NONESUCH RIVER — Mike Giroux of Scarborough, a saltwater fisherman of 24 years, is a fish-crazed man with little free time. So when Giroux goes striper fishing, he has to make it count.

Giroux is a father of three and has been married to Jill Giroux for 20 years. His tile business sends him around southern Maine and beyond; on top of that, he works part-time in the summer at a tackle shop, where he ties flies commercially.

Despite his many commitments, Giroux, a Scarborough native, fishes as often as he can, in all seasons and in all weather. And come striper season, Giroux pays special attention to the sea-run fish that are a favorite among recreational fishermen. He catches a lot, at times as many as 50 bass in an hour.

In mid-May, right after the stripers arrived, Giroux knew where to be. He got to one of his many favorite spots an hour before the changing tide – and the other fishermen.

“If you’re not first, you’re last,” Giroux said, quoting from his favorite Will Ferrell movie, “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” (which also happens to be my favorite, so I knew I’d like this guy).

Giroux makes a point of releasing every striper he catches, because while he loves to eat fresh fish, he’s noted the steady decline in the species over the past two decades.


“If I kept fish every day, I’d make an impact,” he said. “This is the furthest north the fish go. When they get here, they’re tired and hungry. I want to help the population.”

Striped bass are generally found in Maine between mid-May and early October, then they migrate south. Except in rivers with special regulations, it’s legal to fish for them here year round. They are an anadromous fish, migrating between salt and fresh water to spawn, which is one reason the mouths of rivers are such a good place to fish for them. Such spots are one of Giroux’s favorite target areas.

While Giroux repeatedly cast into the Nonesuch River one weekday in May, he helped us put together a list of a dozen go-to striper fishing spots in southern Maine. Access and parking along the southern coast can be a challenge. So we got the skinny on parking, too.

These are spots for those new to Maine, new to the sport, or just looking for a new honey hole. Here’s our list – compliments of Giroux – moving north from York County to just beyond Portland.

Mike Giroux fishes for stripers at Ferry Beach. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Parsons Beach, Kennebunk: Before the striped bass population in Maine began to decline 10 to 15 years ago, fishermen would line up in great numbers here at the mouth of the Mousam River. Parsons is a private beach that allows public access, but parking is limited. Today, if you manage to beat others to the mouth of the Mousam, you’ll stand at what can feel like the stripers’ favorite restaurant in Maine. The Mousam runs through protected National Wildlife Refuge land, which offers ample insect life and bait fish. Parking: No cost, very limited. Do not double park.

Colony Beach, Kennebunkport: Giroux raves about a particular kind of habitat that’s found at the mouth of rivers, such as at the mouth of the Kennebunk River just below this small rock jetty at Colony Beach, also called Arundel Beach.


“Sand and rocks. Where there’s sand and rocks, there’s bass,” he said. “Hit the outgoing tide at river mouths. That’s the best target zone.”

Another thing you often find at the mouth of the Kennebunk? A local fisherman with a line in the water. And the locals always know the good spots. Parking: Small lot off Ocean Avenue. No permit needed.

Little River, Biddeford: The mouth of this river can be bubbling over with fish at the turning tide, especially if that coincides with sunrise or sunset. But since resident parking permits are needed along Goose Rocks Beach, it can seem inaccessible. The best option is to get on the river via Timber Point, a nature preserve owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The preserve offers a double bonus: Access to the Little River and its fiesta of fishing, and then at low tide, a sandbar to the rocky ledges of 13-acre Timber Island, another excellent spot to fish for stripers. Parking: Limited parking at the end of Granite Point Road.

Biddeford Pool beach, Biddeford: Because Biddeford Pool peninsula sticks out into the ocean, there are ample opportunities to hook a striper as it swims by the giant, jumbled boulders along the coastline. Park at the town beach and find one of the natural piers. Just mind your footing at high tide. Parking: Town permits are required. Nonresidents of Biddeford can pay $20 for one day at the Gilbert R. Boucher Memorial Park lot.

