Smallmouth Bass, photo/

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife is concerned over the illegal stocking of smallmouth bass, which compete with native brook trout. It reports: Central Maine may now lose one of its few remaining high-quality brook trout waters to yet another illegal fish introduction.

Fisheries & Wildlife biologists confirmed the presence of smallmouth bass in Kimball Pond, Vienna, on April 26, 2013. Acting on complaints from anglers regarding reduced brook trout catches, biologists confirmed the illegal introduction of bass while conducting a survey of the pond’s trout population.

“We are deeply disappointed that another first-class brook trout fishery is threatened by small-mouthed bass,” said Mike Brown, fisheries director. “Someone obviously doesn’t realize Kimball Pond is a brook trout treasure.”

Kimball Pond is one of central Maine’s premiere brook trout waters. Kimball is renowned for good catch rates and quality sized brook trout (fish commonly reaching 18 inches in length). The main factor that contributes to the successful fishery at Kimball Pond is the lack of competing predatory fish species: the pond contained only brook trout, sunfish, and a few species of baitfish. The presence of bass in this small pond (55 acres) will result in competition with brook trout for food, and larger bass feeding on small brook trout.

Department biologists believe that this introduction is in its early stages because bass numbers appear to be low in Kimball Pond. While it may be impossible to eradicate bass from Kimball Pond, anglers can do their part by removing any bass they catch.

Introducing fish into a Maine water is illegal. It is a Class E crime punishable by a fine of up to $10,000.00 dollars. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife is offering a minimum reward of $2,000.00 for information leading to the apprehension of persons responsible for the illegal introduction of fish.

Call Operation Game Thief at (800-253-7887).

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