SOUTHWESTERN MAINE: Angler’s Bounty
The problem for anglers visiting southwestern Maine isn’t finding great fishing, but rather having to choose just which great fishing you’d like to sample.
Landlocked salmon and lake trout (togue) are Maine traditions, of course, and there’s no more traditional location for these fish than big Sebago Lake. Both salmon and togue anglers have been on a roll here in recent years, with the numbers and average size of both species on the increase. You can also add traditional brook trout fishing to the mix by heading about 70 miles north to the Rangeley region.
Bass are a bonus. The Androscoggin River is probably the best-and most overlooked-smallmouth bass fishery north of Missouri, especially the 28-mile reach from Rumford down to Livermore Falls. The Belgrade Lakes region is often cited for largemouths (and pike), but the countryside is dotted with small warmwater ponds where the largemouth fishing can be even better.
In recent years, Maine’s rugged surf has gained a national reputation for striped bass fishing. This action centers around the lower Kennebec River from Bath southward and the adjacent coastline. But you’ll also find stripers-and fewer anglers-in estuarine portions of the nearby New Meadows, Sheepscot, Damariscotta, Medomak, St. George, and Passagassawakeg rivers.
Best fishing months are May (ice-out) and June for trout and salmon, June through September for stripers, and all summer for warmwater bass.
Tourist traffic often gridlocks U.S. 1 during July and August. A copy of DeLorme’s Maine Atlas will help you find less traveled roads to the fish. For more information, contact the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (207-287-8000; www.state.me.us/ifw).