ASHLAND, Maine - Hundreds of fish were recently released in the St. John Valley. In this week's County Ag Report, Kathy McCarty speaks with a fisheries biologist on what this means for anglers.
Releasing fish isn't just good for existing populations, Fisheries Biologist Frank Frost says it provides more opportunity for those who enjoy fishing.
"We're stocking some fish in Fort Kent in the Fish River, and it's downstream of Fish River Falls. So it's in a several mile stretch where we're gonna put some extra fish in."
Restocking is typically done in the fall, but Frost says there were extra fish in the hatchery, allowing for an early release.
"It's a really good time of year to be on the water fishing. And the late spring we've had, the cool weather, the cool nights and frequent rain has really made conditions really good for fishing right now."
The spring release saw about 600 fish added in the Fort Kent area.
"That's in addition to about 1,100 fish last fall. So there could be some holdover fish from the stocking last fall, but these fish will be spread out in the river."
There's a couple of dozen waterways that are stocked in the spring and all of those fish are out.
"All of these fish are all state of Maine hatchery - from our hatchery system. Mostly come from Enfield, and some from Grand Lake Stream."
Frost says the stocked fish provide fishing opportunities where there otherwise wouldn't be any.. He says part of their work is to evaluate which waters are suitable to be stocked and which ones are not. About 60 waterways in northern Maine are stocked with fish measuring about 10 inches, providing immediate opportunities for anglers. Species stocked are mostly brook trout, with some salmon and lake trout as well. For this year's fishing rules, visit the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website.