If you are a recreational saltwater angler, Maine law may require you to register with the Maine Saltwater Recreational Fishing Registry. To learn more or to register, visit maine.gov/saltwater or call 633-9505.

OFFSHORE

Plenty of blue sharks along with a few makos and threshers are available on most of the inshore and offshore humps. The minimum size for all keeper sharks (makos, porbeagles, threshers and blues) is 4.5 feet, while basking and great white sharks are federally protected. If you are not sure of what species you have hooked, then “If you don’t know, let it go.” The National Marine Fisheries Service has updated the adjustment of the bluefin tuna general category daily retention limit to one large medium or giant BFT (73 inches or greater) per vessel per day/trip. The daily retention limit adjustment applies to vessels permitted in the General and the Charter/Headboat category while fishing commercially. There are still tuna. Anglers have gotten fish by both trolling and setting up on the ball. All vessels fishing recreationally for Atlantic tunas, sharks, swordfish and billfish must have an Atlantic HMS Angling Permit. For more information contact the NMFS at 978-281-9260 or visit their website. Changes have been made in cod and haddock regulations for 2017. Anglers cannot retain any Atlantic cod and the minimum size for haddock is 17 inches with a 12-fish-per-angler-per-day bag limit. All other groundfish (pollock, cusk, redfish, hake, etc.) can be retained within their respective 2017 regulations. The minimum size for halibut in federal waters is 41 inches and the taking of halibut in Maine territorial waters is closed from July 1 to April 30. Reports from the Jeffrey’s Ledge buoy show temps in the low 60s while at the Portland LNB weather buoy temperatures are running in the upper 50s.

COASTAL

Federal striped bass regulations: It is unlawful to fish for, take or possess striped bass in federal waters (waters greater than 3 miles from shore). Statewide striped bass regulations: An angler may fish all year for striped bass, but may only keep one per day that measures over 28 inches total length. If you have any questions or would like copies of the 2017 saltwater regulations call 633-9505 or check.

ZONE 1: There are still plenty of stripers here and anglers can expect some awesome fishing over the next few weeks. Time of day is no longer an issue, so fish when you can and expect to put some time in. Try Ferry, Higgins, Old Orchard, Pine Point and Goosefare Brook as well as the lower rivers and estuaries. Realize though, stripers are on the move and they can show up anywhere one moment and be gone the next. Worms, clams and macs along the beaches and chunk macs fished around the rock piles are getting results. Nothing beats surgical tubes in the lower rivers and estuaries, but don’t forget to put that sandworm on the end of the rig. Spinners should try 2–4-ounce Crippled Herring, Point Jude metal lures, Deadly Dicks or any of the rubber baits. Fly fishermen casting black Clousers, day or night, have been hooking up bass. Mackerel are roaming around the islands in Saco Bay. Use chum and small Sabiki rigs for the best results. Pogies are still around.

ZONE 2: Stripers can be found in the lower portions of the rivers, the flats and the ledges of Casco Bay. Mackerel and sandworms are the preferred baits but the stripers will take just about anything. Anglers using artificials have been successful working 4-6-inch Lunker City Slug-gos, Gag’s Schoolie Poppers and Yo-Zuri Hydro-Poppers. Fly guys who have been tossing Clousers and Deceivers in silverside and sand eel patterns report modest catches. Mackerel catches have picked up. Water temps at the Maine State Pier are in the upper 50s.

ZONE 3: As you head from east to west in this zone the stripers will be starting to drop out of the rivers for their journey south. As these fish stage up, where they are today they may not be tomorrow. Anglers fishing deep have been getting the bigger fish. Look for bird activity and breaking bait and you will find the stripers. See Zones 1 and 2 for baits, artificials, flies and fishing tips. Mackerel can be found in many of their typical locations. If you are fishing on the Kennebec, upstream of the power line in Augusta, you must have a current freshwater fishing license. Sea surface temperatures, as reported from the DMR dock in West Boothbay Harbor, are shy of 60.

This saltwater report is compiled by Bruce Joule, Maine Department of Marine Resources, P.O. Box 8, West Boothbay Harbor 04575. If you have information to report, contact me at 633-9505 or:

[email protected]