RANGELEY — Three wild brook trout conservation partners are seeking volunteer anglers interested in adventure and fishing remote ponds for brookies.

For this year, 297 new ponds were added to the list of Brook Trout Pond Survey ponds, which are spread from south of Rangeley in Franklin County to Caribou in Aroostook County, Amanda Moeser, of Maine Audubon, said Thursday in a report.

Moeser serves as volunteer coordinator for the project spawned last year with partners Trout Unlimited and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

“Maine brook trout are a special resource, and we need to know where they are before we can protect and manage them appropriately,” Merry Gallagher, of MDIFW, said.

“We need to build on last year’s successful effort and recruit some new volunteers,” Moeser said.

“Volunteers should be enthusiastic about fishing for brook trout, be comfortable in remote settings and have a sense of adventure.”

The project was designed to help the partners and state biologists gather data on which ponds in western and northern Maine are inhabited by wild brook trout.

A team of biologists will conduct “new pond surveys” on 43 ponds where brook trout were caught or observed by volunteer anglers in 2011.

That survey area included ponds in parts of Franklin, Oxford, Somerset and Piscataquis counties.

However, the 43 ponds recommended for further survey cannot be revealed, said Jonathan Griffiths, associate director of Cashman Communications, which released the report.

“To get people to participate in this project, we promised not to publicize the location of ponds with trout,” Griffiths said Friday by email.

“The success of this project is entirely dependent on the data collected by volunteer anglers,” Jeff Reardon of Trout Unlimited said.

“The project’s focus on remote ponds offers anglers a chance to explore new places while advancing trout conservation efforts.”

He said none of the 2011 ponds were surveyed by fisheries biologists and there are no records of past stocking. So any brookies found in them are native, wild fish.

During the 2011 season, 81 volunteer anglers contributed nearly 1,900 hours of their time to the project, Moeser said.

Volunteers came from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts.

“Dedicated volunteers included die-hard fly anglers, spin and bait fishermen (where permitted), and avid kayakers who enjoy wetting a line from time to time,” Moeser said.

“But most importantly, everyone who participated in this project is passionate about protecting Maine’s unique brook trout.”

They searched for brookies in 112 ponds, successfully surveying 95 ponds from the original list of 187 ponds, Moeser said.

Volunteers confirmed brook trout presence in 24 of the surveyed ponds and observed signs of brook trout presence in another 21 ponds.

They also confirmed an absence of brook trout in 50 ponds, which is equally valuable information to fisheries biologists, she said.

The 75 ponds not surveyed last year were added to the 2012 Pond List.

Surveys for 2012 can be completed any time before Sept. 30.

“We are seeking both information from anglers who have previously fished these waters and new volunteers to find and fish these ponds this season,” Griffiths said. 

In Franklin County, information is being sought on:

* Mud Pond in Rangeley Plantation.

* Adley and Unnamed ponds in Phillips.

* Gile Logan, Yorks Logan, Long Logan, Ellis, Perk, and Beaver Bog ponds in Rangeley.

* Roland Pond in Dallas Plantation.

* Southwest Pond in Township 6 North of Weld.

* Blanchard Pond No. 3 in Davis Township.

* Reed Pond in Eustis.

* Cranberry Pond in Wyman Township.

* Moose and Deer and City ponds in Sandy River Plantation.

* Day Pond in Kingfield.

* Unknown Pond in Gorham Township.

* Mud Pond in Beattie Township.

* Elaine, Sapet, Sipun and Trout ponds in Lowelltown Township.

* Lost Pond in Chain of Ponds Township.

* and Lower Hathan Bog in Coburn Gore.

At the Trout Unlimited website, the project partners are providing maps, data sheets, and instructions on how to survey each pond: www.tumaine.org/brooktrout.htm.

To sign up to volunteer, contact Moeser at (207) 781-6180 x207 or [email protected].

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