We are entering the sweet spot in Maine’s trout season. The water is warm enough that fish and insects are active, but not so warm they start looking for cold water spring holes. That makes it the perfect time for TU’s Maine Brook Trout Pond Survey project with Maine Audubon and the Maine Inland Fisheries Division.
The idea is simple. Maine has over 1,000 ponds whose fish populations have never been surveyed. We believe there are brook trout in many of these, and would like to see those populations identified and protected. By fishing the ponds and identifying the ones that support wild trout, anglers can substantially reduce the survey effort by biologists we hire to document the populations. Last year, over 100 volunteer anglers fanned out across western Maine, collected information on about 120 ponds and identified 45 of those as candidates for formal survey. You can see the results here: http://www.tumaine.org/images/docs/2011_Report.pdf
This year, we have a list of over 300 ponds, spread out from the New Hampshire border to northern Aroostook County, targeted for volunteers. Right now, a two-person survey crew is targeting 45 ponds from last year for formal net surveys, to confirm the presence of brook trout, collect biological samples and establish baseline population data. TU will then advocate that these newly identified waters be placed on the state’s “heritage” list of brook trout ponds—ponds that support wild brook trout populations and have never been stocked.
So, if you plan to fish in Maine this year, check out either a list or Google Earth map of the survey ponds at the project website http://www.tumaine.org/brooktrout.htm, and contact Amanda, our volunteer coordinator from Maine Audubon, to sign up for a pond.
Jeff Reardon– Maine Brook Trout Project Director