Fishing Maine lakes with descriptions of the types of fish are listed below.
Information below was provided by
A Fisherman's Guide to Maine.
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The Fish River watershed dominates the northern Maine landscape with
a drainage area that covers more than 1,000 square miles. Its 8
major lakes and nearly 50 miles of river make this area a prime
destination for many trout and salmon anglers. The developing
muskellunge fishery on the St. Francis and St. John Rivers, along
with the trout ponds in and around the Deboullie Preserve .
The southern zone is composed of waters in the Mattawamkeag watershed. Coldwater fisheries in this part of the County are largely confined to the East and West Branches of the Mattawamkeag River, Pleasant and Mattawamkeag Lakes, and a number of smaller brooks and beaver flowages. Smallmouth bass are more widely distributed and available in these same waters, along with a number of other lakes and the mainstem of the Mattawamkeag River.
The Aroostook River is the most prominent geographical feature in the mid-County. It originates at the confluence of Millinocket and Munsungan Streams and flows in a northeasterly direction for about 100 miles before joining the St. John River just beyond the New Brunswick border. The western half of this waterway travels through miles of remote timberland and was covered in the North Maine Woods chapter. Here, we will focus on the section of the Aroostook that drains the forests and farmland located east of the village of Masardis.
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about Aroostook ]
Downeast region has nearly 50 coldwater lakes that provide good fishing
opportunities for salmon, togue, whitefish, splake, brook trout and
brown trout. Detailed descriptions will only be provided for the area’s
two most popular destinations, West Grand and East Grand Lakes. All
other salmonid fisheries will be categorized geographically as either
‘south of Route 9’ or ‘north of Route 9’ and discussed under those
Grand Lake Stream is a 3-mile ribbon of gin-clear water that flows from
the dam at the outlet of West Grand Lake. This well-known fly-fishing
only stream has provided great salmon fishing for generations of
Downeasters. Because of its small size however, Grand Lake Stream isn’t
capable of sustaining a resident population of large salmon. Therefore,
all of the big fish caught here have spent the majority of their lives
feeding on bait fish in the neighboring lakes. Like many other popular
rivers in Maine, salmon here are seasonal migrants that are caught when
they move into the stream to feed on smelts and aquatic insects in the
spring, and to spawn in the fall. What makes Grand Lake Stream special
however, is the size of the watershed that it draws fish from, and the
sheer numbers of salmon that congregate in some of its pools.
ACADIA NATIONAL PARK
of Acadia National Park is located on a glacier-carved slab of rock
called Mount Desert Island that juts 10 miles out into the Atlantic
Ocean. Prior to 1860, this island was inhabited by a small number of
people who earned a living from fishing, lumbering, farming and
shipbuilding. Around that time however, a number of wealthy artists,
journalists and sportsmen began to spend summers here, and extol the
virtues of this beautiful place to the rest of the world. As a result,
by the turn of the century, Bar Harbor contained more than 30 inns and
hotels, and had a national reputation as a summer resort.
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Moosehead Lake is the largest naturally occurring body of freshwater
that is located entirely within the boundaries of one of the continental
United States. Covering over 75,000 acres, it’s nearly a 40-mile boat
ride from Greenville to Northeast Carry. Because of its size, the most
manageable way to discuss the fishing on Moosehead is to outline the
opportunities that are available within a reasonable distance of its
major access points. Anglers will find well-maintained boat launching
facilities that can be reached via paved roads at Greenville Junction
(south-shore), Lily Bay State Park (east-shore) and Rockwood
(west-shore). The less developed north end of the lake can be accessed
from more primitive boat launches at Northeast Carry and the Seboomook
Three of Maine’s finest rivers are associated with Moosehead Lake. All these rivers are fairly short, dam-regulated and accessible from paved roads. The Moose River is the primary inlet and flows into the lake near the village of Rockwood. Another important Moosehead tributary is the Roach River, which enters on the east-side of the lake about 10 miles north of Lily Bay State Park. The upper Kennebec River serves as the lake’s outlet and is located a few miles south of Rockwood on the west shore. It is divided into two branches that are referred to as the East and West Outlets.
Several dozen good trout ponds can be found within 20 miles of Moosehead
Lake. Close to Greenville, four waters that are heavily stocked and
readily accessible are Gravel Pit, Shadow, Sawyer and Prong ponds.
Remote ponds found east of Moosehead Lake between Rt. 11 and the Golden
Road are discussed below. Ponds located west of Moosehead will be
included in the Jackman area.
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The two branches of the upper Kennebec that flow from Moosehead Lake to Indian Pond are referred to as the East and West Outlets and will be discussed in the Moosehead chapter. Fisheries found in the tidal portions of the lower river will be discussed under the ‘Saltwater Fishing’ heading in the chapter on Southern Maine. The middle section of the river from Harris Station Dam to Waterville will be covered here.
BELGRADE LAKES REGION
This region is dominated by large, moderately-developed lakes and is best known for its warm-water fisheries. For many years, bass have been the feature fish in the area; but since northern pike were illegally introduced into the watershed, they have been receiving most of the attention. The first documented report of a northern pike in the Belgrades came from North Pond in 1981. Since then, pike have spread into East, Great, Long and Ingham Ponds, as well as Messalonskee and Cobbosseecontee Lakes. Biologists think that it’s likely that pike will move into other waters in this region as well.
