Commissioner Woodcock responds to fisheries stocking/access concerns

Upper Magalloway BrookieConcerns raised by me in my May 27 column, and those raised by readers of that column that I shared with you and DIF&W Commissioner Chandler Woodcock on June 8, are being discussed by the agency.

At least, that’s what Chandler told me in an emailed response. Here’s what he had to say:


 I will discuss with Fisheries-the stocking of public waters is an important aspect of the management of our fisheries. Our regions differ somewhat due to Maine’s climate. In most years, the southern portion of the state has a much longer season than the northern tier. Access to waters becomes both an open water and an ice fishing discussion as the types of access vary considerably according to the season.

 The fish stocking discussion has been ongoing and will continue to be addressed. I am certain that there are waters where the public feels that our stocking is either inadequate or completely lacking. In my time here at MDIFW, I have been involved in many discussions focused on particular bodies of water and stocking. That will continue to be the case. Considering the number of waters in the state, I feel that our biologists and hatchery division do an exceptional job of supplying the public’s fish through our stocking program, which is often discussed and frequently reviewed.

 I appreciate your concerns and want to offer, as I have on several occasions privately and publically, that your fishing expeditions usually result in many fish still being available for me to catch!!

Thank you.- Chan

Chandler does love to make fun of my fishing. And I’m glad that, after six years at the helm of DIF&W, he still has a sense of humor!

If we get a response to the concerns and issues raised on specific waters sent to me by readers, I will let you know.

Today, I’m going to share with you, and with Chandler, three more issues and concerns raised by readers of the two previous columns on fisheries access and stocking issues.

Bob Lorenze

Just a thought, and probably my ignorance is showing. But shouldn’t lakes and ponds which are not even fished get some stocking? I’m thinking that more than people are fishing in our bodies of water and as a sportsman one would hope to see healthy vibrant bird and other animal species communities. I would think key incubator areas are already known and some effort should be taken to ensure an abundant supply of fish for them as well.

Henry Ville

I had a question about access. The studmill road is gated for usually about the first month of the open water season. There are many waters in that area that are stocked by the state. Yet there are many key holders to the gates that go in and fish while the rest are not allowed to fish these waters. I have asked legislators if this was right or fair not having equal access. Here is a reply that I received from the secretary of state. It was an insult.


Lance Mattatall

I live on Highland Lake in Windham. Our lake was hit with this policy, and our stocking canceled a few years ago, due to “Non-equitable” boat launch issues. We have been stocked for years, and we have a carry in boat launch. IFW owns this boat launch, but it happens to be in Falmouth, and the people that live on that side of lake do not want to expand this launch. Francis has explained to me that the state could, but doesn’t want, to make this a trailer able launch. They don’t want to be seen as “Big Brother”.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.