While it’s not exactly a bold move, it’s an important one. Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has proposed to ban live fish as bait on 16 brook trout waters on the agency’s “B” list of 267 lakes and ponds.
Three public hearings on the proposal will be held in October – the dates, times, and places have yet to be announced. Public comment on the rule, not yet advertised, will end on November 15, and the Fish and Wildlife Advisory Council will vote on the proposal at its December meeting.
I will let you know, right here, when and where the public hearings are to be held, and give you the address to send your written comments, as soon as the agency provides that information.
Here is the list of waters proposed for the ban on live bait fish:
Carr Pond (T13 RO8 WELS)
Chase Pond (T09 R10 WELS)
Fish River Lake (T14 R08 WELS)
Wheelock Lake (St. John PLT)
Millinocket Lake (T07 R09 WELS)
Portland Lake (Bridgewater)
Munsungun Lake (To8 R10 WELS)
St. Croix Lake (St Croix TWP)
Twin Island (LowellTown, TWP)
Mountain Catcher (T06 R08 WELS)
Fish Pond (Little) (Holeb TWP)
Webster Lake (T06 R10 WELS)
First (Billings) Pond (Hancock)
Round Pond (T10 SD)
The department is also proposing to remove a ban on live fish as bait on Attean Pond (Attean TWP). Attean was pulled onto the B list because it is closed to ice fishing, but it shouldn’t be on the list. It’s got splake, yellow perch, and other species, and is surrounded by stocked waters.
Waters on the “B” list in the Allagash Waterway and Fish River Chain were set aside. It’s expected that the Allagash waters will be revisited sometime in the next year, while the Fish River Chain waters will probably come off the “B” list because they are managed for landlocked salmon.
While the list above seems modest, significant opposition from bait dealers and others is likely. This is not a done deal.
For much more on this issue, read my latest outdoor news difw-moves-protect-brook-trout on my website.