Know the S-33 Code!!
(Maximum length limit on landlocked salmon and brown trout: 25 inches)
Atlantic salmon occur in many of Maine’s inland waters and can be found with landlocked salmon and brown trout. Atlantic salmon are listed as endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and are considered a closed species by the State of Maine. To help protect them and ensure anglers do not inadvertently “take” an endangered species through misidentification, the S-33 code was developed.
Atlantic Salmon occur in a variety of color phases from black to silver to brown, and can look similar to brown trout in coloration. Atlantic Salmon also occur in regions of the state not subject to the S-33 rule. Therefore, anglers should use caution and make proper identification any time a large Salmonid is caught. Any Atlantic salmon incidentally caught must be released immediately, alive and uninjured. At no time should Atlantic salmon be removed from the water.
The landlocked salmon is one of Maine’s most highly prized and sought after sportfish. Landlocked salmon are a freshwater form of the sea-run Atlantic salmon and prior to 1868, populations occurred in only four river basins in Maine: the St. Croix, including West Grand Lake in Washington County; the Union, including Green Lake in Hancock County; the Penobscot, including Sebec Lake in Piscataquis County; and the Presumpscot, including Sebago Lake in Cumberland County. Salmon have been widely introduced throughout the state since the early 1900s, and Maine now supports one of the largest sport fisheries for this species in the world. Salmon currently provide the primary fishery in 200 lakes. Populations in 138 lakes are maintained by stocking, while natural reproduction sustains populations in 62 lakes. Salmon also provide good fisheries in 50 rivers and streams totaling about 320 miles.
Salmon fishing in lakes is most productive from ice-out to early summer, and again in September. During these times most anglers troll near the surface, around rocky points or shoals, and near the mouths of tributaries or thoroughfares. Sewn smelts or artificial lures that imitate smelts are effective baits. Fly-casting can be productive in lakes during insect hatches, and is the preferred method for catching salmon in rivers.
Ice fishing for salmon is popular in Maine. Winter anglers fish a few feet under the surface with various models of “tip-ups” or by “jigging” natural baits or artificial lures.
To find fishing opportunities for landlocked salmon in Maine visit the Maine Fishing Guide at: www.maine.gov/ifw/fishing/fishingGuide.html.
To learn more about landlocked salmon life history and management visit:
IF&W Online Store
To read Maine’s Landlocked Salmon Management Plan visit: www.maine.gov/ifw/fishing/species/management_plans/landlockedsalmon.pdf
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.