Maine Salmon Clave? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Maine Salmon Clave?


juro
08-11-2006, 10:29 AM
On Friday, June 23, 2006 - Bangor Daily News wrote:

Penobscot salmon fishing OK'd

EDDINGTON - For the past six years, salmon fishermen have gathered on opening day to rehash old fish tales rather than cast their hand-tied flies into Maine rivers.

But this fall, some skillful or lucky anglers likely will return home with new stories about the big one that got away or, better yet, the even bigger one they landed and released.

The Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission voted unanimously Thursday to reopen a stretch of the Penobscot River near Bangor to Atlantic salmon fishing for one month this fall. The catch-and-release fishery will give anglers their first chance to legally hook a sea-run salmon in Maine since 1999.

The season will run from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, although the commission retains the option of closing the fishery at any time to protect the river's salmon population. The stretch of river that will be open to angling - 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.

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.

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

Martin's sentiment may help explain why the coming season was labeled "experimental."

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

Salmon populations in the Penobscot have since recovered somewhat, although the number of adults returning to spawn fluctuates annually. Biologists are pleased with the 650-plus adults counted in the Veazie Dam fishway so far this spring, but are hesitant to make predictions for the year.

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

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 after months or years at sea. Other anglers said they would gladly take whatever fishing opportunities they can get.

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

"This is a conservative approach and one that I ... have a lot more confidence in," Ruhlin told audience members gathered Thursday at the Eddington Salmon Club.

That didn't eliminate all of the grumbling about the spring vs. fall fishery, however.

Lou Horvath, a past president of the Penobscot, Veazie and Eddington salmon clubs, said he doesn't approve of a fall fishery. But he predicted that the fishery would provide a boost to the fishing community and the local economy.

George Chalmers, a member of the Penobscot Salmon Club, said he also would have preferred a spring season but was pleased that the commission heeded the calls of fishermen to reopen the Penobscot. Chalmers said the season would help the local clubs.

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


Any interest in a celebration of the American salmon? I am going for sure, but I thought it might be fun to have a group check it out.

The attitude is not one of exploitation but one of support, experience and celebration.

Please reply if interested in this September event.

juro
08-11-2006, 10:46 AM
Fellow members of the ASF will be pleased to read this coverage of the project:

http://www.asf.ca/penobscot/

500 miles of river will open to salmon when the DAMNS are removed!

http://www.asf.ca/penobscot/pengraphics/09improvedaccess.jpg

The runs of wild atlantics were once 50,000 strong in this mighty river.

http://www.penobscotriver.org/assets/time_2.gif

Venture
08-11-2006, 11:57 AM
Nice to see the river come back from zero. I think its a good thing to open it up for C+R for a month. This will in any way retard it's healing and on the contrary bring attention to the success that the funding and management have brought. Nice to hear about it.

The number of the past means "NO DAM". :tsk_tsk:

titleguy
08-11-2006, 01:38 PM
Well, I don;t have far to go to this clave. I work in Bangor and live on the river (well across the road from the River) in Winterport. It's pretty exciting, but I imagine it will also make Pulaski look sane by comparison at the beginning. Keep the plans formulating. Great brew pub right on the river in Bangor for after-fishing lying and pool playing.:D

titleguy
08-11-2006, 01:45 PM
Forgot to mention too- 9/15-10/15 is a great time to fish up for other stuff as well, and the general law season has been extended one day to Sunday 10/1 because of no sunday hunting. ( That means an extra day on the Roach or the West Branch, for instance.):cool:

juro
08-11-2006, 01:46 PM
Well titleguy, thats ok too.

If it gets press, then maybe it will gain momentum, and if the local businesses get some benefit then they will vote in favor, and the whole thing might have a chance.

I would cover the scene, take pictures and movies, and will be happy with my turn through the pool with a Spey rod... kind of like a childhood dream come true to fish for, never mind hook a Maine atlantic.

