Maine is home to over 97% of the remaining native and wild lake and pond populations of brook trout. Live bait fish are documented as the number one threat to wild brook trout populations by a series of reports and studies by Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) and others. Use of live fish as bait has already been banned in over 90% of Maine’s native and wild brook trout ponds, and rules adopted in 2012 as a result of overwhelming support and public comments to Maine’s Fish and Wildlife Advisory Council were intended to bring additional waters into compliance. The proposed legislation, LD 170, would overturn the 2012 protection rules, putting our treasured brook trout populations at risk. The rules prevent the use of live fish as bait as a conservation measure to prevent introduction of non-native fish species that compete with brook trout, and should be left intact. A hearing took place on March 26th in Augusta, and a work session was held on April 9th and the Committee may reconsider. It looks like this bill may be killed, but an amended version could be incorporated into the Department’s omnibus fishing bill.


Hearing and Work Session held