Open water fishing season is now open under an emergency law signed by Gov. John E. Baldacci Thursday.

All lakes, ponds and brooks are open except those with specific opening-day regulations that start after Thursday, April 1 as listed in the 2008-2009 Open Water Fishing Law Book.

Bag and size limit rules contained in the 2008-2009 Open Water Fishing Law Book also apply.

The emergency law is in effect from March 25 to April 1, 2010.

A new fishing law book that combines ice fishing and open water fishing rules, including several new regulations, will become effective on April 1. Distribution of this law book began a couple of weeks ago and is available where fishing licenses are sold.

“People have been anxious to drop their lines given that ice-fishing season ended too soon in some parts of the state, with many lakes and ponds experiencing early ice out conditions,” said Maine Island Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner Roland “Danny” Martin. “We’re happy to provide this opportunity to anglers, and remind them to be mindful of early spring cold-water conditions by being safe.”

Open water fishing season historically begins on April 1 on most waters of the state. Because of unseasonably warm weather opening up waterways in many counties and strong public interest in wanting to fish, Maine Sen. Bruce Bryant, D-Oxford County, sponsored emergency legislation to start the season early.

VillageSoup sports staff can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at sports@villagesoup.com.