AUBURN — As far as registered fishing guide Scottie Bragdon is concerned, it’s only right that fishing season should open early this year after the horrid conditions since last autumn.

The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has announced that open water fishing will open Thursday — two weeks ahead of schedule — sending a shiver of excitement through the angling community.

“We’ve gotten a little boost from this,” said Bragdon, who is also a sales associate at Dag’s Bait and Sporting Goods in Auburn. “We’ve had phone calls and people are coming in a little more steady than they were a couple of days ago.”

As buzz got underway Wednesday, there were also rumors that fishing wouldn’t be permitted on Lake Auburn because the ice is not out. The rumors proved to be erroneous, according to DIFW Spokesman Mark Latti. Fishing from the shore of Lake Auburn will be allowed — ice or no ice, he said.

It’s great news, said Bragdon, especially considering that hot weather last fall followed by a mild winter have made for lousy fishing conditions across the area.

The people at DWIF, however, predict a reversal of fishing fortune.

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“Anglers are likely to find more fish available in waters that were stocked last fall,” Latti wrote in a news release. “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.”

Richard Stone, who used to run Stone’s Bait & Tackle in Lewiston, pointed out that fishing is allowed on bodies of water that are clear of ice, regardless of the date. He expects Lake Auburn to be a popular spot, although it’s not the only game in town.

“Sabattus Lake, for instance, is wide open,” Stone said. “Almost all the lakes are open. Auburn is always a little late.”

And the fishing is only expected to get better as the season progresses. The DIFW begins an ambitious stocking program in mid-April, with more than a million fish expected to be dumped into waterways across the state by fall.


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