To me there's something electric about swinging a fly over water where there is even a chance of the big grab from a sea run salmon. The actual take well that's the icing on the cake!

It's a real asset having you on location

titleguy
08-11-2006, 01:52 PM
Juro- I fish ( and drink) quite a bit with one of the outdoor columnists for the Bangor Daily News; he would be thrilled to cover something like one of your claves. There is also some talk on FFIM of having a bunch of guys who post there frequently and are semi-pro musicians setting up to play somewhere one weekend. My writer buddy also does a 5 min. segment on the local abc affiliate every Monday and again, would love to get some spey footage, of someone who knows how, as opposed to me.:chuckle:

juro
08-11-2006, 02:31 PM
Sounds like we need to do a salmon day festival!

I'll bring my strat, a blues jr, spey rods, and some scotch :smokin:

titleguy
08-11-2006, 02:38 PM
Worst case scenario, you can play in my yard in Winterport; I like scotch. Although, developed a taste for "Screech", introduced to me in New Brunswick while fishing:Eyecrazy: . I suspect that there will be some serious celebrating, particularly at the Penobscot Salmon Club over in Brewer ( I just joined at my spey class in July). Should be pretty cool. And, with some cool weather and no monsoons, the fishing within a couple of hours of here for brookies and LL will be killer.:smokin:

jhicks
08-11-2006, 04:57 PM
I'm in. I'll be fresh from the Gaspe and looking to continue my anadromous fix. I feel like a kid in a candy store. Just giddy with excitement.

John

juro
08-11-2006, 05:50 PM
Looking forward to it already! :smokin:

juro
08-13-2006, 07:07 AM
So far it looks like:

titleguy
jhicks
juro

I have a feeling others will join in next month.

The strategy will be to spread out in small groups throughout the river and hook up for a group dinner to share the experiences at respective pools with the group. Who knows maybe Stan Bodgan will drive over from NH to partake, or George Bush Sr. who was apparently the last president to receive a Penobscot 'presidential salmon' from the run. You never know who you'll run into.

In any case, it will be a very important experience for me, having grown up with a bit of a longing for salmon fishing in Maine as my parents took me up there quite a bit on vacation; then having moved out to the pacific northwest and been as close to a steelhead bum as I could without losing my job and family.

To then bring my years of Spey casting study as a tool to celebrate the renewed hope for atlantics would be quite an experience with deeply rooted meaning.

My first Penobscot fish without a doubt would be among the most memorable of my life, but even the experience of trying will be fully savored forever.

titleguy
08-14-2006, 08:13 AM
I'm available the first weekend ( 9/16), and 9/30 if it's a weekend thing. Weekdays I can show early morning or after work. Are you planning to camp or motel it?

FleshFly
08-14-2006, 08:33 AM
Add another to the list if we can do anything after 9/17. Weekends work best for me. Sounds like a great way for my fisrt Atlantic outing.

If weather permits, I always prefer camping over hotels...

-Randy

titleguy
08-14-2006, 08:44 AM
Greenwood Campground in Eddington is close by the good pools.

titleguy
08-14-2006, 08:53 AM
Hope this isn't against the rules, :tsk_tsk: :

here's a link to that Campground:

http://www.greenwoodacrescampground.net

txraddoc
08-14-2006, 06:39 PM
I'll be there Sunday Sept 24 to Wed 27th.

Jim Y

FleshFly
08-14-2006, 08:51 PM
Wow they even have Internet hook ups. TitleGuy have you been there before? Anything a bit more off the beaten path?

juro
08-14-2006, 09:39 PM
Those cabins might be a good compromise between rough it and not :)

titleguy
08-15-2006, 08:44 AM
I'll see what else is around, but most of the campgrounds in the Bangor area tned to be on pretty major thoroughfares. Looking at minimizing drive time.:cool:

titleguy
08-15-2006, 08:54 AM
This lists a bunch of campgrounds in the Bangor area:

http://mainevisitorsnetwork.com/users/maine-cgi/searchkeylist.cgi

FleshFly
08-15-2006, 09:56 AM
TitleGuy thanks for looking into it, I am sure your expertise will yield good results. I am happy with any location. I am looking forward to trying to make it. I can help out with food.

titleguy
08-15-2006, 09:59 AM
Not my expertise- it's all Bill Gates. I just want to pimp some free spey advice from Juro.:hihi: Tried out the Loop Anderrson 12' 9" 9 wt last week- pretty sweet. Gotta love e-bay.

