Although famous for its seafood, the ocean is certainly not the only place in Maine where it is possible to catch a fish. The most northerly and easterly point of New England, the state of Maine has a great deal to offer when it comes to freshwater fly fishing. This region is known for its picturesque setting, and Maine is certainly no exception to that, with rolling low mountains, a dramatic coastline of jagged rocks, and an interior comprised of forests and pristine waterways. If you’re looking to embark on a fly fishing adventure to Maine, you certainly won’t be disappointed, but you may be spoiled for choice. Here are some of the must visit spots in Maine for any traveling fly angler.
Located in southern central Maine, the Kennebec River is a 170 mile stretch originating from Moosehead Lake, which is often fondly referred to as the heart of Maine. That makes the Kennebec River a very important artery, and one that can provide any visiting angler with some fantastic fly fishing. One of the best stretches of the Kennebec River is East Outlet, which is a short (under 4 mile) stretch, home to landlocked salmon and brook trout that will fight until they have nothing left. As well as the incredible fishing, this stretch takes you through beautiful forests to ensure that your adrenaline rush is balanced by a feeling of peace and tranquility. The Solon section of the Kennebec is another highly productive area, and home to the best brown trout population found on the river. This is a great section of the river to float, is around 7 miles long, and can be reached in under two hours from Portland, making it the perfect fly fishing day trip adventure.
As the name suggests, the Pleasant River is located amongst gorgeous scenery and offers a tranquil, relaxing and exciting fly fishing experience. Although this stream is relatively short, it manages to leave an impression that will last substantially longer. The scenery that you will experience on the Pleasant River is made even better by the fact that it is in no way difficult to access – simply a short drive from Portland you can feel as though you are in complete and utter remote wilderness. Of course, its proximity to the city means that the river can become somewhat crowded, particularly just after it has been stocked. That said, it is a small price to pay given that you can enjoy fantastic fishing for brook and brown trout in such a convenient location. Pleasant River is only open for fishing from April 1st to November 30th, and it is a strictly catch and release river.
Some of the most exciting fly fishing in Maine can be found on this majestic river running through central south of the state. In particular, the west branch of the Penobscot offers 11 miles from Ripogenus Dam to the Abol Bridge where some serious entertainment can be found. This stretch has everything – fast rapids, deep pools, long, bubbling runs, as well as a very happy and healthy population of brook trout and wild, landlocked salmon. While the rapids and surprisingly deep pools certainly make the fishing exciting, they mean that wading this river is virtually impossible, and the best way to fish the west branch of the Penboscot is from a driftboat or inflatable raft. Although fishing on the Penobscot is permitted after April 1st, better results are generally seen later in the season, as the water temperature starts to warm up a little. That said, early season fishing on the Penboscot can be exciting, and you never know when you’ll feel the hit of a big salmon that’s just found its appetite after a long winter.
If you have other great fly fishing spots that you would add to the list, connect with me on Facebook or Twitter and let me know your thoughts. I would be happy to recommend them if they are good areas and not too tourist-y.