And not all of it’s meant for human consumption. Some of it’s used for bait, usually for lobsters.
- Along the coast we have mackerel. It’s a small fish and oily, one that doesn’t keep well, but cooked promptly or smoked for storing, it’s a lot like salmon. For sports fishing here, seems everybody’s catching ‘em, sometimes six on a line. Some folks even trade buckets of them for lobster.
- Alewife. Migrates from the sea late every spring. Another small fish that needs to be cooked promptly or pickled for canning. Also used as prime lobster bait.
- Herring. A century ago, these were the basis of Maine’s sardine industry.
- Smelt. They’re small, often dip-netted, and can be pan fried and eaten whole. Pacific Northwest Natives called them candlefish, for their oil. Around here, they often show up on the line when casting for mackerel.
- Flounder. The species includes fluke, and they like to hang out around pilings and docks – the kinds of places where many folks fish.
- Halibut. Now we’re getting to the kinds of fish you might recognize on a restaurant menu or at the grocery.
- Haddock. Ditto.
- Turning to freshwater, we have several species of trout.
- And bass. or perch.
- Plus landlocked salmon. Migratory salmon are off-limits, however.
Clamming is also big when the tide’s out. Not that they’re actually fish.