Elver anglers’ attention turns to Penobscot

If you’ve driven by the public boat ramp on North Main Street in Brewer lately, you may have wondered why so many trucks have been parked there.

After all, there’s no Atlantic salmon season on the Penobscot River any longer, and the ramp allows access to a fairly short section of the river — often from the rapids at the former Bangor Dam site upriver to the Veazie Dam.

The reason for the recent activity: Elvers.

On Friday I stopped by and chatted with a couple of fishermen who were returning to the ramp after checking large fyke nets that you’ll also see up and down the river. Nets are also anchored along the tidal sections of Kenduskeag Stream.

One man told me that he and fellow fishermen have essentially been following the elvers north since the season began, and will be fishing the Penobscot until June 1, when the season closes.

Elvers, or glass eels, aren’t available in the Penobscot during the beginning of the season, but eventually show up in substantial numbers. The fisherman I spoke with said he and others — including men from as far away as Kennebunk and Lubec — began fishing the river last week.

This fisherman admitted only that he’d caught  “a handful” of elvers during his time on the water Friday. The elvers are now selling for about $1,800 a pound, he said.



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John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.