Do you like to fish in spots where you’re not likely to see any other anglers? Do you like to hike into to remote ponds, just to find out if you can coax a brook trout to your fly? Do you want to help provide crucial information to biologists and conservation groups as you enjoy a day on the water?
If you answered yes to those questions, have I got a deal for you.
Maine Audubon, Trout Unlimited and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife are seeking volunteer anglers to participate in the fourth year of their Brook Trout Survey Project.
In essence, here’s what you’ve got to do: Go fishing at specific remote ponds (project organizers will give you a map) that have not been previously surveyed. See if you can catch a brook trout or two. Then tell those same organizers how the trip went.
According to a project press release, Maine is home to 97 percent of the intact wild brook trout pond habitat in the eastern U.S., and a population of healthy brook trout can be a key indicator of the health of a ecosystem.
Unfortunately, hundreds of remote ponds and coastal streams have never been surveyed by biologists. The state also doesn’t have any record of trout being stocked into those waters.
So the question remains: Do those ponds and streams have brook trout in them?
That’s where you come in, if you accept the invitation.
“Volunteers should be enthusiastic about fishing for brook trout, be comfortable in remote settings, and have a sense of adventure,” TU’s Jeff Reardon said in the news release.
Over the first three years of the study, 197 volunteers have surveyed 258 remote Maine ponds. In addition, DIF&W biologists have surveyed 45 ponds that volunteers identified as possible brook trout ponds, and confirmed the presence of brookies in 34 of those ponds.
This year’s target waters: Coastal streams from Kennebunk to Lubec, along with more than 300 ponds in western and northern Maine.
Surveys on those ponds can be completed any time before Sept. 30. To volunteer or learn more, contact Amanda Moeser at 781-6180, extension 207, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also learn more about the project at maineadubon.org/brooktrout
Sounds like a good excuse to go fishing!