The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is charged with safeguarding, conserving, and improving Maine’s native and wild brook trout fisheries – this involves managing high mountain lakes and streams, valley reservoirs, as well as town and city ponds.
Anglers shouldn’t expect stocking to have any noticeable impact if fish survival immediately after stocking is poor.
The brook trout is Maine’s premier game fish. A hardy coldwater species, the brook trout thrives in Maine’s remote interior highlands and surrounding wilderness areas, making its presence even more precious to Maine residents. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IFW) recognizes this unique resource by prioritizing conservation, protection, enhancement, and restoration efforts for wild brook trout populations.
The Maine Fish Stocking Report makes it easier for anglers to locate waters recently stocked with catchable trout. Daily updates from hatchery staff detail how many species and sizes of trout have been introduced into local waters; all information is organized by county and town for ease of navigation.
An impressive feature of this map is its list of stocked lakes and ponds, showing the date of stocking, the number of trout stocked per water body stored, and the total number reserved across multiple glasses of water. You can sort this list either alphabetically or chronologically and also access an official IF&W fish stocking report by clicking its link.
This map also offers another useful feature – a list of lakes and ponds native to brook trout that have not been directly stocked with trout within the past 25 years, defined as “wild brook trout fisheries” by MDIFW and drawn from data gathered by the DDAS/SAM/TU Principal Brook Trout database.
Note that certain ponds and lakes on this map have specific fishing regulations and limits, which it is always wise to check beforehand with the MDIFW Fishing Regulations Law Book, which is available online at the MDIFW Law Book website. We thank Christian Halsted from the Dud Dean Angling Society, who designed this interactive map!
Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) is an elegant freshwater fish and one of the most beloved sport fish species in North America. These ray-finned salmonids tend to frequent clear, healthy mountain streams and lakes located in cooler climates; moreover, this highly adaptive freshwater species boasts numerous subspecies that adapt to various habitats throughout its range.
Alaska’s wilderness is home to some of the largest rainbow trout, which can reach 9 kg (20 lb). These fish spawn early spring in rivers with cold temperatures and abundant gravel substrates; their survival relies on using an ingenious lung-like mechanism that enables them to gain air when necessary.
Rainbow trout are one of the world’s most beloved freshwater fishing species due to their fast growth rate and fighting ability, as well as their fast rate of reproduction. Lakes and reservoirs frequently stock rainbow trout to maintain open spaces during warmer temperatures – often helping keep these lakes open year-round!
Rainbow trout were first imported into the United Kingdom from America in 1884, and self-sustaining populations were established in Derbyshire Wye in 1907. Although smaller than their American counterparts, freshwater rainbows in Britain weigh between 0.5 kg (1 to 5 lb). Lake-dwelling rainbows can also be identified by a reddish stripe from their gills to their tail that becomes especially prominent when breeding males become dominant.
Rainbow trout and steelhead are considered two different species despite having very different lifestyles. Steelhead fishes are anadromous, spending much of their lives at sea before returning to river systems to spawn; young of both species begin life in freshwater rivers before migrating offshore to become adults; adult rainbow trout will ultimately return into river systems once mature.
Rainbow trout are mostly anadromous in the wild, though some natural populations of non-anadromous rainbow trout exist. These fish can be found in mountain streams of the Pacific Northwest as well as some freshwater tributaries to China and Russia from the Amur River and some rivers in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming – these freshwater rainbows typically spawn in spring while their anadromous counterparts do so later on in autumn or winter.
Brown trout (Salmo trutta) is one of the largest salmonid ray-finned fish belonging to the Salmo genus, native to Europe and Western Asia before it was brought over as game fish in 1884 for use as game fishing in most rivers and streams across America as a game fish species. Living up to six years in its natural environment, these fish make for ideal targets for anglers using both spinning gear and fly fishing rods.
Adult brown trout typically spawn in autumn, depositing and fertilizing thousands of eggs on a redd. Once fertilized, these fertilized eggs hatch into fry that eventually turn into fingerlings in one to two months. Once these fish reach maturity, they migrate upstream toward their original waters, where they spawn again in four or more years.
Stream-run brown trout tend to be more aggressive predators and piscivorous than lake-bound trout, preying upon all stages of aquatic invertebrates such as mayflies, caddisflies, stoneflies, and midges as well as marine and terrestrial worms and crustaceans such as scuds and sowbugs as food sources. They will also consume fish eggs [J1] and zooplankton found in lakes and reservoirs.
Brown trout are popular choices among fly fishermen and can often be caught using nymphs and dry flies during spring and fall months. Brown trout are known to feed on an assortment of food sources but become selective feeders under certain environmental conditions, most often feeding at night in clear pools and riffles with rocky banks and pools.
Tim Knedler serves as Fish Culture Supervisor at Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife’s New Gloucester State Fish Hatchery, overseeing its production of over 60,000 catchable trout annually that are then released into specific waters around Maine. As an avid angler and hunter himself, he also conducts hunter safety courses through this department.
It is essential to know that New Gloucester stocks differ from Maine’s Seeforellen strain used to stock Maine ponds and lakes over recent years. Due to their similar appearance, it can be easy to mistake one species for another; however, certain physical traits help differentiate between the two: anal fin physical appearance, vomerine teeth arrangement, caudal fin location, and presence or absence of fin clips can help to distinguish between species.
Lake trout (sometimes known as lakers or mackinaws) are among the largest species of freshwater char (Salvelinus fontinalis). On average, these large freshwater fish reach 24 to 36 inches long but can sometimes exceed this. Lake trout are known to live for 70 years in some lakes across North America, from Alaska all the way to Nova Scotia – making them powerful predators within their habitat.
These cold-water fish spawn in the fall at night using broadcast spawning. Females scatter millions of eggs across several shoals for males to externally fertilize with their sperm; once fertilized, it takes four or six months for eggs to hatch, after which time young lake trout hide at the bottom of lakes until they’re big enough to hunt for food themselves.
This species thrives in deep, cold water that is well-oxygenated. Their color ranges from slate grey to greenish in hue, with lighter undersides. Their dorsal fins and caudal fins have deep forking. Furthermore, these fish possess cream or yellow spots on the head, body, and dorsal fins; breeding males exhibit dark stripes along their sides.
In the 1800s, lake trout supported a crucial commercial fishery on the Great Lakes before their populations collapsed due to overfishing and non-native sea lamprey predation. Since then, continued stocking efforts and chemical control of sea lampreys have helped restore some people, but lake trout still have not reached an abundance that allows a sustainable harvest in certain regions.
Finger Lakes and Adirondack waters also receive lake trout stocks through New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation’s Lake Trout Stocking Program; more information can be found here.