October in Maine brings an array of choices to any angler or hunter. Brook trout, woodcock, landlocked salmon, wood ducks, striped bass, black bears, brown trout, wild turkeys, smallmouth bass, white-tailed deer — the list goes on and on. Those who love the outdoors are not limited by the choices, but more so by the number of days.

So this October, make the most of your days afield, and plan your time so you can visit an area where you can both hunt and fish.

Over the past 15 years, we have seen an increase in the number of outstanding trout and salmon waters that have extended fishing seasons. For years, trout and salmon seasons ended abruptly on Sept. 30. Now, every county in the state has waters that are open well into the fall, including some of Maine’s premier waters.

And starting Oct. 1, the ruffed grouse and American woodcock season begins, giving anglers and hunters opportunities to hunt birds in the morning, fish during the midday, then hunt into the evening.

Grouse can be found throughout the state in Maine, and can be found in a variety of habitats that include both softwood- and hardwood-dominated mixed-growth forests. They also inhabit old fields and orchards, as well as hardwood stands.

Woodcock are also found throughout the state, in much of the same habitat as grouse. A woodcock’s primary diet consists of worms, so look for moist soils with alder or dense hardwoods nearby. Fields offer areas for night roosting, as well as food, and young hardwood stands are where they nest.

Grouse and woodcock hunters would be well served to check out forested areas that display a variety of ages. Check out reverting fields where the woods are starting to take over the edges. Also look for stands of alders that border fields. In northern and eastern Maine, utilize areas that have been cut and are starting to revert back.

You are likely to find these areas near favorite fishing spots, and many of these areas are a short drive, or a great place to spend the weekend.

In the western part of the state, you can fish the Androscoggin River year-round. From the New Hampshire border to Rumford Point, there are trophy-size rainbow and brown trout. There are plenty of access points for a canoe, and no shortage of upland bird covers both north and south of Route 2.

If you would like to head a little further north of there, the Dead River in Somerset County offers both brook trout and rainbow trout fishing and a season that extends into November. This area west of The Forks is predominantly a working forest with plenty of areas to hunt.

In the Moosehead area, the East Outlet of Moosehead Lake, which is one of the headwaters of the Kennebec River, offers some fast action for brook trout and landlocked salmon. There is good access to the river both at the dam at the East Outlet and from Route 15. North and west of the East Outlet there are some fantastic opportunities for birds.

And Down East, there are both hunting and fishing opportunities at Grand Lake Stream. The river is open to fishing until Oct. 20, and west of the Grand Lake Stream area are vast tracts of forest that are harvested periodically, offering varied habitats for upland birds.

If you are planning a fall fishing and hunting trip, please consult your law book. Waterways have different regulations, so make sure you know where you are and what the regulations are before wetting a line.

If you are looking for a truly memorable experience, hire an upland bird hunting guide and hunt over experienced bird dogs. A guide will take the guesswork out of where to hunt, and since they will be utilizing dogs, they will put you on birds.

The Maine Professional Guides Association, an organization with a strong code of ethics, has a searchable website where you can find guides in the area you want to hunt and fish.

Make the most of your time in the outdoors this October.

Mark Latti is a former public information officer for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and a Registered Maine Guide. He can be reached at:

[email protected]