AUGUSTA – In contrast to most years where lakes and ponds are buttoned up tight with ice, the opening day of fishing season Saturday, April 1, should provide anglers with plenty of open water throughout the state.

“This certainly is different than most years,” said Peter Bourque, Director of Fisheries for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Many lakes in southern and even central Maine are completely ice free.

The lower than average snowfall also means that rivers and streams are at low springtime flow levels, making fishing easier.

Anglers are likely to find more fish available in waters that were stocked last fall. Poor ice conditions meant less time for ice fishing, leaving many trout and salmon that normally would have been caught in the winter still there for spring anglers.

The Maine Warden Service is urging boaters to wear lifejackets. Prolonged immersion in cold water can kill, and wearing a life jacket can greatly increase survival chances if a boater falls in the water unexpectedly.

The beginning of the open water season also means that the department stocking trucks will be busy. The Dry Mills Hatchery and the Casco Hatchery Fish Hatchery start an ambitious stocking program next week, and by the time ice starts to cover lakes in the fall, over 1.2 million fish will have been stocked in Maine waterways.

Licenses can be purchased online at Those who buy their license through MOSES (Maine Online Sportsmen’s Electronic System) will be automatically entered to win a 1957 Maine Warden Service Truck.

Once again, there are some changes in fishing regulations specific to certain ponds. Those changes are listed in the law book.

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