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Maine Opening Day of Fishing Season 2001

April 1, 2001

By Mike Christy

That groundhog was right, or was he? There seems to be much more than 6 weeks of winter left in the southern part of Maine. Or is it just a cruel April fools joke; that there will be no fishing on opening day? Areas north and west of Portland appear to be stuck in the middle of January, not to mention the northern regions of the state. Many of the towns surrounding Sebago Lake have 3 feet of snow on the ground, with roadside snow banks even higher. Needless to say, there is not much open water for fishing to be found on the area's lakes and ponds. Reports of 2 feet of ice by anglers whose fished on the last day of ice fishing season appear to be true. 

What little open water there was could only be found near coverts, river mouths and bridges. The Muddy River, The Crooked River & Songo Locks, Panther Run  and the causeway at Naples did provide some angling chances. Many opportunistic anglers donned their insulated overhauls and woolens as for a day on the ice and headed for these spots.

For those who did, Dick Pinney who authors the region's weekly fishing report, writes the following about opening day in Maine:

"In the Sebago area, Dave Garcia at Naples Bait on Long Lake, reported that fishing on the causeway at Long Lake had produced a few average landlocked salmon and one outsized brown trout. The salmon were taken from the culverts and bridge area where the current had attracted them. They were caught on live smelts. The brown trout, a six-pound beauty, was caught on a nightcrawler below a bobber right at the ice line."

Anglers at the Songo locks found little activity under the surface. The water appeared very low for this time of year, most probably because the majority of it is still in solid form on the ground. Several opening day enthusiasts brought  folding chairs and coolers (whatever for, maybe to keep the drinks from freezing?) and set up camp below the locks for a day of fishing. 

This report from Dick Pinney's contact Biologist John Boland, confirms that some fish were taken today:

"Chief Sebago Fisheries Biologist John Boland reported that some salmon had been caught at Panther Run in Raymond and at the Songo Locks. "The salmon were from 17 to 19 inches long and not too fat. I'd have to describe them as in fair condition. The brooks are low and fishable here but you just can't get at most of them because of the snow depths. Our stocking schedule has been set back a good two weeks because of this," John said. "

During spring, fish tend to congregate towards open or running water in search of warmer water, food and oxygen. Even though they are hungry, their metabolisms are slow and will not exert much effort chasing bait. A night crawler on a bobber is all that's required to entice a trout or salmon. I recall a few years back about a secret opening day bait that an old timer in a weak moment let on about. "We are using a secret weapon -it's called the guitar guppy..." It turned out to be your basic garden worm.

Opening day of freshwater fishing in Maine tried the patience of many sportsmen including the owners of these fishing shanties resting on the shore at Sebago Station. They will just  have to wait until next year to return to the ice, even though the thickness is plenty to support them, and may be for days to come.


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