12/12/13 – Well, I guess the inference that gold dredging can suck up fish eggs is a bit of an exaggeration since State of Maine saw says:
A person may perform motorized recreational gold prospecting only from June 15th to September 15th and only with written permission of the relevant landowner.
So no fish eggs should be sucked up. BUT that wasn’t the case just a year ago. Nope a year ago prospectors could and did dredge during those mid-winter thaw days. You know those January Thaw days when you thought – I should get my fly-rod out. Heck, they sure weren’t limited to getting out there mid-winter they could go dredge a stream mid-spawn.
But a bunch of Maine local volunteers talked with their legislators and after a lot of volunteer hours and legislative work the 126th, Maine Legislature passed Legislative Document No. 1135 (LD-1135) An Act To Provide Consistency in the Regulation of Motorized Recreational Gold Prospecting.
But the fights not over. Even with the time restriction that protects our state’s fish eggs and young of the year spawn we still have to protect areas Inland Fish and Wildlife, and the Atlantic Salmon Commission deem essential to post spawn growth and development.
To that end Senator Doyle has submitted a Legislative Request (LR2434) asking that the Rapid, Magalloway, Carrabassett, Sandy (and its tribs), South Bog and a few others be given protected status. The 126th, Maine Legislature will be back in Augusta in January for an emergency session. If things go well this Legislative Request will become a Maine law. But there’s a lot of legislative work scheduled and there’s always the chance, even during the normal session, that with all the hustle and bustle a good bill doesn’t make it.
That’s where volunteers come in . You can help LR-2434 become law. I’ll be posting on the forum as this issue come to the forefront and, if you would, I’d like you to start thinking about sending an email when they call for public comments. I’ll put the email address up on the forum – all you’ll have to do is click on it and type something like “this bill should pass” it really doesn’t have to be much more than that.
I guess we don’t have to worry about it until next year – but next year is just weeks away. I’ll let you know what’s happening with the bill – keep checking the forum.
Oh, and here’s a YouTube video of some people dredging here in Maine. It’s only a few minutes. It shows you the kind of hole they make in a stream. (a hole they are supposed to fill back in by the way – you tell me if you think they filled it in). Oh, and there is a 4″ maximum hose size for a dredge. That’s not a problem for these guys – they just brought in a second 4″ dredge.