Introduced Fish in Maine
Historical Annotations for Introduced Maine Fishes
Green sunfish - recently reported (in association with bluegill and largemouth bass) from 9-acre private Trout Pond in Brighton PLT and downstream (Tucker Stream) in Harmony, upstream from Great Moose Lake in central Maine (northern Sebasticook River drainage system). Surveyed by Maine DIFW, September 4, 2002 and several years classes observed (Jim Lucas, Region B, Maine DIFW). Drainage closed to permitted baitfish harvest by Maine DIFW (pers. comm. Dave Boucher, Region D, Maine DIFW), in an attempt to minimize further translocation within the Kennebec River drainage (also applies to bluegill account below). Originally, green sunfish were found in 1991 in a private pond adjacent to and within the floodplain of the Penobscot River in Argyle, Maine, however, their removal was successfully accomplished by pond reclamation in October, 1991 (pers. comm. Scott Davis, Region B, Maine DIFW).
Bluegill - recently reported (in association with green sunfish and largemouth bass) from 9-acre private Trout Pond in Brighton PLT and downstream (Tucker Stream) in Harmony, upstream from Great Moose Lake in central Maine (northern Sebasticook River drainage system). Recently surveyed by Maine DIFW, September 4, 2002, several year classes observed (pers. comm. Jim Lucas, Region B, Maine DIFW). Originally, bluegill (smaller individuals) were first discovered in Maine waters in 2000 in Balch Pond, Newfield (York County), a NH-ME interstate waterbody (pers. comm. Francis Brautigam, Region A, Maine DIFW). Adult bluegill presence was also documented in 2001 from Leighs Mill Pond in South Berwick (York County - Great Works River system), as well as on the NH border in southern Maine (ibid.).
Channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) - found in a private pond whose outflow empties into the Sheepscot River in east-central Maine. Adult removal was successfully accomplished through pond reclamation in August 2001 (pers. comm. Scott Davis, Region B, Maine DIFW). No new records or observations to date in Maine waters.
Gizzard shad - several large adult fish first found in the Kennebec River immediately below the confluence of Sebasticook River in Winslow by Kleinschmidt Associate's fishery biologists during the late summer of 2000 (pers. comm. Brandon Kulik, Klein-schmidt Associates - Pittsfield, Maine). Adults also reported from lower Saco River (below first dam) in past years (pers. comm. Jim Stahlnecker, Maine DEP, formerly Maine DIFW and Maine DMR). Not found during extensive boat electrofishing survey work on Kennebec River, summer 2002 (Yoder and Kulik 2002, unpublished).
Central mudminnow - first collected from Maine waters in 1999, with multiple year classes collected from the vicinity of Caribou Bog in Orono - Old Town, Maine in 2000 and 2002 (Schilling et al., in review). Probable release from nearby baitfish dealership.
White catfish - first identified in Maine in the early 1980s when juveniles were observed in commercial American eel tanks in Passadumkeag, adjacent to the Penobscot River north of Old Town (pers. comm. Fred Kircheis, Maine DIFW). Historical occurrence in the Kennebec River (Maine DEP and DMR: 1980-1990s) and recently sampled in Kennebec River below confluence with Sebasticook River in Waterville in late summer of 2001-2002; reproducing in Merrymeeting Bay area, Maine (pers. comm. Brandon Kulik, Kleinschmidt Associates). Recently collected in lower Kennebec River during electrofishing studies (Yoder and Kulik 2002, unpublished).
Eastern silvery minnow - found reproducing in Fish Brook, Kennebec River drainage, Fairfield in 1982 as reported in Kircheis 1994 (probable baitfish introduction).
Spottail shiner - found reproducing in Cathance Brook, Kennebec River drainage, Bowdoinham in 1979 - currently exists as a large breeding population in lower Kennebec River system, as reported in Kircheis 1994 (probable baitfish introduction). Abundantly represented in recent surveys of Kennebec and Androscoggin rivers (Yoder et al. 2004).
Emerald shiner - found reproducing in several central and southern Maine waters in the 1970's, as reported in Kircheis 1994 (probable baitfish introduction).
