If you are a recreational saltwater angler, Maine law may require you to register with the Maine Saltwater Recreational Fishing Registry. To learn more or to register, visit maine.gov/saltwater or call 633-9505.
As of Wednesday night, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has closed the Atlantic Bluefin General and Charter/Headboat categories (when fishing commercially) until Sept. 1. The NMFS has determined that the adjusted June through August subquota has been reached and that a closure is warranted at this time. Shark fishing remains very good with a mix of blues, makos and threshers. The minimum size for all keeper sharks (makos, porbeagles, threshers and blues) is 41/2 feet in length while basking and white sharks are federally protected species. If you are not sure of what species you have hooked, then “If you don’t know, let it go”. All vessels fishing recreationally for Atlantic tuna, sharks, swordfish and billfish must have an Atlantic HMS Angling Permit. For more information contact the NMFS at 978-281-9260 or visit their website. Changes have been made in the cod and haddock regulations for 2017. Anglers cannot retain any Atlantic cod, and the minimum size for haddock is 17 inches with a 12-fish-per-angler, per-day bag limit. The minimum size for halibut in federal waters is 41 inches and the taking of halibut in Maine territorial waters is closed from July 1 to April 30. Groundfishermen continue to report decent catches of haddock, pollock, hake, cusk and cod (cod must be released) using either bait or jigs with a teaser fly. Anglers heading offshore this weekend can expect a substantial swell generated by Hurricane Gert as it passes well to the east of us. Sea surface temperature are like last week. Reports from the Jeffrey’s Ledge buoy show temps in the high 60s while at the Portland LNB weather buoy temperatures are in the low 60s.
Federal striped bass regulations: It is unlawful to fish for, take or possess striped bass in federal waters (waters greater than three miles from shore). Statewide striped bass regulations: An angler may fish all year for striped bass, but may only keep one per day that measures over 28 inches total length. If you have any questions or would like copies of the 2017 saltwater regulations, call 633-9505 or check the web.
ZONE 1: For all zones, shore anglers should exercise caution this weekend as rip currents and unusual surf generated by Hurricane Gert could cause problems in some areas. Stripers, schoolies to trophies, are there for the taking. The key is to be flexible and to remember that what is a hot spot today may not produce any fish tomorrow. Pine Point, the Bathhouse end of Biddeford Pool, Goosefare Brook (coming tide) and Old Orchard have been giving up fish. Beach fishermen should check local ordinances prior to fishing as some area beaches may restrict fishing between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. until Labor Day. Chunked macs, worms and clams are the baits to use. Anglers can also find action in the lower portion of the rivers and the estuaries. If you are casting (from shore or boat) use Al Gags Whip-it Eels, Storm WildEye Swim Shad or the Bill Hurly’s 7 1/2 inch Cape Cod Sand Eels. Fly fishermen report better catches of late (fish the coming tide) using mackerel pattern, red/white and red/yellow Clousers and the pure black Deceiver (night). Mackerel are readily available in their usual spots.
ZONE 2: Anglers can still find stripers around the ledges, flats, islands and the lower portions of the rivers. Fishing has been decent for those willing to put in the time and effort. The mouths of the rivers (Presumpscot, Royal, Harraseeket, New Meadows, etc.) are best fished on a dropping tide while fishing along the ledges is often more productive during a coming tide. Clams and sea worms are the baits that have been producing fish. For the crank fisherman, artificials that are working include the Daiwa SP and DS Minnows, Yo-Zuri Pin’s Magnet, Hydro Pencil, Hydro Popper and the Rebel Jumpin’ Minnow. Blue or olive 1/0 and 2/0 Deceivers (day) and red or black Deceivers (night) have been doing the trick for those tossing a fly. Water temperatures at the Maine State Pier are almost at the 60-degree mark.
ZONE 3: Striped bass fishing remains very strong throughout most of this zone and well east of the Penobscot (Union, Narraguagus, Pleasant, etc. rivers). That is something that I have not been able to report in a number of years. Fish can be found in most of their customary spots, but like everything else, you’ve got to make the time investment to reap the reward. See Zones 1 and 2 for baits, artificials, flies and fishing tips. Boat anglers who are willing to move around until they find the fish have reported the best catch of macs. Shore anglers have found fishing hit or miss as these fish meander about. Chum (cat food) generally helps to hold the fish once you find them. With the Eastport Breakwater still out of commission, the mackerel crowd Downeast is finding it hard to find a place to fish. Remember that if you are fishing on the Kennebec, upstream of the power line in Augusta, you must have a current freshwater fishing license. Sea surface temperatures, as reported from the DMR dock in West Boothbay Harbor, are in the low to mid 60s.
This saltwater report is compiled by Bruce Joule, Maine Department of Marine Resources, P.O. Box 8, West Boothbay Harbor 04575. If you have information to report please contact me at 633-9505 or email: [email protected]