Earle Fletcher
08-16-2006, 10:24 AM
When we fished the Penobscot, we stayed at the Colony Motor Inn. It's close to the fishing, reasonable and they have some units with kitchenettes. It's located at 649 North Main St., Brewer, Maine 04412, 207-989-6275.

The Penobscot is a big river and you spey guys will have an advantage, This river doesn't have a fall run of salmon. The ones you catch will have been there since June and July, so they won't be very pretty.

Earle Fletcher

juro
08-16-2006, 10:31 AM
Thanks for the tip Earle -

I like to cook so the kichenette thing sounds like a winner. Maybe some stuffed lobster, afterall it's Maine.

I am partial to chrome-bright fish of course but because of what they represent they'll look pretty good to me. :)

I'm sure it will be a classic time reminiscent of a past that was nearly lost and at the same time full of hope for the future.

And yes it will be good to flex some Spey muscle :smokin:

titleguy
08-16-2006, 11:21 AM
"Bring on the Spey" I took a class back in early July with Jim Rusher and Kevin Devine, but I am really looking forward to watching the pros "fish" the water instead of beat it to a froth the way I was. The place where the class was held along the Kennebec has a good plastic hatch as well and people would ask me how the fishing was, I would respond, " I'm not fishing; I'm trick-roping".:devil:

FleshFly
08-16-2006, 10:18 PM
Stuffed Lobsters now your talkin! Kitchenette sounds like a good call. Any ideas to good dates?

juro
08-16-2006, 10:50 PM
Well the options are:

The opener...

take Friday off and crash Thursday night up there. Fish thru the weekend.

Tweeners...

Any mid-week day is game; also a two-vacation day outing would be nice. Drive up Wed PM fish Thurs, Fri and either or both weekend days.

(Boneclave is October 6-8 on the Cape)

The closer...

October 14-15th, Friday prior is 13th for those who can get that off. Should be less crowded

Crowds likely to be biggest opening week; fish likely to be less cooperative after four weeks of pursuit upon them in October. A two-day tweener with weekend (total 3-4 days) is probably the best unless we want to try the opener.

Earle Fletcher
08-17-2006, 09:25 AM
For additional info on the Maine Atlantic Salmon, check out the Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission's website: www.maine.gov/asc/ You can also buy your salmon license ($30) from this site, which could save you some time getting on the river.

Earle Fletcher

juro
08-17-2006, 09:58 AM
1.03 Experimental Open Season

Time Period
There will be a limited, experimental open season for directed angling for Atlantic salmon from September 15, 2006 to October 15, 2006 on the Penobscot River in the area specified below.
Open Area
Penobscot River; between two painted red markers placed on opposing banks that are 150 feet below the Veazie Dam fishway, down river to the former site of the Bangor Dam, which does not include the pool below the former dam site.
Conditions
Directed angling for Atlantic salmon shall be permitted in the above specified open area and time period under the following conditions:
Catch and release only. Any salmon hooked must be released immediately without injury;
No salmon shall be removed from the water for any reason;
Fly Fishing Only. Fly must be tied on a single pointed barbless, hook. Only one fly or hook can be fished at any one time (no dropper flies);
Daily Catch and Release limit is one fish. Any angler who hooks and releases one salmon must stop fishing for the day;
Fishing is only permitted in the open area specified in section 1.03(2) when green flags are displayed at the Veazie Dam, Eddington Salmon Club and Penobscot Salmon Club;
Anglers must obtain an Atlantic salmon license in accordance with 12 M.R.S.A § 9904 prior to fishing for Atlantic salmon under this section.
All Atlantic salmon licence holders must report all fishing activity at the end of the season on forms supplied by the Commission. Failure to comply with this reporting requirement may result in the denial of renewal of a license.
Closure
The Commission may close the fishery during the open season if it is deemed necessary to protect the resource. The specified open area shall be closed to all fishing for Atlantic salmon when red flags are displayed at the Veazie Dam, Eddington Salmon Club and Penobscot Salmon Club.

