Derby Organizers Respond To Viral Video Of Sebago Lake Trout
Video from the aftermath of an annual fishing derby lead to controversy on social media. Now organizers are speaking out.
Video has spread across social media of fish left on the ice after the Sebago Lake Ice Fishing Derby. The video, filmed and shared by Kurt Christensen of East Sebago, shows piles of dead fish left behind from the derby a day before. Kurt says in the video that he "counted 40 of 'em."
Derby organizers responded Monday to the video, saying: "We accepted every fish that was brought to us, over 2500 went to be processed through Nova Seafood in Portland to be flash frozen and delivered to food pantries." This has been a practice of the tournament for the past three or four years. In the comments, Christensen says: "I posted the pic only to bring attention to the waste caused by a few people!" He adds, "Sebago Lake Ice fishing derby did a great job! Donating all unwanted fish to the food pantry!! Hopefully in the future it will be illegal to leave fish on the ice!"
While we agree it's disheartening to see wild meat go to waste, biologists have been asking for assistance from anglers in taking Lake Trout from Sebago Lake. Decades ago, Maine's fisheries saw more fishing pressure and higher harvest rates. These days more harvest is needed to maintain healthy fish populations, and to achieve size quality management goals.
In a report released earlier this month, The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is encouraging anglers to harvest their catch this season. Maine fisheries biologists say: "Over the years harvesting your catch has become less popular. Even with liberal bag limits for some waters and biologists specifically asking anglers to keep their catch, the benefits of fish harvest are greater than ever."
The report listed waters across the state that biologists specifically need angler participation in, and the species of fish in which needs harvesting. Sebago Lake is listed, with lake trout being the only harvest focused species. According to the 2021 Maine Open Water and Ice Fishing Law Book, Sebago Lake has no bag limit on togue under 26 inches in length, and no minimum length. Only one may equal or exceed 26 inches.