August 26, 2019

Maine: Use of Live Bait Banned in State’s Northern Management Zone

Contact: Joe Mullin, New England States Coordinator

On August 21, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife’s (MDIFW) Advisory Council voted to bring a significant change to a fishing method in the State’s northern region. With a unanimous agreement in favor of the proposed rule, the MDIFW Advisory Council agreed to ban the use of live bait fish in Maine’s Northern Management Zone.

The suggested reasoning behind this prohibition of live bait is for the protection of the State’s wild brook trout. According to the MDIFW, “Maine is the last true stronghold for stream dwelling populations of wild brook trout, supporting more than twice the number of intact subwatersheds as the other 16 states in the eastern range combined.”

With an effective date of January 1, 2020, fishermen in the Pine Tree State will have to approach their rigs differently when taking to their favorite ponds and lakes within this region. In particular, ice-fishing – a practice that is woven into the fabric of Maine’s sporting community – is a tradition during which the use of live bait is a relative norm. Popular live bait utilized by these sportsmen and women includes shiners and smelt. For additional details on fishing regulations throughout the state please refer to Maine’s Statewide General Fishing Laws.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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