jhicks
08-17-2006, 10:04 AM
Juro, I don't know about you but I am pretty excited about this. Let's hope that it doesn't get ruined by someone that decides killing a fish is more important than keeping a resource.

juro
08-17-2006, 10:34 AM
Yeah we don't need any such bonehead action after all these years.

I like the regulation stating that the fish must not be removed from the water under any circumstances. One of my favorite photos is the one where the fish is viewed from above held lightly by the tail as it recovers with the fins flared ready to go at any moment; or slightly turned to show the sleek flanks of the atlantic salmon in the water.

I might make a cradle - two wooden dowels and some soft knotless mesh from the fabric store.

sva01
08-17-2006, 10:58 AM
Man, if only there were vacation days to go around. I wish like mad that I could string up the two-hander for this. Maybe next year. Please keep us informed as to what transpires up there.
Next year it could be a perfect reason to make a visit to the in-laws in Maine.

titleguy
08-17-2006, 11:14 AM
The lower end of the "open area" unfortunately does not include the Penobscot Salmon Club "homewater" below the old water works dam ( a good striper spot as well). The two pools that will prbably see the most activity will we at the dam and the Eddington Bend. I almost bought a house right across the street from the bend, pretty water. Those smallies will tear up an orange cosseboom.:hihi:

jhicks
08-17-2006, 12:01 PM
I might make a cradle - two wooden dowels and some soft knotless mesh from the fabric store.


Now that would be classic.!

Adrian
08-17-2006, 12:44 PM
I think pike fishermen use something like that to prevent handling damage?

juro
08-17-2006, 02:20 PM
Yes thats the device - I saw someone using it for steelhead over on speypages and thought it was a good idea for in-water handling of large salmonids especially those on a very long lonely road to recovery.

I would imagine the Penobscot will not call for the type of bushwacking and adventurous wading that makes such a thing impractical to carry around where I fish for steelhead out on the pacific coast. It should roll up compactly and with two caps and a nylon snap / strap may be easy to carry.

Tell you what I will put your fish in the cradle if you hook up in exchange for your assistance with my fish :smokin:

Green Ghost
08-19-2006, 01:38 PM
I know every inch of the water. One thing to keep in Mind. YOU MUST FISH THE TIDES. When The water raises twice a day, So do the fish, Time your outings for the raise in water. Was especially true when it was open. You had the place to yourselves and then all of a sudden there would be six rods in the rack waiting to rotate. Use Barbless hooks, Let them go Quickly, I may have to participate but I will NOT be In Eddington! Can't stand the wait!!!!! :devil:

juro
08-20-2006, 09:25 AM
Green Ghost -

Your wisdom will be of great value to the group. If you are going to participate we'll take care of your dinner. Just bring your advice.

grizz0707
08-21-2006, 05:57 AM
Juro,
do you have the dates set when this is going to happen. I have vacation time

tbuehrens
08-21-2006, 01:45 PM
Hey guys-

If its possible, count me in. I am from seattle and have several years swinging for steelhead under my belt, but have yet to try for atlantics. Going to school in maine the last few years I have longed to be able to wet a line for atlantics.

-Thomas

jhicks
08-21-2006, 05:09 PM
This whole event is really starting to shape up nicely. Juro do you want to organise or should I look into making some finite plans for everyone and posting them?