Ide or golden orfe (Leuciscus idus) - adults found in the 1970's in a private pond in Brewer, Maine. Removal accomplished through pond reclamation in the summer of 1983 (pers. comm. Bill Woodward, Region B, Maine DIFW). Suspected ornamental fish release only, no known survival.
Giant snakehead (Channa micropeltes) – a single fish (272 mm SL) reported from below the Springvale Dam on Mousam River near Sanford, Maine in summer of 1976 (USGS, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Report, Web-Page). Two specimens were apparently collected from the Saco River prior to 1979 (Courtenay and Hensley 1979), but these latter records were not verified. Maine voucher specimen reported to be in the University of Maine fish collection. Illegal tropical fish release only - no known survival or reproductive success in the wild. Not to be confused with northern snakeheads (MD).
Rudd – first found reproducing in Cobbossee Lake (Winthrop), Kennebec River drainage system in 1973 (baitfish introduction, easily confused with golden shiner and legally sold as a baitfish in several other New England states - as reported in Kircheis 1994). Rudd are suspected by biologists to be more widespread in Maine inland waters due to baitfish introductions of ‘red-fin’ shiners, which may or may not be common or golden shiners?
Muskellunge – naturally migrated into northern Maine waters from Canada via the St. John River after a Quebec biologist introduced them into Lac Frontiere (headwaters of the northwest branch of the St. John River) in 1970-1973, without informing the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (Bangor Daily News Outdoor Report, Terry Farren). Presently muskellunge are reproducing and spreading throughout the St. John River mainstem and further upstream to St. Francis River and the Glazier Lake region on the New Brunswick - Maine border (personal communication - Paul Johnson and Dave Basley, Maine DIFW, as reported by Dwayne Rioux, Waterville Morning Sentinel).
Northern pike - intentional illegal introduction, first documented from Great Pond (Belgrade Lakes) in 1981 - as reported in Kircheis 1994, but may have been originally introduced into Little North Pond in 1969 (personal communication, Bill Woodward, Region B, Maine DIFW). Well-established in Belgrade lakes, Umbagog Lake, Sabattus Pond, Annabessacook Lake, and Kennebec River (Messalonskee Stream). Known occurrence of northern pike has almost tripled (6 to 16) due to illegal stocking in southern and central Maine waters since 1985 (pers. comm. Francis Brautigam, Maine DIFW). Now reported from at least 28 waterbodies within the Kennebec, Androscoggin, and coastal river drainages (Maine DEP-TNC fish data base). Adult northern pike have been recently reported from the Songo Lock, a thoroughfare of Sebago Lake (4 June 2003) as well as Pushaw Lake in Old Town (Penobscot River drainage).
Black crappie - illegally introduced into Sebago Lake area in either 1925 (Humphrey 2001) or late 1930s - early '40s (Robert Foye, Maine DIFW retired-disceased, local fish historian). In 1969, black crappie were accidentally introduced to Sebasticook Lake (Newport) during Maine DIFW stocking of largemouth bass. Today, black crappie are well-established in many central Maine waterways, including the Kennebec River, Belgrade lakes, Sebasticook Lake, Unity Pond, and Hermon Pond (Penobscot River drainage). Black crappie have also been illegally "introduced into (numerous) lakes and ponds in southern Maine" (Humphrey 2001).
Walleye - originally were unsuccessfully introduced into Great Pond (Belgrades) in the early 1900's (Everhart 1958), and were last observed in 1953 (David Locke, retired Maine DIFW hatchery superintendent). Adults only, illegally introduced in Long Pond (Belgrades) within last 5 years. Fish biologists are quite concerned that walleye could possibly spread and become established throughout the Belgrade lakes (pers. comm. Scott Davis, Region B, Maine DIFW, as reported in Morning Sentinel, Maine Lore, January 31, 2002). However, the numbers of adult walleyes caught in Long Pond appears to be dwindling - from one in 1996, to 5 in 1997, a high of 14 in 1998, four in 1999, and three in 2000 (Ken Warner, Editor, Maine DIFW, Fisheries & Hatcheries Research & Management Report 2002). Apparently, there have been no signs of any reproduction or juvenile walleye observations to date.
