Maine is well-known for our abundance of coldwater fish populations such as landlocked Atlantic salmon and trout. These coldwater species thrive in cool (≤ 68°F), clean, well-oxygenated water. During summers when water levels and flows can be low due to lack of rainfall, water temperatures rise causing additional stress on trout and salmon.
Thanks to Maine’s unique hydrography of interconnected streams and lakes, many of these fish will move between flowing and non-flowing waters (Jackson & Zydlewski, 2009). This interconnectivity combined with an abundance of deep natural lakes provides vast areas for stream dwelling trout to seek thermal refuge during periods of high stream temperatures.
Anglers are reminded to consider these conditions and take some personal responsibility when fishing for coldwater fish species such as trout and landlocked salmon during warm temperatures or low water levels and flows.
Follow the steps above to reduce stress on coldwater species or consider fishing for warmwater species such as bass, pickerel, and perch in July and August. These species thrive in warmer water, unlike salmon and trout, and can often be found cruising the shoreline of ponds and lakes, often creating an action-filled fishing day.
Drought conditions experienced during recent summers and associated potential increases in water temperatures have prompted questions to MDIFW from the angling public regarding the value of implementing temperature-based fishing restrictions to reduce angling related stress and mortality. Given the more recent extremes in weather patterns, and expressed public concern, MDIFW conducted a comprehensive review of temperature-based coldwater fishery restrictions to better understand the strategies and science behind these restrictions.