Fishing season opens early. It’s an emergency

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AUGUSTA — You can fish starting today. Gov. John Baldacci signed an emergency law starting open water fishing season early, since there really isn’t much ice left in the state to hinder anglers.

According to a press release from the Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, all lakes, ponds and brooks are open except those with specific opening-day regulations that start after April 1 as listed in the 2008-2009 Open Water Fishing Law Book.

Bag and size limit rules contained in the 2008-2009 Open Water Fishing Law Book also apply.

This emergency fishing law is in effect for one week, until April 1, when regular fishing laws apply.

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According to IF&W, a new fishing law book that combines ice fishing and open water fishing rules, including several new regulations, will become effective April 1.

Distribution of the book began a couple of weeks ago and is available where fishing licenses are sold.

“People have been anxious to drop their lines given that ice fishing season ended too soon in some parts of the state, with many lakes and ponds experiencing early ice out conditions,” Commissioner Roland “Danny” Martin said.

“We’re happy to provide this opportunity to anglers, and remind them to be mindful of early spring cold-water conditions by being safe,” he said in a press release.

Open water fishing season historically begins on April 1 on most waters of the state. Because of unseasonably warm weather opening up waterways in many counties and strong public interest in wanting to fish, Maine Sen. Bruce Bryant, D-Oxford County, sponsored emergency legislation to start the season early.

“Let’s go fishing!” exclaimed Sen. Bryant, upon the governor’s signature of the bill.

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