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Conservation and Management

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Conserving Maine’s Wild Brook Trout

Maine is the nation’s wild brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) resource leader. A national status assessment of the species’ historic range, completed in 2005, found the greatest percentage of intact, viable wild brook trout populations occur in Maine. Maine is a leader in wild brook trout conservation and a founding partner of the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture: National Fish Habitat Partnership ( Our wild brookies persist statewide and can be found inhabiting all varieties of aquatic habitats – lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, and coastal estuaries. This provides anglers with ample year round options to experience a variety of fishing opportunities and angling styles while exploring Maine’s diverse geography.

Maine’s wild brook trout tend to be concentrated in the interior highlands of the state, an area dominated by vast forests. However, wild brookies are also common in lower elevation areas, the coastal plain, and in relative close proximity to development. All in all, recent survey efforts of all habitat types reveal that wild brook trout occupy about 60% of all habitats available to them within Maine. Because trout can be found in such diverse habitats and conditions, fish size and abundance is also quite variable. As such, IFW biologists vary management strategies across habitats and waters in order to provide a variety of options to anglers while conserving populations for future generations. Some ponds that support high growth rates are managed to provide anglers an expectation of catching larger than average size trout. Conversely, some waters that tend to produce high abundances of trout are managed to provide anglers an expectation of ‘faster fishing’ or higher catch rates for smaller trout. Additional information regarding managing Maine’s unique and valuable wild brook trout resources can be found here






Maine Landlocked Salmon

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 1900’s, 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:

To learn more about landlocked salmon life history and management visit: IF&W Online Store

To read Maine’s Landlocked Salmon Management Plan visit:


Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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This is not the full law. Consult the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife for further details. All persons are reminded that the statutes, code and regulations are the legal authorities.
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