John

Green Ghost
08-22-2006, 08:51 PM
I would like very much to join you guys. I would like to know the absolute dates to plan around work. If I can't commit, Fish around the Rocks during rising water and watch your step!

juro
08-22-2006, 09:09 PM
I held off because often plans need to 'gel' a little. Also my schedule is always volatile with so much going on right now family wise.

Probably smart to do a day or two around a weekend (before/after) not too late in the open time frame but maybe we might skip the opener due to inevitable competition.

Hows the second weekend of the season with Thursday PM / all Friday / all Sat / Sun AM fishing sound to the group? (September 21-24th)

Participate as much or little as you can. Group dinner will be Friday or Sat after dusk. Nightly tying, etc. If we get a place appropriate for group cooking Randy can cook every night ;) ;)

There can be more than one 'wave' of participants, there are four weeks in the season.

Tasks to complete:

- confirm dates
- decide on lodging for those interesting in group rates / food etc
- group dinner plan

Out of courtesy, we will require a sign up to help those who are volunteering to plan accordingly.

I am really looking forward to this.

FleshFly
08-23-2006, 09:20 AM
I will be away chasing steelhead from September 7th-17th, and working on my Spey skills, so I won't be able to make it if you have it those dates. I will be without a PC So I won't be able to help with cordinating any of the clave plans. Count me in for helping with the food/meals, I am open to camping or hotels. If we can plan it around a weekend, I can make it any weekend after the 17th.
-Randy

juro
08-23-2006, 09:40 AM
How do those dates work for others?

Randy, although you probably can't swing the days off if you can join us on that Sat/Sun please do.

Also, let's propose a second set of dates - no sense in having only one time frame.

titleguy
08-23-2006, 12:48 PM
I may be going to the Cape that weekend; don't know yet. But, I'm around Thurs night early Friday AM.

grizz0707
08-25-2006, 08:03 PM
i am okay with those dates cant wait salmon and poidy oil:devil:

Green Ghost
09-03-2006, 04:02 PM
I cannot make the proposed dates due to work abroad, I am basically away till the end of it. :mad:

Fish the incoming tides on the Penobscot and fish Behind the rocks.

Would have enjoyed the chance to meet some of you and cast the fly. :smokin:

FleshFly
09-19-2006, 12:35 PM
Any interests in making this happen?

Have Spey will travel.........-Randy

titleguy
09-19-2006, 12:41 PM
I may try and fish early on Friday morning Randy, but then I'm headed to your neighborhood to chase stripers for the weekend.:hihi: I'll keep up with reports as I receive them.

FleshFly
09-19-2006, 02:26 PM
Cool enjoy, I have been away fishing in BC and my mind is thinking more freshwater than salt. Are you headed to the Cape or North Shore? If the North Shore I can give you some insight. If this clave thing doesn't take of I may head up to your neck of woods to chase some brookies.... I may shoot you a PM with some questions....-Randy

titleguy
09-19-2006, 02:39 PM
Going North Shore Randy. My buddy lives in Magnolia now, but used to live in Beverly Farms his boat at Beverly Port. I started fishing down there many moons ago; first trip this year though. Send me a pm for some alternatives to standing in line in Eddington.

sva01
09-27-2006, 09:44 AM
Any news/reports for the rest of us?

titleguy
09-27-2006, 10:15 AM
Word on the street is that two fish have been landed. According to informed sources, may see some more activity with cooler water and lower light. However, latest NOAA/NFWS/Penobscot Tribe study may make this the only season. See below:

Today's KJ's article on this subject:
Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Salmon in danger

By KEITH EDWARDS
Staff Writer
Copyright © 2006 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.

A federal review of wild Atlantic salmon, including those in the Androscoggin, Kennebec and Penobscot rivers, indicates their population is substantially lower than historic levels.

A genetic analysis conducted as part of the review indicates the Atlantic salmon in the three larger rivers are indeed similar to the fish in eight smaller rivers in downeast Maine. The fish in those eight rivers are on the endangered species list.

