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Simple Ways to Identify Your Catch

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Muskie, Pike, or Pickerel?

Anglers are strongly encouraged to harvest all northern pike and muskellunge and not release them back to the water alive.

To view images and information on freshwater fish species in Maine visit:


Muskellunge – Dark, vertical bars on light green or brown background. Only upper half of cheek and gill cover scaled.


Northern Pike – Light colored, irregular markings on dark background along flank. Dorsal fin insertion slightly ahead of anal fin.


Chain Pickerel – Dark, chain-like markings on light background along flank, and a dark vertical line under eye.




Identification of Landlocked Salmon and Brown Trout

The more obvious difference between landlocked salmon and brown trout may be found in the head and tail areas. Knowing them may help the angler release a fish more quickly when certain creel and size restrictions apply. On landlocked salmon, the vomerine teeth are small and arranged in a single row along the vomerine shaft, few to none on vomerine head. On brown trout, the vomerine teeth are well-developed on both vomerine head and shaft, arranged in a zig-zag row on shaft. On landlocked salmon, the caudal fin may be slightly forked and on the brown trout, the caudal fin is square and unforked.


Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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