Maine’s fisheries biologists are charged with preserving, protecting, and enhancing the inland fisheries resources of the state for all to enjoy here in Maine. One important piece of the fisheries management puzzle is public access to state waters. This was certainly evident at Bog Lake in Northfield where for 12 years the public lost access to this 826-acre water.
Located just 10 miles north of Machias in Washington County, Bog Lake supports cold-water species and is known historically as a great salmon fishery. When public access was lost, the fishing drastically changed.
Being close to a population center, Bog Lake has always been a popular destination for anglers. The lake is a boon to the local economy and biologists in the Downeast region have worked to enhance a cold-water fishery since the mid 1950’s. Annual salmon stocking started in 1954 and in 1995 brown trout were introduced and augmented the very popular salmon fishery. Unfortunately, smallmouth bass were illegally introduced in the mid 1990’s and largemouth bass were illegally introduced in the 2000’s.
In 2001 the public access was lost and all stocking was suspended due to dissimilar access between private waterfront landowners and the public. The popular salmon fishery quickly disappeared when stocking ceased and the illegally introduced bass species (smallmouth in the mid-1990’s and largemouth in the 2000’s) dominated the remaining fishery resulting in dramatic changes to the fishing.
After public access was lost, the department purchased land off Route 192 on the western shore of the lake in the early 2000’s with the goal of creating a public access site. In 2013, that goal was realized with the construction and opening of a new public boat launch. Biologists immediately reinstated the annual salmon stocking program and then collected data to evaluate the fishery. A 2017 winter creel survey revealed anglers were catching good numbers of salmon averaging 16 inches. Brook trout were stocked as well and anglers are catching brookies that measure 13 to 19-inches during the winter and spring. Spring fishermen that enjoy trolling are now consistently catching salmon and the occasional brook trout.
Bog Lake is a success story and shows the importance of public access when it comes to fisheries management in Maine. Bog Lake is an important body of water to the local area and now that public access is assured, MDIFW will work to enhance the fishery.
Now that spring is here, we hope every angler gets a chance to get out and enjoy the great fishing opportunities across Maine, including Bog Lake!