The review stops short of recommending the fish in the Androscoggin, Kennebec and Penobscot rivers be added to the endangered species list. But it does say the current population is at extremely low levels and is, genetically, part of the same distinct population of Atlantic salmon in the eight other rivers.

The recently released report was compiled by a panel of biologists including federal, state, and Penobscot Nation representatives, as well as fisheries experts.

The Atlantic salmon in eight Maine rivers were designated as federal endangered species in a review released in 2000.

However, a decision regarding whether or not to include salmon that inhabited the main stems of the Kennebec River above the former site of Edwards Dam, the Penobscot River above the former site of Bangor Dam, or the Androscoggin River, was deferred during the initial listing.

Officials wanted to determine if the fish in those three rivers were genetically similar to the Atlantic salmon in the smaller rivers downeast. The most recent review concluded the fish were the same.

Fisheries advocates said the fish in the larger and smaller rivers should have been considered as one population from the beginning.

"To include some fisheries, and not others, never really made sense," said Andrew Goode of the Atlantic Salmon Federation, an international, nonprofit organization that promotes the conservation and management of wild Atlantic salmon and their environment.

In 1999, the state fought against Atlantic salmon being listed as an endangered species, with opponents claiming the designation would place too many restrictions on waterfront development.

Goode said that if the federal government considers extending the endangered species designation to Atlantic salmon in the three large rivers, he hopes the state won't challenge the designation.

He said there was fear-mongering over the endangered species designation in 1999 regarding Atlantic salmon on the eight downeast rivers. Since then, he said, collaboration between businesses, government, and conservationists on those rivers has been the norm, not the conflict opponents claimed would happen.

George LaPointe, commissioner of the state Department of Marine Resources, said he has spoken about the issue with Gov. John Baldacci, though it is too early for a decision on whether the state would challenge any efforts to add Atlantic salmon in the Androscoggin, Kennebec, and Penobscot to the endangered species list.

"The governor wants a collaborative approach," LaPointe said. "We would rather work together, as long as it is a reasonable process."

LaPointe said the review confirms what many already knew about the Atlantic salmon population: It is not doing well.

Both LaPointe and fisheries advocates said the best way to help Maine's Atlantic salmon population recover is to support the Penobscot River Restoration Project. That project seeks to provide migrating Atlantic salmon with access to upper parts of the river by removing hydroelectric dams in the lower section of the river. Ultimately, LaPointe said, the power produced by the those dams could be replaced by dams that could be built further upstream, where they wouldn't block fish returning to the river from the sea.

"The single, best thing that could happen would be to implement the Penobscot Project," Goode said. "That, to me, is a project that addresses the root of the problem."

The Penobscot River Restoration Trust is currently working to raise private, state and federal funds to pay for the ambitious project.

Atlantic salmon are anadromous, meaning they are born in freshwater, go out to sea where they undergo their greatest feeding and growth in salt water, and return as adults to spawn in native fresh water streams where the eggs hatch and juveniles grow, according to the Atlantic Salmon Federation. Adults typically weigh between eight and 15 pounds.

Keith Edwards -- 621-5647
kedwards@centralmaine.com

juro
09-27-2006, 10:49 AM
I think getting those dams out is the key, habitat took them out and habitat is the only thing that will bring them back.

txraddoc
10-08-2006, 12:01 PM
I fished 2 days on the Penobby, with no success but there was at least one taken as below shows.

Jim Y




By Kevin Miller
Bangor Daily News


It took nearly two weeks, but an Atlantic salmon finally took the bait.

Just after 7 a.m. Wednesday, Beau Peavey of Glenburn hooked a salmon while casting just below the Veazie dam on the Penobscot River. But unlike the fish Peavey tricked into biting a few days ago, this salmon did not get away — at least not until Peavey let it go.

The 12-pounder is the first reported catch since the catch-and-release salmon fishery opened on the Penobscot on Sept. 15 — and the first sea-run salmon legally hooked in Maine waters since 1999.

