Sports

Club tackles perch problem with fishing derby

SINCLAIR, Maine – In an effort to help native coldwater gamefish species, the Sinclair Long Lake Rod & Club is sponsoring a yellow perch fishing derby Saturday, July 23. “This is something we have been wanting to try,” said club President Butch Thibodeau. “Our lakes are saturated with yellow perch.”

Don Raymond of New Canada displays a box of freshly caught yellow perch that Wilfred Saucier of Frenchville had been working on all day Sunday, January 31, 2016 on Long Lake. (FhF / Tory Jones Bonenfant)

Don Raymond of New Canada displays a box of freshly caught yellow perch that Wilfred Saucier of Frenchville had been working on all day Sunday, January 31, 2016 on Long Lake. (FhF / Tory Jones Bonenfant)

Yellow perch feed on smelt, which is also a main source of food for the highly prized landlocked salmon and brook trout, said Thibodeau. This is not only impacting salmon and trout numbers, but also limiting the size that these fish can grow.

Thibodeau said that state fisheries biologists with whom he has spoken say the perch are a “nuisance” fish in local waters. There are no bag limit or size restrictions on yellow perch.

As a young boy, Thibodeau said he would see yellow perch occasionally, but that there are many more these days. “We are not going to get them all,” he said, “but we can knock down the population a bit.”

The club also works with the Maine Inland Fisheries And Wildlife Department to live trap perch, to help remove them from lakes.

Anglers participating in the yellow perch derby can fish in Long Lake, Mud Lake, Cross Lake, Square Lake and Eagle Lake.

Registration fees are $10 for adults and $5 for students 15 and younger. The derby starts Saturday morning, July 23, and closes at 7 p.m. Complete rules may be found on the registration form. The weigh station will open at 3 p.m.

Registration forms are available at Martin’s General Store in Sinclair, the St. Agatha Town Office, St. Peter’s Store in Cross Lake, Corner Quick Stop in St. David, Ouellette’s Variety in Van Buren, Up North Sports in Fort Kent and at the Long lake Sporting Club restaurant.

The Sporting Club will also serve as derby headquarters and the official weigh station. Registrations will also be sold at the Sporting Club during the day of the derby.

Derby prizes include $100 first place and $50 second place for the heaviest perch, and $100, and $50 for first and second place in the most perch caught. Door prizes donated by local merchants will also be drawn from among the derby participants.

Thibodeau said the fish are edible and taste good, although many local people either catch and release them or simply throw them away.

The club sponsored the perch category at the last Long Lake Ice Fishing Derby, and collected all the perch that were brought to that weigh station. Thibodeau said the club delivered more than 1,800 perch to Amish families in northern Maine, who either used them for food or fertilizer.

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