throughout all three states without having to register in another state.

Mainers can explore the trails of Vermont & New Hampshire, while our neighbors may do the same here in the Pine Tree state.

The second weekend event is the “Maine & New Brunswick Free Trail Weekend“. This event runs Feb 12-14 and enables Maine snowmobilers to obtain a free 3 day trail permit for New Brunswick. Mainers must obtain the special permit here on www.nbfsc.com. You’ll still need a current Maine registration and personal PLPD insurance ($200,000.00 min)

As with the first weekend event, this is a reciprocal event for our neighbors to the north and east to explore Maine’s 14,000 miles of trails.

A safety message from IFW:DIFW Shield small

With the increased traffic anticipated during the reciprocal snowmobile weekends, we remind all riders to obey laws of prudent operation, do not drink and drive, and be mindful that this is a family sport, so please keep our trails safe. Pay extra close attention to ice conditions on all Maine waterways especially when travelling at night, and ride with caution. 


Snowmobilers should stay off roads, ride at a reasonable speed, use hand signals and ride to the right.

Resources and additional info:

Maine Snowmobile Registrations – https://www10.informe.org/ifw/atv-snow/

Maine Snowmobile Laws and Rules – http://www.eregulations.com/maine/atv/snowmobile-laws-and-rules/

Maine Snowmobile Association – http://www.mesnow.com/

New Brunswick’s Free Trail Permit Info-http://www.nbfsc.com/html/whatsnew/docs/FreePermitWeekend2016.pdf