- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 15, 2016

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - The state has shut down smelt fishing in southern Maine until the end of June.

Smelt fishing is shut down from Tuesday until June 30 from the New Hampshire border to Owls Head. The state adopted the restrictions last year.

The fishing restrictions are designed to help Maine’s smelt population rebuild. The fish are the source of a recreational fishery every year. They are also popular battered and fried.

Fishing in the Midcoast area and Downeast coast remain legal this spring but fishermen face bucket limits and other restrictions.

Smelt are traditionally fished through the ice in winter and with dip nets in spring. Spring is when they spawn.

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