Brook Trout Getting New Protection

Thanks to DIF&W Commissioner Judy Camuso, Maine’s brook trout will be getting new protections. The proposed new rule is already at stage 2  and will be implemented on January 1.

A previous proposal, which would have lessened protections on brook trout in a bunch of waters, was withdrawn, again thanks to Commissioner Camuso. A number of us protested against that proposed rule.

The new proposal is very good and one which we all support.

Gary Corson of New Sharon has been a champion for our native brook trout for decades. Gary is the guy I look to for information and recommendations whenever I’m working on brook trout issues and columns.

Today, I’m going to share with you Gary’s comments on the new brook trout rules.

Comments Revised North Zone General Law Rule Change Proposal 2 – Submitted by: Gary Corson – New Sharon

Commissioner Camuso please accept the following comments regarding the Departments revised north zone general law rule change proposal.

The new/revised S-11 rule change proposal submitted by the Department is much more aligned with the Departments fisheries management concept presented to the SHFW working group late last summer, and the Agency’s legislative committee of oversight last fall.  More importantly the proposal follows the intent of the concept by providing meaningful protection to Maine’s wild BKT resources throughout the North Zone, while at the same time limiting the loss of opportunity for the use and possession of live fish as bait on waters with traditional and prevalent use of live fish as bait. I support the proposal and want to thank those responsible for the review and modifications to the original rule making packet.

The following includes a summary of the changes in the revised S-11 proposal.  The intent of the summary is to acknowledge the extent and thoroughness of the review and to highlight the amount of work that went into the review process. In a word, “impressive.”

Lakes and ponds – 303 total – Region totals – (B-23, D-69, E-64, F-80, G-67)

1 water – Matagamon Lake, Grand (Second) was added to the original S-11 proposal of 357 lakes & Ponds.

Of the 303 proposed, 262 are open to ice fishing and 41 are closed to ice fishing (CI).

Region totals of waters open to ice fishing – (B-22,  D-65, E-52, F-78, G-45).

Note: The concept stipulated all waters open to ice fishing that currently allowed the use and possession of live fish as bait would retain that use. This rule proposal meets that stipulation.

Region totals of waters (CI) closed to ice fishing  – (B-1, D-4, E-12, F-2, G-22).

55 waters were removed from the original S-11 proposal of 96 lakes & Ponds that were closed to ice fishing (CI).

Waters removed – Region totals – (B-2, D-0, E-1, F-5, G-47).

357 (original list) + 1 (new) = 358 – 55 (removed from the original list) = 303

Rivers, Streams, and Brooks – 36 total – Region totals – (B-4, D-0, E-5, F-5, G-22)

1 stream was added (Upper Jo-Mary Stream) to the original proposal of 65 moving waters.

30 moving waters or sections  of moving waters were removed from the original S-11 proposal of 65 waters.

Waters removed – Region totals – (B-0, D3-, E-1, F-5, G-21).

65 (original list) + 1 (new) = 66 – 30 (removed from the original list) = 36

The Fishery Divisions evaluation and revision of the initial proposal should be acknowledged and recognized as providing a direction for future fisheries management. Those responsible deserve credit for providing the leadership necessary to protect and conserve some of Maine’s most valuable fisheries resources.  I’m impressed with the effort Fisheries put into improving the initial proposal and I applaud the Division for a job well done.

Advisory Council member Matt Thurston’s comment at the Departments May Advisory Council meeting said it best, “this is the way the process is supposed to work”. I agree.


George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.