Due to unusually cold conditions and an emergency resolve signed by the governor, ice fishing season in the northern region of the state will be extended into mid-April.

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Waters in southern Maine are already open year round to both ice fishing and open water fishing unless closed by special rule, according to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

“Extending the ice fishing season in northern Maine will provide anglers throughout the state similar ice fishing opportunities to those in southern Maine,” said Governor Paul LePage. “Not only will this provide for more recreational opportunities for anglers, but also continued economic opportunity for many small businesses that support fishing.”

Under the emergency law, waters that are open to ice fishing as of March 31 in the north region will continue to be open from April 1 through Sunday, April 16.  All rules and regulations for those waters that are already open to ice fishing in the north region will remain in effect.

Waters that are not open to ice fishing will remain closed to ice fishing.

“We are pleased that we can extend additional ice fishing opportunities for anglers this year, and we look forward to working to modify the current statute so that a future commissioner may extend or shorten seasons when appropriate,” said Chandler Woodcock, IFW Commissioner.

April 1 also marks the traditional start to the open water fishing season in the northern Maine

Ice conditions can change rapidly during the spring, and anglers are reminded to always check the condition of the ice before heading out.

“Test the thickness of the ice using an ice chisel or ice auger in several locations on the lake or pond,” said Major Chris Cloutier of the Warden Service. “Remember that new ice is usually stronger than old ice and ice seldom freezes uniformly. Ice that forms over flowing water and currents, especially near streams, bridges and culverts, can be particularly dangerous.”

Many anglers often access waters surrounded by land that is privately owned. During the spring, unpaved roads can be muddy or soft, so anglers are reminded to be respectful, and avoid damaging roads.

This information was provided by the Maine Department ofInland fisheries and Wildlife.