MAINE — Maine Audubon, Trout Unlimited and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife are seeking volunteer anglers to survey remote Maine ponds and coastal streams for brook trout this fishing season.

The information will be used to identify populations of previously-undocumented wild brook trout across the state.

Wild brook trout have significantly declined throughout their range. Today, Maine is home to 97 percent of the intact wild brook trout lake and pond habitat in the eastern United States. Brook trout require clean, cold water and well-connected streams to survive.

The population status of brook trout is a key indicator of a healthy ecosystem that also illustrates the health of other species, including moose, deer, otters, kingfishers, herons and osprey.

Maine is home to hundreds of remote ponds that have never been surveyed by fisheries biologists nor have any record of past stocking.

“Identifying the ponds and coastal streams with wild brook trout will greatly assist MDIFW in planning our conservation and management strategies over the next several decades,” said Merry Gallagher, MDIFW fisheries research biologist.

The is the fifth year of the Brook Trout Survey Project. To date, 252 active volunteers have successfully surveyed 288 remote Maine ponds. Of those waters, 127 ponds were recommended to MDIFW for a formal survey after brook trout were caught or observed. Based on the fact that these ponds had never been formally surveyed by MDIFW and there are no records of any past stocking, these trout are likely previously unknown populations of native or wild brook trout.

Based on the success of the Pond Survey, the project expanded in 2014 to include coastal stream surveys. Project partners hope that this year will bring a significant increase in the number of streams surveyed and new volunteer anglers. Brook trout that live in coastal streams may spend part of their lives in saltwater and come back to freshwater to spawn.

Volunteer anglers are needed to survey 300+ ponds in northern Maine and coastal streams ranging from Kennebunk to Lubec. Surveys can be completed any time before Sept. 30. The prime time for coastal stream surveys is mid-April through June, while pond fishing can be productive in both the spring and fall. Project partners will provide maps, data sheets and instructions on how to survey ponds and streams.

To sign up to volunteer, contact Emily Bastian at 207-781-2330, ext. 207, or [email protected] For more information about the Brook Trout Survey Project, visit maineaudubon.org/brooktrout.


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