Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Brook Trout Hot Spots and Fall Turkeys

September’s arrival brings with it a slight nip to the evening air, a marked decrease in the number of biting insects and dramatic changes in the foliage. September is also the time of year when hunters begin to develop that wild and crazy look in their eye, as the excitement of the impending arrival of hunting season builds to crescendo.

For anglers, September is the last chance to score a few trout and salmon before many rivers, streams and brooks are closed to all fishing beginning October 1st. Trout Fishing As the laws, rules and regulations, provided by Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, require a team of lawyers to interpret; here are the basics for those who don’t want to spend money on a legal team just to go fishing for an afternoon. From August 16 to September 30, fishing in rivers, streams and brooks in Washington County is restricted to the use of artificial lures or flies only, and the combined total daily bag limit for trout, landlocked salmon, and togue is 1 fish. Also, unless otherwise indicated, lakes and ponds in Washington County have a daily bag limit on brook trout is 2 fish. To help sportsmen interpret the overly complex Maine fishing laws, here is a breakdown of rules and S-codes on three of my favorite lakes to fish, in September.

Number one on my list is Keen’s Lake in Calais (DeLorme’s The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer (MAG), Map 37, C-1), ruled by four different s-codes: Closed to taking smelts (S-2), except by hook and line and tributaries closed to taking smelts codes (S-3). Also, from October 1 to November 30 anglers must use Artificial lures only (S-6) and all trout, landlocked salmon, and togue caught must be released alive at once (S-7). Fortunately, none of the listed s-codes interfere with fishermen wanting to catch trout with live bait in September. Therefore, fishermen wanting to chuck a bobber and worm into Keen’s Lake during the month of September can catch 2 brook trout for the fry pan as long as they are a minimum of 6 inches in length. IFW regularly stocks Keens Lake and in October of 2015 dumped 4,000 seven inch and one-hundred fifty, fourteen inch trout in the lake.

Number two on my list is Indian Lake (MAP 26, B-5) in Whiting, ruled by three different s-codes: No size or bag limit on bass (S-13), a daily bag limit on trout of 5 fish, (only 1 may exceed 12 inches) and from October 1 – November 30 anglers must only use artificial lures (S-6) and lastly during October and November, all trout, landlocked salmon, and togue caught must be released alive at once (S-7). Again, as with Keen’s Lake, none of the listed s-codes interfere with fishermen wanting to catch trout with live bait in September. A word of warning however to anglers, Indian Lake was stocked on 11/17/2015 with twenty-five, twenty inch brook trout. Given that many of these beauties are likely still swimming around in the lake, fishermen should after catching four fish hold out for the possibility of one of these large fish. Indian was also stocked on 4/20/2016 with six-hundred, ten inch brook trout, on 5/5/2015 with six-hundred, nine inch brook trout, 10/5/2015 with six thousand, seven inch brook trout and on 10/26/2015 with two hundred, fourteen inch brook trout.

Number three on my list is Six Mile Lake (MAP 26, B-2) in Marshfield is ruled by a daily bag limit on trout of 5 fish and three different s-codes: First, there is no size or bag limit on bass (S-13), use or possession of live fish is prohibited, however, the use of dead fish, salmon eggs, and worms is permitted (S-4), the lake also remains open to open water fishing from October 1 - November 30 to artificial lures only but all trout, landlocked salmon and togue must be released alive at once. Six Mile Lake is closed to open water fishing from December 1 - March 31 (S-10). Again, as with the other two lakes, none of the listed s-codes interfere with fishermen wanting to catch trout with live bait in September. Six Mile Lake was also stocked on 5/7/2015 with three-hundred, eleven inch brook trout, on 10/13/2015 with sixty, thirteen inch brook trout and on 10/15/2015 with one-thousand-nine-hundred-fifty, seven inch brook trout.

The Wildman Scores at Just 9 Years Old!
Fall Turkey
The fall wild turkey hunting season is open statewide to hunting with bow and arrow or shotgun and is set to coincide with the regular archery season on deer: September 29 through October 28. Those pursuing turkey this fall in Washington County (Wildlife Management Districts 27, 28, 19 and 11), depending on the district they plan to hunt, will need to understand three different sets of harvest regulations Wildlife Management District 28 is open with a two of either sex, wild turkey bag limit, while Wildlife Management District 11 and 19 are open with a one (1) of either sex, wild turkey bag limit. Wildlife Management District 27 is closed during the 2016 fall wild turkey hunting season. Typically fall hunters still have the “spring” mindset that they can only shoot a gobbler but fall hunters can also harvest hens and poults. Shooting a hen is no more wrong than shooting a doe deer, and after eating a tender hen or poult deliciously slow cooked in a crock-pot, hunters may never want to eat a gobbler again. Hunters chasing turkeys in the fall need to modify their tactics, compared to what they employed during the spring season. Unlike the spring hunt, fall turkeys are a completely different animal. One of my favorite fall turkey hunting tactics involves spot and stalk on single birds. Using binoculars, I locate a solo bird and work to intercept its path. Having a decoy and employing soft clucks and purrs helps to nudge the bird toward you if it starts to wander off track. With luck, the bird will continue on its trajectory and walk directly in the path of your awaiting gun barrel. Another favorite technique is patterning flocks and simply setting up between the roost and their food supply. Game cameras can be extremely effective tools to help pattern turkeys. By showing exactly where and when birds are walking through or visiting a particular area hunters can use this information to be precisely where the birds are, thereby maximizing hunter time and energy afield.

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