Largemouth bass - probably introduced into Maine waters incidentally with authorized stockings of smallmouth bass during the late 1800s (Warner 2002). Largemouth bass then spread rapidly through south-central Maine, both naturally through emmigration and via illegal transplants (Humphrey 2001). Recently established in downeast Maine waters (Boucher 2002), largemouth bass now occur in 372 waterbodies, primarily in south-central Maine, and commonly in association with smallmouth bass (Warner 2002). In the fall of 2001, Maine DIFW biologists reclaimed (treated with the chemical fish poison rotenone) Durepo Lake in central Aroostook County following the illegal transplant of largemouth bass into this native brook trout lake (Bangor Daily News, May 13, 2002).
Smallmouth bass - legally introduced into Maine waters in 1869, smallmouth bass were widely stocked statewide by the 1880's by early Fish Commissioners, and were first regulated in 1877 (Warner 2002). William Converse Kendall, a well-respected Maine ichthyologist, deemed "the introduced smallmouth bass as sufficiently established to be admitted as a state fish" in 1914. "Since 1986, biologists have determined that illegal black bass introductions have established new populations in 57 additional lakes statewide, including Umbagog Lake (upper Androscoggin River drainage), where they "threaten one of our nation's premier wild brook trout populations" (Boucher 2002). Today, smallmouth bass occur in 471 Maine lakes and ponds, primarily in south-central Maine, commonly in association with largemouth bass (Warner 2002). Smallmouth bass also currently occur in most Maine river systems and have been reported from the lower St. John River drainage in the Van Buren area of northeastern Maine.
White perch - not really a 'perch' but a close relative to the striped bass (both belonging to the Family Moronidae) and are truly indigenous to Maine coastal ponds and streams with direct connections to the Gulf of Maine. Extensively stocked historically into inland lakes and ponds (throughout New England states) to provide sportfishing opportunity and widely distributed through unauthorized transplants statewide. White perch now occur throughout Maine except for Aroostook County and "may be the fish (species) that's most often illegally introduced" (Humphrey 2001). Also see White Perch Fact Sheet (Appendix C).
Chain pickerel and yellow perch - indigenous (native) only to lowland warmwaters in south-central Maine and historically introduced as sportsfish (as early as 1832, reported in Kendall 1914) into numerous waters northeast of the Kennebec River drainage.
Golden shiner and fathead minnow - indigenous (native) to lowland warmwaters in southern Maine, and subsequently illegally introduced as bait-fish releases into upland waters throughout the state. Golden shiner are known to be capable of laboratory hybridization with the exotic (European) rudd (Burkhead and Williams 1991).
Rainbow smelt (landlocked) - populations established in numerous waters statewide, both from legal forage fish stockings (in association with landlocked Atlantic salmon stocks) and illegal transplants (approximtely 50% of waters unauthorized - pers. comm. Paul Johnson, MDIFW). Fishery biologists believe that the illegal introduction of rainbow smelt into inland waters has severely impacted native brook trout fisheries (ibid.) and has led to the serious decline of lake whitefish in many northern Maine lakes (pers. comm. Fred Kircheis, former Maine DIFW). Presently, rainbow smelt are established in 123 (93%) of Maine's 137 lake trout waters and 12 of the remaining 14 non-smelt Lake trout waters are located in the remote areas of northwestern and northern Maine (Ken Warner, Maine DIFW, Fisheries & Hatcheries Research and Management Report 2002).
Alewife (landlocked) - populations established in several inland waterbodies resulting from forage fish stockings, but also illegally transplanted into non-managed waters as well - including Great and Long ponds in central Maine, DIFW Belgrade Region B and East Grand Lake drainage system in northcentral Maine, DIFW Penobscot Region F (Ken Warner, Maine DIFW, Fisheries & Hatcheries Research and Management Report 2002). Does not pertain to existing river stocks of anadromous alewife presently being restored through the management efforts of the Maine Department of Marine Resources. Also see Alewife Fact Sheet (Appendix D).
Continuing/Update Note: This is an active document which will be continually updated by the author on a bi-annual basis (early spring and late fall), as need be. Any new validated records of introduced fish within Maine or new fish species to Maine waters, either native or non-native/exotic species, should be reported directly to the author at Maine DEP, State House Station #17, Augusta ME 04333 (207-287-7649), firstname.lastname@example.org.