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Striped bass came in a little later this season. The fishing was good, and then all of the sudden it fell off. The reason for both anomalies can be blamed on the weather. The rivers took a little more time to warm up this spring and the latest nor'easter storm sent them out seeking refuge in the deeper waters of the ocean.

We are back to normal now and striper fishing is as it should be, until the dog days of summer come in and shut the fishing down for a week or so in August. Striped bass live in saltwater but spawn in freshwater. The major spawning waters on the East Coast are in northern Florida, the Chesapeake Bay and the Hudson River. In Maine, we have spawning striped bass in the Kennebec River. Coastal Conservation Association of Maine stands tall above many other conservation groups in its dogged approach to protect the striped bass as a recreational sport fish rather than a commercial fish. Years back, the commercial fishing industry nearly decimated the entire population of the striped bass. We now have an abundance of these fish in our waters every year.

The Department of Marine Resources has announced that the regulations for 2007 will remain the same. In Maine, we keep the two slot classifications — the first slot is 20 to 26 inches and the second slot is 40 inches and over. Anglers may keep only one fish per day, and that fish can be from either of the two slot limits.

The Maine season to keep fish is from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. Gear is restricted to hook and line only. Use of a gaff to land a striped bass is illegal. It is also illegal to sell Maine striped bass. Anglers do not need a Maine fishing license when fishing in the tidal waters.

For the fly fisher, the chartreuse Clouser Minnow, the Green and White Deceiver, and Surf Candy remain on top of the list of flies to use. In the early season, add a little yellow bucktail to that chartreuse Clouser Minnow for more hits. Also, try poppers or gurglers for top-water action. Stripers will usually slash at anything if it is perceived as food. Spinning gear anglers like to use Kastmasters and Atoms Poppers. Bait fishers use chunk mackerel, clams, eels, or squid. Start with a 10-pound test leader or fishing line at the beginning of the season and work up to 20-pound test by late June.

Here's a list of striper locations. Most of the parking places listed require a permit or a fee to park:

Pine Point — Heading north on Route 1 in North Saco, take a right onto Route 9. Continue for three miles until the road takes a sharp right. Take the small road to the left, which will take you to a large parking lot. The Scarborough River is at the far end of the parking lot.

Saco River — For the north side of the river, take Route 9 at the light near downtown Saco. Follow it all the way to the end. Find a parking place at Camp Ellis and fish from both sides of the long breakwater that reaches far out into the Saco River. This is a good place for mackerel and stripers.

To access the river from the south side, take Routes 9/208 away from Biddeford. You will travel almost three miles before spotting a small blue public access boat launch sign on the left side of the road. After parking, fish to the right of the boat ramp for a stretch of a hundred yards.

Biddeford Pool — Continue on Routes 9/208 from the previous site and watch closely for Route 208 to fork from Route 9. Take Route 208 for 2½ miles, where you will see the road take a sharp right turn as it travels along the rocky shore. Try to find a spot to park. Fish from the many house-sized rocks, which are platforms to deep water. (Note the point of land far to your left. That land belongs to Audubon Society and you can access it by a small trail. The fishing on that point is excellent.)

Kennebunk Beach — Early morning or late evening is the best time to access this beach. Fish the breakers for large stripers; also note the rocky area to your right.

Mousam River — From Route 9, take the Parson's Beach Road to the parking area. Parking is often difficult in the daytime, so early morning and early evening are the best times to access this incredible water.

Webhannet River — From Route 1 in Wells, take the Mile Road to Wells Beach. Instead of going into the parking lot located at the beach area, take a left and follow that road all the way to the end, where you will find a large parking lot. Mackerel can be caught here, too.

Nubble Light — Follow Route 1A to Cape Neddick Lighthouse. Parking is limited. Fish off the rocks just to the right of the lighthouse along the mainland shore. Be very careful when standing on any ledge or rocks while fishing for ocean species. Waves can be unpredictable and wash unsuspecting anglers to injury or worse.

Now, let's go fishing!

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