To be precise, the 22-year-old Peavey wasn’t using bait on the end of his line. That would be illegal under the highly restrictive rules of Maine’s first salmon fishing season in more than six years.

Peavey is no newcomer to salmon fishing, having caught his first "Atlantic" at age 4 and dozens more since. In fact, he landed one of the last salmon in the same exact spot — known as the "B pool" — in 1999 before state officials decided the fish population was too fragile to allow even catch-and-release angling.

That did not diminish the thrill, however, of landing the first Penobscot salmon, Peavey said.

"It was the river I grew up on, and getting back there was great," he said during an interview Wednesday evening.

The monthlong season opened on the banks of the Penobscot near Bangor on Sept. 15 amid considerable fanfare. Maine, and the Penobscot River in particular, harbors the last sizeable population of wild Atlantic salmon in the United States.

More than 200 fishermen have purchased salmon fishing permits. But while anglers can still be seen casting flies into the Penobscot’s famous salmon pools many mornings and evenings, the fish have been less willing to participate in a tradition that once drew fly fishermen from around the world to Maine.

Richard Dill, a biologist with the Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission, said he has heard a handful of reports of salmon biting but wriggling free before fishermen could reel in the powerful fish known for its fight. The state requires all salmon anglers to use tied flies on barbless, single-pointed hooks to minimize damage, which could account for some lost fish.

Dill said he would have expected a few more lucky fishermen by now. But he attributed the slower fishing activity to warmer water temperatures during the first week and the fact that the vast majority of Penobscot salmon return from the ocean to spawn during the spring, not the fall.

"There aren’t a lot of fish out there, and everybody knew that," Dill said. "But as it gets warm the fish become less active."

Peavey, for one, said he does not mind the hours of fruitless casting.

Each morning he rises early and heads down to the pools near the Veazie Salmon Club, where he is a member of the board of directors. Peavey estimated he has spent at least 60 hours fishing since the season opened on the 15th while still attending classes at the University College of Bangor.

He first saw his salmon rise out of the water about an hour before he hooked it Wednesday. After some unsuccessful casts, Peavey said, he let the pool rest for a while before returning.

The fish bit Peavey’s "pink ent" fly on his fifth cast and immediately took off, forcing the fisherman to move downstream about 200 yards because he was just about out of fly line.

"And it wasn’t a walk; it was more of a dead-heat sprint," he recounted.

But about 15 minutes later — a good fight for this time of year, he said — Peavey had brought the salmon into the shallows.

Two fishermen from Vermont who came to Maine to try salmon fishing were there to watch the fight and document the catch with a picture. Peavey then released the fish, as required. He’s still waiting for a copy of the photo.

Despite having caught a salmon and the dozens of hours on the water, Peavey said he has no intention of hanging up his rod for the season.

"I’ll be out there again at 5:30," he said.

AgMD
10-22-2006, 05:00 PM
I am one of those mysterious two "Vermont Fishermen" who was privileged to witness the first legal salmon in the U S in 7 years, and I will tell you it was a real trip. It could only have been better if it had been me. Beau is a fine young lad , and a credit to the future of our sport. He had put in a lot of time and the fish chose well when it picked Beau .He had seen the fish roll and after casting to it without any response , offered me a turn. I made my attempt, but no luck. Beau took another turn and after only a few casts -- SHAZAM! The fish went over the lip of the pool and through another smaller pool and into a larger pool with a large backwater eddy, with Beau leaping through the rocks and brush in chase. I move a lot slower and by the time I caught up with the action he had the salmon within a dozen yards or so. The fish was quickly brought to hand and released. I did get a few photos, which while I think they are nice attractive photos , unfortunately they were not close enough to do the fish justice.
Although I have chased the LL Salmon out of Champlain , this was my first outing for sea run salmon. Although we were total strangers, all the folks at the Veazie Salmon Club accepted us into their clubhouse like we were old lost members, and were wonderfully generous with local knowledge and wisdom.
The "Vermont Fishermen" didn't catch a salmon but we had the time of our lives.
If they have an open season next year we will be back.
AgMD

juro
10-23-2006, 10:34 AM
Thanks for sharing that account - although circumstances prevented my participation these first hand reports get my heart beating thinking about the potential of a return of the American atlantic salmon.

