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Fishing in Maine

Tracewski Fishing Adventures

Maine offers a variety of water ways, ranging from lakes, ponds and streams. We invite you to explore the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife web site if you are interested in obtaining information on fishing licenses and/or regulations. Stop back here and visit one of our fishing guides to plan your next trip.


Fishing tips on each region of Maine: [please see below]

Ice Fishing in Maine [Click here ]

Obtaining a fishing license: [Click here ]

Email questions: [Click here]


ice fishing in maineThere is very little to debate when it comes to ice fishing; people either love it or hate it. But in states like Maine, there is a long tradition of ice fishing, and many people that ice fish can't wait for winter to come so they can get on the ice and enjoy this sport.But if you’re new to ice fishing in Maine, it is important to get an understanding for what this sport is all about before charging out on the ice. This article will cover the basics of starting out in ice fishing. Who knows, you may even find out that you love the adventure of getting out and catching some big Maine fish.

The first rule of ice fishing is somewhat obvious, but it cannot be overstated enough. Always make certain that the ice your fishing on is safe. A good rule to follow is to wait until there is a minimum of 6 inches of ice on a lake or pond before attempting to fish on it. There are also different types of ice, and it would be wise to get familiar with all of them before heading out.

"Black ice," is a name given to ice that is mostly clear, and contains only air bubbles thoughout it. Black ice is considered to be more safe than the deceivingly-named, "white ice," which is not as clear, and contains melted snow that has been re-frozen over and over. In general, ice fishing beginners should stay away from white ice.

Another good rule is to always test the ice before setting up and fishing. You can often test the ice by the shore, you should drill a couple of holes in the ice close to the shore where the water is not as deep. This will help you to get a good idea of how much ice there is and the quality of it. Another good idea is to ask other fishermen about the quality of the ice and its thickness.

When choosing a spot to fish, you should look at getting some ice fishing access maps that can be available online for lakes and ponds in Maine. These will help to give you a better  idea of the depth of a pond or lake that you intend to fish, and hep suggest locations to set up your base camp for fishing. It's also good to note that you need not go out into deep water to catch fish. Many experienced ice fishermen rarely risk going out beyond 6 or 7 feet deep. As a first timer, it is a good idea to stay closer to the shore anyways, and you can be confident that it is just as easy to catch some fish.

Another rule of ice fishing is to never go ice fishing on your own. You should always take a friend when you venture out to go ice fishing. This is important for safety reasons, and it can also make your entire experience much more enjoyable. Another good idea is to let your family or friends know where you will be fishing and at what time you plan to be done.

Ice fishing in Maine can be a great winter pastime, and a way to pass those long, dark winter evenings, but remember, when it comes to ice fishing, safety should always come first.


  • Allagash Guide, Inc.:
    Join us on guided canoeing, fishing, and camping expeditions on rivers and lakes in Maine and Canada.
  • Bear Creek Lodge:
     The vast Northeastern Wilderness area, which surrounds the lodge, hails an abundance of lakes, ponds, streams and rivers with excellent fishing.
  • Birchwood Cottages and Guide Service:
    Offers many other great attractions, such as Bass Fishing, White Perch Fishing in Jackson Brook Lake and many nearby Lakes.
  • Camps on Wilson Pond:
    Anglers find great pleasure in casting their lines into the crystal clear water's of both Lower and Upper Wilson Pond.  Lake trout (togue), brook trout, and salmon can be found in both of these pristine bodies of water.
  • Nahmakanta Lake Camps:
    Nahmakanta is a pristine, spring-fed, four mile long wilderness lake surrounded by the wildest country remaining in the East. Perfect for your hunting excursion.
  • Northeast Guide Service:
    Drift Boat Fishing, Whitewater Rafting, Kayaking, Overnight Trips, & Canoeing Trips & Instructional Clinics on the Kennebec, Dead, & Penobscot Rivers.
  • North American Outdoor Adventure:
    From big game to fowl, our lodge is your doorstep to the north Maine woods. Access to hunts by foot, ATV or drive.
  • Northern Outdoors Adventure Resort: 
    Offers fully guided multi-day fishing packages to some of the finest smallmouth bass fisheries in the world.
  • Rideout's Lodge:
    Maine’s premier Fishing Lodge for 52 years, we are nationally recognized for exceptional landlocked salmon and smallmouth bass fishing. Also specializing in delightful family vacations, canoe trips, kayaking and fine dining.
  • Rising Sun Outfitters:
    A year round outfitter providing the finest in fishing, and outdoor adventures in Downeast, Rangelely and the Northwoods.
  • Robinson's Cottages:
    Log cottages, field stone fire places, all conveniences 2 miles from Cobscook Bay and are the only sporting and recreational cottages on a "Class A" Atlantic Salmon river in the United States.
  • Rocky Ridge Guide Service:
    You can enjoy fishing on Sebago Lake, Kezar Lake and many other lakes and ponds throughout Southern, Central and Western Maine for Salmon, Lake Trout and Small and Large Mouth Bass.
  • Sea Ventures Charters:
    Specializing in Dive Trips, Shark Cage Trips, Sport Fishing, and Island Cruises. Powerboat delivery services throughout the US East Coast. 
  • South Branch Lake Camps: 
    We offer three housekeeping cabins of log construction and six american plan cabins. The camp is bordered on three sides by the crystal clear waters of South Branch Lake.
  • Sunrise International:
     Respected nationwide for combining the best elements of traditional northern guiding and canoemanship. Sunrise is a traditional eastern Maine guiding outfit.
  • Tracewski Fishing Adventures 
    Kevin Tracewski is the author of the best-selling book A Fisherman’s Guide to Maine. Tracewski Fishing Adventures provides anglers with services that range from guided trips and vacation planning to a fly fishing school and casting lessons.
  • Wilsons on Moosehead Lake:
    The lake and river are the natural breeding grounds for trout and salmon, and the dam is the gateway through which thousands of these fish pass. 


  • Tracewski Fishing Adventures 
    Kevin Tracewski is the author of the best-selling book A Fisherman’s Guide to Maine. Tracewski Fishing Adventures provides anglers with services that range from guided trips and vacation planning to a fly fishing school and casting lessons.

Fishing Maine lakes with descriptions of the types of fish are listed below. Information below was provided by A Fisherman's Guide to Maine.

REMEMBER TO ALWAYS SEEK PERMISSION ... before engaging in any form of outdoor recreation on property which belongs to someone else.

Fishing tips on each region of Maine


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 .aroostookfishing

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.
 [Click here for more information about Aroostook ]


The 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 headings.

fishinggrandlakestreamGrand 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.

The majority 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.
[Click here for more information about Penobscot ]

Tracewski Fishing Adventures


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 Campground.

RIVERS ice fishing maine
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.
[Click here for more information about Moosehead ]


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.

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.
[Click here for more information about Kennebec ]

Western Lakes and Mountains:     


Upper Andro-An Emerging Fishery fishingandroscogginFifty 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

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.


Kennebago Lake fishingrangeleymaineThe 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.
[Click here for more information about Western Lakes & Mountains ]

South Coast:

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 fishing 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.
[Click here for more information about South Coast ]

Tracewski Fishing Adventures


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.
[Click here for more information about North Woods ]

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