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Magalloway River Fishery Management
Fishery Interim Summary Report No. 05-02
By David P. Boucher
Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
Interim Summary Report No. 4 (2003-2004)
The Magalloway River from Aziscohos Dam at the outlet of Aziscohos Lake to the Maine-New Hampshire border is 8.3 miles long. Season-long clerk creel surveys were conducted on the upper 6.8 miles of this reach in 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, and 2004. Objectives of these surveys, funded and staffed by Florida Power and Light Co., were to document existing levels of angler use, catch, and harvest prior to scheduled changes in flow regimes, and to evaluate a special harvest slot limit imposed on brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis). The 2003 and 2004 surveys are the subject of this report. Results of the previous surveys are included here for comparison.
Fishing effort in 2003 and 2004 continued to be concentrated in the uppermost 4.7 miles below Aziscohos Dam. No anglers were observed in the ¼ -mile reach reserved for children in 2002, 2003, or 2004. Anglers were also not observed in the reach extending below Bennett’s Covered Bridge to the Lincoln Plantation town line in 2003 and 2004.
Clerk survey results showed fishing quality in the upper reach in 2003 and 2004 was within the range observed during most previous surveys. Catch rates for legal fish of both species varied during the entire 1998-2004 period, suggesting that conditions for successful recruitment of these wild fish varied considerably. Large annual variations in the ratio of sublegal fish, as well as annual differences in catch rates for all fish sizes combined, may also be indicative of variable recruitment.
Clerk survey data showed that the ratio of brook trout in the catch exceeding 12 inches increased slightly from 1998 to 2003, then declined in 2004. Catch rates, a better indicator of the abundance of these larger trout, were stable throughout the entire period.
Fish size data provided by volunteers showed the average length of brook trout in the catch improved in 2003 and 2004. Average salmon lengths fluctuated during the same period, but samples were too small to determine trends.
Magalloway River anglers continued to release a high proportion of their legal catch. Anglers caught about 1,000 legal brook trout and 630 legal salmon during the 2003 and 2004 seasons, but no trout and only about 23 salmon were harvested.
Both clerk and voluntary surveys showed that smallmouth bass are present but their numbers have not dramatically increased, probably because habitat for this species is generally poor in this reach of the Magalloway River.
Special fishing regulations applied to brook trout in 1998 did not significantly enhance the availability of larger, older-age fish. Nevertheless, we recommend retention of the restrictive rule because it provides a high level of protection to the river’s brood population, and it remains popular with anglers. Moreover, we intend to work closely with New Hampshire biologists and anglers to develop fishing regulations for that state’s portion of the river that more closely align with Maine’s. This is important because preliminary data from an ongoing radio telemetry study indicate that Magalloway River trout utilize the lower river in New Hampshire, where fishing rules are far more liberal than Maine’s.
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