New fishing laws are on the books this year, including a big change for anglers on Swan Lake.

Last year, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife proposed changing 131 fishing laws. One particular change that was proposed aimed to revert Swan Lake, in Swanville, to the General Law line limit. The proposal was approved, thus allowing anglers to utilize up to five lines while ice fishing. The change went into effect when the lake opened to ice fishing on January 1, 2023. Ice conditions so far this year, however, have been less than desirable.

Ice Fishing
Mark A. Stahl, Getty Images

Swan Lake is annually stocked with landlocked salmon. Landlocked salmon and Togue (lake trout) are abundant within the body of water, however the catch rates for salmon are very low during the ice fishing season. According to department data, it took anglers 9.5 hours to catch a legal lake trout on Swan Lake last winter. It took anglers an average of 342 hours to catch a legal salmon, despite the high salmon density in the lake. IFW believes that line limitations are a contributing factor to the low catch rates. Traditionally anglers would set a line for salmon, and jig for touge.

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The law change has been published in the 2023 Maine Fishing Lawbook.

Prior to the change, ice fishing rules on Swan Lake stated a two-line limit. The department hopes the law change will encourage more angler use, and improve catch rates on the 1,370 acre lake.

15 Must-Have Items For Ice Fishing Season In Maine

Ice fishing is an excellent way to embrace the cold winter months in Maine. It will get you outdoors for some fresh air, it's family friendly, and a successful day could yield a tasty dinner. If you're new to the sport, we put together a list of gear you'll need for a fun, comfortable, and successful day on the ice. Some of these items are more essential than others. Some gear may not be essential at all, depending on how you plan to fish. Again, the items we listed are geared towards those who are new to ice fishing.

Before we get to the list, remember to dress appropriately for the cold weather. We didn't put warm outerwear on the list, but it's definitely a must-have. Dressing in layers is important to ensure you're warm enough throughout the day on the ice. If you start getting too warm, you can simply take a layer off. Hand warmers are also worth packing.

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