As we move into the heat of the summer, freshwater fishing Maine can become more challenging.
Warmer water means many species such as brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout and landlocked salmon are going to be moving into cooler and sometimes faster moving water.
That puts the onus on anglers to employ more tactics designed to more effectively target fish in those areas.
Luckily, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has a collection of biologists and technicians who have specialized knowledge about fisheries in their areas of the state.
Here, we’re sharing with you the latest fishing reports provided by DIF&W in the hope of helping you enjoy some productive fishing this month.
From Fisheries Resource Technician Brian Campbell: Summer is officially here, even though things have been rather cool for the most part. The cooler temps have been great for the coldwater fish species that inhabit the marginal waters around the state. The black flies have subsided, and the brook trout are hungry. The combination of the summer temps, cooler water and subsiding of biting insects is great news for the avid angler.
Most brooks and streams are still holding some nice brook trout. Both native and stocked depending on the body of water you are fishing. If you are interested in waters that are stocked, you can check out waters stocked on the DIF&W website. All stocked Maine bodies of water are listed by county showing date stocked, numbers of fish and size range of the stocked fish.
Middle Oxhead (T40 MD) is one such pond. It has easy access and is quite remote. This brook trout-stocked water has canoe carry access and great fishing opportunity from shore. There are several nice camp sites along the lake as well.
If you are looking for native brook trout, the Penobscot Region has many brook trout waters. Waters like B Pond (TB R11 WELS) and Lost Pond (T7 R7 WELS) are best fished with a small boat or canoe. If you happen to be looking in the Baxter Park area this would be a great opportunity to hike in and rent a canoe and have a great wilderness fishing trip. For more information about what the park has to offer you can contact Baxter Park Headquarters at 207-723-5140.
The DIF&W web page contains some great information and suggestions for the avid Maine angler. If you have not checked out this page, might I suggest you do so. I can guarantee you will find information that will help you on your next angling adventure.
For some great smallmouth bass fishing, the Penobscot River is the place to go. We have been getting some great reports of fast angling for these feisty fish. One local angler was bass fishing the Penobscot in the Greenbush area. He noticed that the two bass he kept for dinner were still gravid with eggs. Generally, at this time of year they are on the nests protecting their eggs. He also noted that the fishing was fantastic for the smallmouth bass.
From Fisheries Resource Supervisor Tim Obrey: July and August are not thought of as great months for trout and salmon fishing, but here are a few tricks/tips that could help you. The fish are still there, just down deeper and not as active. You’ll have to get down to their level. Salmon and brook trout like to hang out at the top of the thermocline, that area in deeper lakes where the water remains cold.
For bigger lakes like Moosehead, Chesuncook, Sebec and Chamberlain lakes, that usually means you need to be fishing in the 35-to-50-foot range in the summer. Lake trout like that range too but can often be found deeper. However, the very deepest water, say in excess of 90 feet, is where the small lake trout usually hang out. You don’t need to go this deep.
Smaller ponds with deep water (greater than 25 feet) also stratify in the summer, but most of these ponds are void of oxygen in the deepest areas and the fish can’t survive there. Don’t waste your time fishing the deep hole. For smaller trout ponds try fishing in the 12-to-15-foot range. A thermometer with a cable is the best way to locate the thermocline. Lower it down the water column and watch for the temperature to drop. That’s the depth to start fishing.
July and August are perfect for taking a family fishing/canoe trip. The pesky bugs have receded, and the weather is great for outdoor activities. Of course, the Allagash River is the quintessential Maine canoe trip. The friendly folks at the Allagash Wilderness Waterway do an excellent job managing the river and lakes in the Waterway. The campsites are immaculate and there always seems to be a good flow in the river.
We see a lot of trippers heading up Chamberlain Lake on the beginning of their journey. The Penobscot River between Lobster and Chesuncook Lakes is another good option if you’re looking for a less challenging paddle. The Bureau of Public Lands manages this area and there are plenty of nice campsites on the river and the lakes. The trout fishing might not be at its peak, but the perch and chubs will keep the kids occupied until it’s time to cook the smores.
Grand Lake Region
From Fisheries Resource Supervisor Greg Burr: Summertime fishing is here! Great opportunities abound in Down East Maine for warm weather fishing. This is the best time of year to fish for warm water species such as perch, bass and pickerel. For white perch we highly recommend the following waters: Abrams Pond in Eastbrook, Georges Pond in Franklin, Big Lake in Princeton, Meddybemps Lake in Meddybemps and Second Gardner’s Lake in Marion.
For smallmouth bass we recommend Branch Lake in Ellsworth, Abrams Pond in Eastbrook, Clifford Lake in T 26 ED, Meddybemps Lake in Meddybemps and Big Lake in Princeton. For largemouth bass some of the best places to go are Alamoosook Lake in Orland, Toddy Pond in Orland, Webb Pond in Eastbrook, Crawford Lake in Crawford and Pocomoonshine Lake in Alexander.
For chain pickerel we recommend Scammon Pond in Eastbrook and Fields Pond in Orrington.
For bank fishing opportunities we suggest Mariaville Falls on the West Branch of the Union River for smallmouth bass, Simmons Pond in Hancock for brook trout and the Grand Lake Stream Canal (kids-only water) for brook trout for the kids.
Fishing tip: A fishing tip for white perch is to troll a worm behind a spinner. Once you catch your first white perch by trolling, stop and still fish in that spot continuing to use a worm and spinner under a bobber or live minnow with a bobber.
Reminder: Remember to always check your lawbook before fishing the above waters as special regulations may apply.
Fish River Lakes Region
From Fisheries Resource Supervisor Frank Frost: Cooler than normal weather and lots of rain recently has resulted in some great fishing conditions in northern Maine. Northern Maine has experienced two summers of drought conditions but the trend in 2022 is for cool, wet conditions; the small brooks and streams have suffered from the dry, hot conditions the past two years but ponds and lakes are experiencing some great trout fishing. Now, trout ponds are prime for the upcoming hex hatch while the large lakes are still experiencing top-water action for salmon and trout.
Some waters to try the next two months:
Cross Lake — trout and salmon can still be found in this 2,500-acre lake; anglers are not targeting invasive white perch that were first reported in 2017. A great place to fish from shore is the public landing off Route 161 and the Disy Road.
Square Lake — our largest lake in northern Aroostook County, Square is best known for its excellent brook trout fishing; the hex hatch can be excellent for those looking for a place in early July.
Eagle Lake — an abundant salmon population and a liberal bag limit (see rule book) draws anglers to this northern Maine lake that boasts more than 5,500 acres and a large parcel of public land on the East end of the lake. Salmon will still be found in the top 10 feet of water in early July and catching them is the topic of this month’s fishing tip.
Fishing Tip: Catching salmon at the surface requires minimal gear. Try using a medium-weight rod, a silver dodger followed by a 16-inch leader and fly of your choice. Try a small, single-hook pattern (Grey Ghost, Wood Special, etc.) and troll at speeds of 2-2.5 mph. Also, there is a liberal bag limit on many waters including Eagle Lake so please consider harvesting your catch.