gunner
10-24-2006, 10:45 PM
Salmon season deemed a success

By Kevin Miller
Saturday, October 21, 2006 -
Bangor Daily News

The fish may not have been biting, but Maine’s first salmon season of the millennium was enough of a success that state officials already are mulling the possibility of allowing anglers back on the Penobscot River this spring.

More than 200 anglers from throughout New England — and several from across the country — purchased licenses for the monthlong Atlantic salmon fishing season that ended Oct. 15.

Very few anglers managed to even entice a salmon into striking, much less land one, according to preliminary reports.

The Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission, which administered the "experimental" season, has only one confirmed catch. But commission chairman Dick Ruhlin said he has heard at least two other claims of salmon being landed. Anglers were required to release the fish immediately.

Regardless of the number, Ruhlin said he believes the season was a success because it put Maine "back on the Atlantic salmon map" and, it is hoped, revived interest in the proud sport.

"Salmon fishing is about fishing; it’s not about catching," said Ruhlin, who has 50-plus years of salmon fishing experience. "A dedicated salmon angler is more interested in fishing over a piece of water where there is a good probability of a fish being there and presenting a good cast." It’s also about camaraderie, he said.

ASC staff will not know for sure how many fish were caught — or the number that were hooked but not landed — until they tally the detailed reports all anglers were required to keep for every fishing expedition.

Staff are expected to formally present the data to the commission board in December. Commission members then will consider those trip reports as well as the post-season assessments of ASC biologists when choosing their next steps.

"If we can see that everything is a positive, then right now I think … that we may want to go ahead with a spring season," Ruhlin said Thursday night.

Speaking on his own behalf, not for the commission, Ruhlin said he likely would support a temporary season beginning in mid- to late May unless the reports end up showing the fall fishery harmed fish. The commission likely would hold public hearings before approving a spring season, he said.

A spectacular and powerful fish beloved by anglers, Atlantic salmon once numbered in the hundreds of thousands in New England rivers before dams, pollution and humans devastated the stocks. Today, Maine is the only U.S. state where wild, sea-run salmon still return to their home rivers to spawn.

Maine banned all fishing for sea-run salmon in 1999 in order to protect the dwindling numbers of returning adults. With Penobscot adult returns consistently numbering around 1,000, commission members decided earlier this year to go ahead with an experimental fishery in the fall when fewer adult fish are still in the water.

Patrick Keliher, the ASC’s executive director, said biologists inspected every adult captured in the fish trap at the Veazie dam for signs of injury or fatigue from fishermen. The fish appeared healthy, he said. The trap is located upriver of where anglers were allowed to catch and release fish.

"From a fishery standpoint, I think the salmon community has proven we can have a fishery without harming the resource," he said.

Gary Arsenault was one of the local salmon fishermen who supported a fall fishery as long as it erred on the side of protecting the fish. A past president of the Maine Council of the Atlantic Salmon Federation, Arsenault and other council members successfully argued to lower the daily catch limit from two fish to one.

Arsenault believes a spring fishery could be successful, as long as the ASC and anglers follow the same conservative philosophy.

Like Ruhlin, Arsenault joined his fly-fishing buddies several times on the Penobscot during the salmon season. Although he didn’t catch a salmon, he called the season a "booming success."

"The people came from everywhere," he said. "We were fishing with people from all over the U.S."

Kevin Miller
kmiller@bangordailynews.net



John/Titleguy -- next year we will have to figure out how to manage some time in the rotation and maybe get Juro and a few other speycasters up there for a mini-clave.
Joe