Sebec Lake has several native fish species, including landlocked salmon, lake trout, brook trout, sunfish, American eel, brown bullhead, and white sucker. With planned removal of dams and creation of fish ladders, the Penobscot River Project could allow invasive species to enter Sebec. LD134, prohibiting fish ladders on the Sebec River at Milo and Sebec was signed into law in 2011. The potential for introduction of non-native species by irresponsible individuals still exists. Sebec Lake Association Directors are involved in committees with the goal of reducing that possibility.
Northern Pike, illegally introduced into the Belgrade Chain of Lakes in the 1970's, are now present in at least 16 lakes in the Kennebec, Androscoggin, and coastal river drainages. They are suspected to occur in several additional waters. These newest populations have been derived from illegal transport or by out-migration from lakes were they have become established. Pike are voracious predators on other fishes, and their presence in one lake is suspected of destroying one of the state's premier landlocked salmon populations.
There have been reports of pike being caught in Sebec. Tim Obrey, Maine Inland Fisheries&Wildlife Biologist, says "there have had reports like this in the past, but they always have turned out to be pickerel. There are some big pickerel in the lake and itís easy to confuse the two species." See Identifying the Pike Family or Pike vs. Pickerel for information on differentiating between pickerel and pike.
Unauthorized introductions of invasive, exotic fish species are particularly destructive to Maine's native brook trout populations, but they may also cause irreversible changes to entire aquatic ecosystems by restructuring plankton and forage fish communities that have evolved since the last glacial retreat. Moreover, strategies to eliminate or control invasive fish are difficult to design and implement, costly, and almost entirely ineffective.
Illegally stocking fish is a crime and often irreversible, especially in a lake the size of Sebec. The illegal introduction of any fish into any Maine water is a Class E crime, punishable by fines up to $10,000! The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is offering a minimum reward of $2,000 for information leading to the apprehension of persons responsible for the illegal introduction of fish.
Call Operation Game Thief at 1-800-253-7887. For more information, see Illegal Fish Stocking in Maine.
If you think you have caught an invasive species, contact Bob Hall with clear photos of the fish.