All is well around the watershed, the ice has firmed up nicely on the lake and ponds. The ice fishing folks were the first ones out on the ice, soon followed by skaters and skiers. The water level has been up and down several times over the last few weeks due to a few big rain storms. This has caused the ice to buckle and break along the shoreline. Caution is advised near shore and getting out onto the ice.
Fishing for brook trout this fall and winter in the local ponds has been great thanks to fall stocking by Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IF&W). Ponds all over have been stocked with brook trout some as large as 20 inches. Check the stocking reports available here ME Stocking Report 2016 and ME Stocking Report Brood 2016.
The posting of membership signs is moving along well without any deep snow, and I hope to soon use the snowmobile for posting and patrolling. I have it ready to go at Camp Rabbit, but more ice and some snow would help.
I`m seeing lots of bald eagles around the watershed. They come to eat the bait and fish that icefishers leave on the ice. A word of caution to those fishing on the hardwater; protect those fish you want to take home for supper! I heard of one fisherman who pulled a beautiful 20” brookie out of a hole. As soon as he had the hook out another flag went up. As he hustled over to the next trap to play that fish an eagle swooped down and took off with his trophy!
Hey, if you catch a black crappie feed it to the eagles (or yourself, they’re good eating). They have been illegally introduced to our watershed and are now here to stay. But keeping the population down will help our native fish compete. Send pictures of any fish you catch this winter, especially black crappie to the Lake Warden at lakewarden@megunticook.org.
Finally, the U.S. Coast Guard is offering boating safety classes this winter Boater Safety Course. Classes for small and big boats are available. This is also a great time to check your boat and clean off any ice or snow on the cover. Check the bilge for ice and water. Better to find a small problem now than a big one in the spring.

When heading out on the waters of the Megunticook Watershed have fun and be safe. Warden Dale Dougherty