AUGUSTA – In promoting its Family Fishing Days, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will offer the first of two free fishing weekends this Saturday and Sunday.

On these two days and on May 30 and 31, people can fish for free on Maine’s waterways provided one’s license hasn’t been revoked or suspended. All fishing regulations apply.

“Family Fishing Days provide the perfect opportunity for adults to introduce children to fishing,” department Commissioner Roland “Danny” Martin said Monday in a news release.

Fishing is one of Maine’s most popular activities – whether on open water or on ice – attracting 286,000 people annually to buy fishing licenses, the report said. The sport has a $300 million impact on Maine’s economy.

Banding bird watchers

In recognition of bird watching, a fast-growing outdoor activity in Maine, and to help birders recover lost binoculars, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is offering the Maine Birding Band.

Designed by IF&W biologists Steve Walker and Judy Camuso, the small circular metal band can be worn on binocular/optic straps or similar gear.

It carries the IF&W insignia, a registration number assigned to the wearer, and a number to call if someone finds the lost binoculars/optics that belong to the registrant. The department will notify people if their tagged gear was found.

A $20 contribution nets a 2009 series Maine Birding Band. The proceeds go to IF&W’s Non-Game and Endangered Species Fund.

To participate in the Maine Birder Band program, visit www.mefishwildlife.com.

Moose permit bidding starts

AUGUSTA – Bids are being accepted for the 2009 Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife moose permit auction.

IF&W auctions 10 moose hunting permits annually, awarding them to the highest bidders. Proceeds support the Youth Conservation Education Fund, which awards partial scholarships to send boys and girls ages 10 through 14 to a week of conservation camp at Lake Christopher in Bryant Pond or Long Lake in Princeton.

Last year’s auction netted nearly $100,000 and sent more than 400 youths to camp, according to a news release issued by the department on Wednesday.

The bids will be opened April 3 and must be submitted to IF&W no later than 5 p.m. March 31, accompanied by a non-refundable bid fee of $25. A bid packet is available by calling 207-287-5207.

For more information, visit www.maine.gov/ifw/.



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