Hills Beach, Biddeford: This spot is famous among the students at the University of New England, and why not? They live right up the road. But don’t look for parking on campus. It’s best to arrive early to search along Hills Beach Road, where signs allow. The parking is the hard part here. The fishing is easy. The fish are heading to the mouth of the Saco River, which is right next door, and “has everything to do with why Hills Beach is so good,” Giroux said. If you strike out with parking, you could always head back up Hills Beach Road and grab one of the much-loved breakfast sandwiches at Sea Star Market before trying your luck again. Parking: Very limited street parking.

Pine Point Beach jetty, Scarborough: We’re skipping over the Camp Ellis jetty because it’s predictable. Hit the next jetty up the coast, where it’s less crowded. At Pine Point Beach, you’ll find multiple platforms to fish from: the stone jetty at the turning tide and the sandbar below at low tide. The mouth of the Nonesuch, which runs up through the Scarborough Marsh, is another favorite striper feeding spot. Parking: Town lot on King Street, $10.


Clay Pits Road Boat Launch, Scarborough: This is just one of many fishing spots that access the Nonesuch River, which runs through the state-owned, 3,000-acre Scarborough Marsh, a veritable playground for stripers. The marsh is rich with bug life and bait fish, not to mention birds foraging for both. This meandering river is worth exploring in several places. Parking: Very limited at the boat launch. Free.

Eastern Trail, Scarborough: One last pitch for the Nonesuch River. The Eastern Trail’s bike-and-pedestrian path runs over it here via a bridge, and that bridge offers easy fishing for children and people with mobility challenges. There’s also a footpath that leads down to the Scarborough Marsh and the river’s bank, as well as its serpentine path through the marsh beyond. Parking: Lot off Pine Point Road. Free.

Mike Giroux gets ready to tie a fly to his fishing line. The avid striper fisherman has chased the species along the Maine coast for more than two decades. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Higgins Beach, Scarborough: Another beach, another river mouth. Giroux would be hard-pressed to say which river mouth is his favorite, but the Spurwink’s is definitely right up there. Once the stripers get around Prouts Neck peninsula, they’re looking for the next big meal at this river – or in the bucktail jig on your line.

“There’s some phenomenal (rock and sand) structure here. It’s a highly productive area,” Giroux said of Higgins Beach, where he once caught “doubles” on each of 19 casts.

Parking: Town lot on Ocean Avenue, $10. There’s also some street parking on Bayview Avenue. It’s a good walk to the mouth of the Spurwink, and fishermen need to watch for nesting piping plovers, an endangered shorebird.

Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse, South Portland: This spot can be tricky for striper fishing, Giroux said, chiefly because the water is deep. The benefit, he added, is the bait fish – chiefly mackerel – that are easy to hook here. Catch some fresh mackerel to lure the stripers and then increase your chances of hooking one. Parking: Very limited public lot near the lighthouse, at the end of Fort Road, through the Southern Maine Community College campus. Free, but do not park on the grass.

Mackworth Island, Falmouth: The island is home to the Governor Baxter School for the Deaf and a woods trail maintained by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands. The park is staffed from 9 a.m. until dusk, but the gate is open early in the morning, and people can access the island as long as they pay the entrance fee at the iron ranger. When the park staff began to open the gate in the morning, striper fishermen took notice. The 100-acre island sits at the mouth of the Presumpscot, another major river and truly a boulevard for stripers. The island has several fishing vantage points, including pocket beaches and a large stone pier. Parking: Limited, about a dozen spots. Entry fee is $3 for adults; $4 for nonresidents of Maine.

Cousins Island, Yarmouth: This spot can involve some scrambling but also may be less crowded than others. Try fishing under the bridge during the last two hours of the falling tide, until the mud flats push you out into deeper water. Then you’ll need to wade far out. Parking: A public lot is on the other side of the bridge at Sandy Point Beach. Free.

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