Maine is home to 97% of the intact wild brook trout lake and pond habitat in the eastern United States. We have both an opportunity and a responsibility to protect the nation’s last stronghold. Brook trout are important to Maine and the nation’s ecological and sporting heritage and are also a valuable recreational and economic state resource.
However, the quality and abundance of the fishery has declined. Brook trout are very sensitive to competition from other fish species. One of the biggest threats to the resource is the introduction of competing fish species into the trout’s fragile ecosystem. The use of live fish bait can introduce new fish species to wild or native brook trout waters that can compete with local brook trout and put the population at risk.
During the last legislative session, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (DIFW) was directed to review its list of trout waters that should restrict the use of live fish as bait, and bring it back this session to finalize. We support these efforts to protect our important brook trout habitat.
Do you enjoy fishing and exploring the Maine outdoors? Become a citizen scientist with Maine Audubon’s Brook Trout Pond Survey! We work with volunteer anglers to survey ponds in western and northern Maine to identify populations of native brook trout. The date is used to help improve conservation management practices to better protect this iconic species.