Cusk, a type of landlocked codfish, inhabit most northern Maine lakes as well as some lakes in the central region. These fish are bottom feeders and are primarily nocturnal. Most cusk are taken through the ice at night. Many waters have special regulations which allow nighttime cusk fishing.
While not shining fighters, cusk are perhaps the most delicious fish in Maine. Fresh cusk fillets, slowly cooked in butter with a dash of lemon, are an epicurean delight. Cusk are the basis for some ambrosial fish chowders, a staple of Maine’s north country.
Use any tackle for cusk fishing. Simply leave a dead minnow on the bottom and the cusk will do the rest. Cusk can also be taken after ice-out on jigs, near the mouths of rivers. Some anglers apply fluorescent paint in order to attract the fish in the sunless depths. A bit of minnow will sweeten up the jig, resulting in more hits.