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: Maine Atlantics - A step toward recovery

06-26-2006, 04:33 PM
(Associated Press)

Commission votes for one-month salmon season on Penobscot River
June 23, 2006

EDDINGTON, Maine --Anglers will be allowed to hook sea-run salmon in Maine for the first time since 1999 following a decision by the Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission to open a stretch of the Penobscot River to catch-and-release fishing this fall.

The commission unanimously approved a plan Thursday to reopen a portion of the river near Bangor from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 in what is being called an "experimental" season.

The stretch that will open -- from 150 feet below the Veazie Dam fishway downstream to the former site of the Bangor Dam -- includes many of the fishing pools that made the Penobscot famous for its salmon fishing.

"This is a great milestone and a great opportunity, and I personally hope it works," said Roland "Danny" Martin, commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and one of the commission's three board members.

Fishermen will be restricted to artificial flies with single-pointed, barbless hooks and must immediately release any caught fish unharmed without removing them from the water.

The Atlantic Salmon Commission closed all Maine rivers to fishing for sea-run Atlantic salmon in December 1999 in response to sharp declines in the fish populations. The federal government later placed the salmon populations in eight Maine rivers on the endangered species list.

The salmon in the Penobscot have since recovered somewhat, and biologists are pleased with the more than 650 adults counted in the Veazie Dam fishway so far this spring.

Commission staff and board members received feedback from biologists, fishermen and conservation groups for and against reopening the Penobscot to salmon fishing.

Some fishermen and scientists urged the commission to keep the river closed, arguing that even a monthlong fishery could weaken a population already teetering on the edge.

Many fishermen said they would prefer to fish in the spring when populations are higher and the fish stronger, while others said they would take whatever fishing opportunities they can get.

In the end, the commission concluded that a catch-and-release fishery in the fall would pose no long-term danger to the Penobscot's salmon population, said board chairman Dick Ruhlin.

George Chalmers, a member of the Penobscot Salmon Club, said he would have preferred a spring season but was pleased that the commission chose to reopen the Penobscot at all.

The decision, he said, will help local fishing clubs.

"All of the clubs are hurting for membership," he said. "No fishing, there's no membership."

06-26-2006, 10:21 PM
Interesting, Juro.
Have heard many times about this river system......... it is excellent news.

I guess it is a little scary to open for C&R.......... but, if we look at other rivers
(ex: St-Jean in Gaspé) runs have improved since C&R mandatory....
even better on this river...single hooks and barbless ( chances are on salmo's side)

Any idea of the % grilses vs adults??
Fishing for the fishing.....!!! :rolleyes:


06-28-2006, 08:07 AM
This is good news!

I have not fished the Penobscot but I have looked at it many times (have some relatives in Maine). Lets hope the fishery continues to improve.


06-28-2006, 08:22 PM
I am under the impression that these fish are 100% non-native. Not sure how well that bodes for "recovery".
Anyone know more?

06-29-2006, 07:00 AM
The brood for Penobscot salmon was taken from the river itself so although we (man) have screwed up the good thing as always there is a possibility that the genetics are there.

We might consider asking Irv Kornfield, Professor of Zoology at Univeristy of Maine about the results of his 1999 study to determine the genetic composition of today's Penobscot salmon verses artifacts of the native strain.

I read that during the debate to stop spending on the recovery program federal scientists discovered that the salmon in 8 rivers retained their original genes and were to be considered endangered (which they can't be if too genetically diluted).

So the battle for continuation was won and the river seems to be generating a population of fish that albeit had some lean years due to our lack of stewardship.

What matters now is that there are 700-1000 salmon returning to the Penobscot today with as much genetic makeup as they could cling to thru the years and that is cause for celecration for many.

06-29-2006, 12:15 PM
I fished the river when I was younger, taking several fish usually below the veazie dam in a rotation pool. The river was known for its early run, memorial day and the month of June were the prime time. The Fall run was relatively small, which is why making the limited season in the Fall a bit odd, other than more than the 660 broodstock have already returned. This number is what is quoted as enough to keep the river going. The fish are all from the original river stock with few pen escapees..

Gayland Hachey owns a fly shop in Veazie and is who I consider one of the local experts. He has a web site that lists how many salmon have been counted on the dam trap, and gives you the last few years what the same time of year the count was. Gayland is a superb fly tyer/ rod builder ( he has made a few for me) and has a web site called Mainely Reelseats. I hope it is ok to tell people the site name here. If they get rid of the lower dams on the river like they have talked about then it is our last real hope for US Atlantic Salmon fishing. Now there are up to 12-1500 fish coming back. One great thing used to be relatively few grilse on the Maine rivers, now I wonder if that was actually a sign of a sick river system.

I plan on fishing for a couple days before I go to the Miramichi in late Sept, hopefully with some success.

Tight Lines,

Jim Y

07-12-2006, 07:20 AM
If anyone else is planning on visiting this September, please post and maybe we can get together at a local restaurant and raise a toast to the American salmon. I will definitely be there.

07-12-2006, 05:09 PM
I'll fish for a couple days on Penobscot, probably the 25th-26th Sept on Monday, Tuesday, before going to Miramichi. I'll probably stay with family in Bangor, would be willing to meet for a toast the the great old days.

Will give a message once the time is near.

Tight Lines,

Jim Y

07-12-2006, 06:33 PM
And careful when you go. Your true addiction might bite you.

When I used to go fishing there (summer of 1997) I would fish for salmon but catch lots of stripers!

That is no lie. But I only fished in July and August.

07-12-2006, 06:36 PM
There is something curious this year. The Quebec North Shore rivers have seen a decline of their salmon population at the same moment than the Maine Rivers and some Nova Scotia rivers. It seems the Penobscot has a recovery at the same moment than the Quebec North Shore rivers. I am sure all anglers and salmon protectors are more than happy to see that, but is somebody can explain?

A biologist already told me that when you begin to understand something, you realize that you have not understood anything....

07-17-2006, 08:45 AM
Let me know when you guys are in town- We can meet at the Sea Dog, overlooking the River and swap lies. :roll: There are some other very worthwhile fisheries right off 95 on your way up from the Boston area as well.