In the words of state fisheries biologist Tim Obrey, “September is like the playoffs for salmon and trout anglers in Maine.”
At that time, fish begin their annual migration to spawning grounds in rivers and streams, making for some of the best fishing. And when the leaves start changing and the nights grow cool, the pond and lake water starts to mix and the fish feast.
“When you get fall mixing … you get those fish all over again feeding at multiple levels. And it’s so pretty. It’s a wonderful time to get into them,” said Bobby Van Riper, a state fisheries biologist in central Maine.
So with that we offer a more extensive freshwater fishing report this week as we head toward fall.
Many waters close Sept. 30 to protect the spawning fish. And as always, fishermen should consult the fishing law book.
The fall fishing in southern Maine is mostly made great by a fall stocking program that is fairly intensive. With a lack of wild fisheries in this part of the state, biologists boost fishing opportunities through stocking.
Biologist Francis Brautigam with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife offers these tips for stocked waters: Pleasant River in Windham downstream from Route 302; Little Ossipee River in Newfield; the Androscoggin River, especially the section from West Bethel to Gilead; the Presumpscot River; the lower reaches of the Royal River for fun tidal fishing; Mousam River, which gets adult fish dropping over the dam at Mousam Lake; tidal sections of the Ogunquit River in Wells and Salmon Falls in South Berwick; and the Saco River.
Many of the rivers in central Maine get stocked now as well.
Cobbosseecontee Stream fishes well, and a great urban fishing spot is Lower Cobbossee in Gardiner.
“There are wild brook trout running in and out of there,” Van Riper said.
The Lower Kennebec is another key fall fishing spot, as well as the Sheepscot River and the Saint George. The Sheepscot closes at the end of September, while Cobbossee and the Saint George are open year-roud.
Messalonskee Stream is a good year-round fishery that fishes well in fall, Van Riper said. And a fishery few people target is the Ducktrap Stream down low, he said.
“One thing people don’t fish for is the sea-run fish, the brown trout and sea-run brook trout,” Van Riper said.
As water temperatures cool down in the fall, landlocked salmon and brook trout start cruising the shorelines.
IFW biologist Joe Overlock suggests looking for salmon in West Grand Lake in Grand Lake Stream; Cathance Lake in Cathance Township; Long Pond in Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor; and Molasses Pond in Eastbrook.
For brook trout, try Monroe Lake in Township 43 MD; Pineo Pond in Deblois; Upper Hadlock Pond in Mount Desert; and Long Pond in Aurora and Great Pond Plantation.
Some of the most popular fall fishing waters in western Maine are those that support the wild trout populations, but these close on Sept. 30.
Fishermen will gather at Kennebago, Upper Dam Pool and the Megalloway rivers, as well as the Rapid River, said IFW biologist Dave Boucher. Other favorites are the Kennebec River and the Dead River.
However, there are also some stocked fisheries that provide great fall fishing. The yearling brook trout are 12 to 15 inches and spread around the region from the middle of September to the middle of October. The South Branch of the Dead River and the Sandy River from Phillips down to the Kennebec confluence are two notable waters where the stocking occurs. Also the Kennebec River from Solon down, and the Big Eddy on the Dead River.
MOOSEHEAD LAKE REGION
The Roach River is one of Moosehead Lake’s primary spawning tributaries for wild fish. To protect the fish, the river closes to fishing on Sept. 30 — but until then it offers great action.
At the Roach River, the flow is controlled by the dam owned by IFW on First Roach Pond. In a typical year, the gates are opened around Labor Day to attract wild brook trout and salmon into the river. If water is available, another increase in flow can be expected in mid-September, Obrey said.
There are a handful of pools in the upper section of the Roach, but most of the fishing is in pocket water along the river. There are access points near the dam and a few trails on the north side.
On the other side of Moosehead, the East Outlet of the Kennebec River originates and flows into Indian Pond. In fall, salmon from both lakes enter this section of river. IFW also stocks brook trout in the East Outlet, and the action is very good, Obrey said.
The river is open through October, and the uppermost section is open year-round.
Some of the most fun fall fisheries in the eastern part of the state are the kids’ ponds, including Lincoln Kids’ Pond in Lincoln, Jerry Pond in Millinocket, Pickerel Pond in Township 32 MD; Milo Farm Pond in Milo.
IFW biologist Nels Kramer also suggests a handful of waters open through September for all fishermen, like Smith Pond in Millinocket; Little Round Pond, Upper Pond and Upper Cold Stream Pond in Lincoln; Cold Stream Pond in Enfield; Weird Pond and Silver Lake in Lee; Mud Pond in Old Town; and Molunkus Lake in Molunkus Township.
The best wild fisheries are the lakes open through September: the East Branch and West Branch of the Penobscot River; Sourdnahunk Stream; Trout Brook; Webster Stream; and Seboeis River.
Some biologists are tight-lipped on where the fishing is good, and none more than Regional IFW David Basley in Ashland when it comes to spawning wild brook trout.
But Basley offered these waters in The County for fun fall fishing in September: Upper Elbow Pond west of Ashland and Square Lake in Township 16, Range 5 Wells. And most rivers will offer great fall trout fishing, especially after the wet summer in the north country.
“It’s been a great wet summer. I even had a frog jump across my lawn when I was mowing it in the heat of the afternoon,” Basley said.
Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at: