Towns may get to stock fish

The legislature’s IFW Committee unanimously endorsed a bill last week that will allow towns to stock fish in ponds in their areas.

The amended bill requires a pond to have hand carry access and some parking. Nobody on the committee mentioned it, but we do have a right to walk through any field or forest to access a lake or pond in Maine. We do not have the same right to access rivers, streams and brooks.

In order to stock a pond, the town would need the approval of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and they would only be able to stock species that have been stocked in that water in the past.

They would also have to buy the fish from a private hatchery. Maine currently has three of those.

There are 30 waters where the department stopped stocking fish because there was no public access and most of those are in Franklin and Washington counties.

I’ll be very surprised if a lot of towns step up to purchase fish for stocking a pond. Especially when you consider that in many places less than half of the stocked fish are ever caught.

It makes a lot more sense to me for a town to work to provide public access to a pond, and parking, so that the department can once again stock fish there.


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.