Maine might be world renowned for its lobster but it definitely isn’t strongly associated with Walleye. In fact there’s somewhat of a drought of Walleye in Maine.
If you’ve hopped across the border from New Hampshire you might be wondering what’s going on. The Connecticut River might be full of them, but that’s not the case in “The Pine Tree State”.
Walleye Fishing in Maine is not very fruitful for one main reason.
Walleye are not native to Maine!
They are an introduced species, and there have been efforts to introduce them in the past. And don’t get me wrong, there are a few Walleye still hanging around. They are even recorded in the record books as recently as 2010.
So let’s take a quick look at what happened in the past and why you won’t find many Walleye in the freshwater of Maine. We’ll also see where you can go fishing if you really want to try your luck to catch one of the last remaining Walleye.
The Best Walleye Fishing in Maine
There is one definite hot spot where the best Walleye fishing in Maine is focused and that is the Belgrade Lakes.
The current state record for Walleye was set in Long Pond, and the previous state record was set in Messalonskee Lake. I have also heard several reports of Great Pond producing the odd Walleye.
When your heart is set on Walleye in Maine, head on down to Belgrade and try your luck. It’s the only place worth going Walleye fishing in Maine. The Belgrade Lakes are just off I-95 in between Augusta and Waterville as you head north towards Bangor.
The most recent state record walleye in Maine was caught in May 2010 at Long Pond which is one of the Belgrade Lakes. Tom Conard of Eldersburg, Maryland is 54 years young and managed to land a 23.5 inch trophy Walleye weighing in at 7 lb 2 oz.
This set the state record Walleye catch for Maine, but there’s a catch.
Because Walleye are an introduced species the state doesn’t keep official records of Walleye catches. So the record remains “unofficial”.
Before Tom’s catch the previous “unofficial” Walleye record for Maine was held by Nathan Lawler of Portland Maine. In August of 2009, Nathan pulled in a 5 lb 7 oz Walleye from Messalonskee Lake.
As the record books show, if you want to go walleye fishing in Maine you best check out the Belgrade Lakes. This are the best place to go walleye fishing in MI.
Are There Walleye in Maine?
As the various “unofficial” state records have shown over the years, there are absolutely Walleye in Maine. Although they seem to be confined to the Belgrade Lakes area. And there is a rumor as to why this is the case.
It goes like this.
Apparently some years ago a mistake was made at a federal fish hatchery, where Walleye are bred to be introduced to lakes in states who want these fish in their waters. The story goes that this federal hatchery made a mistake, and accidentally sent a truckload of Walleye to be stocked at the Belgrade lakes instead of the usual stock of trout.
So the only reason anyone can catch Walleye in Maine is down to government bureaucracy!
The different sizes of Walleye that have been caught over the years indicate that they are breeding and sustaining themselves in the Belgrade Lakes. And it’s actually causing a problem for the native species.
The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife have noticed the the landlocked salmon that used to be so prolific in the Great Pond and Long Ponds are now scarce. And they put the reason down to the accidental introduction of Walleye into these freshwater lakes.
The department is now trying to reduce the number of walleye in the lakes to protect the native fish before it’s too late. Nets have been deployed at the spillway of Long Pond to try and catch Walleye as they pass through, and there’s been some success.
They also asked anglers that if you catch a Walleye in Maine, don’t throw it back. It’s an invasive species and they prefer that you take it home and make a meal out of it (as you well should, Walleye are a tasty fish to eat!)
The Last Cast
Walleye Fishing in Maine is alive and well if you find yourself close to the Belgrade Lakes. If you live further away then unfortunately you wont’ find Walleye in the rest of the state. They are not native to the area and are not being introduced, so you will have to go chasing salmon, trout or one of the other abundant freshwater fish in the lakes and rivers of Maine.
Remember, if you do happen to catch a Walleye you should not throw in back in the lake. Keep it for your dinner and help to support the growth of native fish populations.