The Dead River has a large watershed that covers over 1,200 square miles of Franklin and Somerset Counties. The North and South Branches rise in the mountains west of Eustis and are separated from the larger main stem of the Dead River by 18,000 acre Flagstaff Lake. Fishing opportunities vary in each of these waters and will be discussed separately.
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Western Lakes and Mountains:
[UPPER] ANDROSCOGGIN RIVER
Upper Andro-An Emerging Fishery
Fifty years ago the Androscoggin River from Berlin, NH to its confluence with the Kennebec was one of the top ten most polluted rivers in the United States. Today, thanks to environmental cleanup by federal, state and municipal agencies, the Upper Androscoggin River is an emerging angling destination. The clean up has allowed the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to implement an aggressive recovery program. Brown trout are liberally stocked-40,000 since 2000. To supplement recovering wild stocks of rainbow trout, the department has stocked an additional 8000 rainbows.
The “Upper Andro” is a large, scenic river with an excellent forage base for brown and rainbow trout. This river has the unique feature of providing fishing for smallmouth bass through the “dog days” of summer in the pools from Bear River to Rumford. Landowners have provided excellent access points to the river and several canoe launches have been built along the 26 mile stretch of river. Says Bill Pierce, Public Relations Representative of the Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, “The Upper Andro has it all-especially for families-beauty, abundant brownies and the vacation activities and hospitality services of Bethel.”
Bethel, located in the center of Maine’s Upper Androscoggin Valley offers a wealth of services for anglers and their families. Services include a variety of accommodations, restaurants, a movie theater, mountain bike park, golf course, canoeing, hiking and bicycle touring, shopping and guide services. Many guide services provide equipment and instruction, fishing expeditions to area lakes, ponds and streams as well as eco-tours and moose safaris. The Upper Andro Anglers Alliance provides a map of the river and listing of area guides and travel facilities. UAAA can be reached at 1-877-275-3363 or on-line at www.upperandro.com
RANGELEY LAKES COMPLEX
The interconnected system of ponds, lakes and streams that make up the Rangeley Lakes Complex occupies more than 75% of the territory in this region. The best way to summarize all of the fishing opportunities is to divide this complex up into three separate drainages and then discuss the details of each of them separately. I will begin with the places that are highest up in the watershed and then work down in elevation to the point where the Rapid River enters Umbagog Lake.
The first white men to see Kennebago Lake were a handful of Civil War deserters from Rangeley who fled northward in December 1862 to avoid being drafted into the Union Army. They survived that winter by hunting and trapping out of a crude shelter that they built in a wind-protected area on the north side of the lake that was subsequently named Skedaddle Cove in their honor. In the years that followed, Kennebago Lake was also discovered by an ever-increasing number of guides and fishermen who made the long trip to get away from the crowds that were beginning to plague them on more accessible waters. Ed Grant was the most well-known and colorful of these Kennebago pioneers and in 1904 he helped to construct a set of sporting camps on the southwest shore of the lake that have remained in continuous operation until today.
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Sebago Lake has long been known for its world-class salmon fishing and
is the focal point of the lakes region. However, unlike the early days,
when anglers would travel from Portland in riverboats on the Cumberland
and Oxford Canal, or arrive at Sebago Lake Station by railroad and
bed-down in area farmhouses for $1 a night, the lake is now surrounded
by paved highways and has more services than it really needs. Thompson,
Kezar, Auburn and a dozen other productive lakes lie within 20 miles of
Sebago’s north shore. And like Sebago, they can be reached by paved
roads and have quite a few camps on them. Despite the ever-increasing
pressure, most waters in this region still provide a quality experience
for southern Maine anglers.
SOUTHERN MAINE RIVERS
There are a number of rivers outside the Sebago Lake drainage that provide good trout fishing. Many of these are seasonal fisheries that rely rather heavily on stocking, but some reliable hatches and good early and late season fly fishing opportunities can be found here.
St. George and Sheepscot
Two of my favorite places to visit in the spring are the St. George and the Sheepscot Rivers. Both are fairly small waters located in the rolling hills east of Augusta. My fondness for these rivers centers around the fact that they produce reliable hatches of Hendricksons which usually begin a couple of days on either side of Mother’s Day. During most years, catching this mid-day hatch provides me with my first glimpse of rising fish. And, after 6-weeks of flinging streamers with a sinking line, getting back to dry fly fishing is always a welcome event.
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The classic image of Maine fishing involves standing alone in a wild river, casting a dry fly to rising trout in fading light, while a moose feeds peacefully in the near-by shallows. A scene like this can be experienced in countless places along the Allagash River, and this is one reason why this place stirs such deep emotions among the people who have been here. The first recorded proposal to protect the Allagash appeared in a Portland Press Herald editorial written by Forrest H. Colby in 1921. But it took until 1966 to approve the legislation that led to the creation of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway and insured that the “natural beauty, character and habitat of this unique area would be preserved forever.” Protection of the waterway was enhanced in 1970 when it was added to the National Wild and Scenic River System. And today, this 92-mile ribbon of river and lakes that winds through the heart of the North Maine Woods stands as a testament to the foresightedness of fishermen and other conservationists who loved this territory long before the generation of present-day users were even born.
Many people who canoe the Allagash are surprised to find that nearly half the trip is comprised of lakes, rather than moving water. In fact, from Telos Landing to Allagash village, there are eight major lakes located directly on the waterway, and another half dozen that are connected to it. Brook trout, togue and whitefish are found in all of these waters and receive lots of attention from anglers in the winter and spring. Angling methods are similar on most of these lakes, so individual write-ups will only be provided for the three most popular ones.
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