The impending changing of the seasons likely bodes well for anglers who want to target their preferred species during September, according to biologists with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
Dropping temperatures mean cooler water in lakes, ponds and streams, and that can cause fish such as salmon and brook trout to become more active as they get ready for spawning.
Many species also will be closer to the surface of the water and also may be moving in closer to the shore.
However, anglers also must make themselves aware of some law changes that go into effect at this time of year and should consult their law book.
Here are the latest fishing reports from DIF&W.
From Fisheries Resource Supervisor Tim Obrey:
The drought conditions were washed away this month in the Moosehead Lake area. We received a cool 4 inches of rain during the second week of August. That really bumped up lake elevations and produced some high flows in our streams and rivers. It’s welcome news for our trout ponds and streams. It should also help with the September flows for our river fisheries for salmon and brook trout.
We typically see the fall drawdowns on our impoundments begin after Labor Day, which is the traditional end of the summer recreational season. We will begin our fall drawdown at Lower Wilson Pond starting on Sept 6. The speed at which the lake drops will depend on rainfall during the drawdown. Camp owners take note, if you have boats in the water.
First Roach Pond is full, so this year we will crack a gate on Sept. 1 to give the river anglers an extra weekend of fishing, and it shouldn’t impact lake elevations too much. Anglers can expect a flow in the 200–250 cubic feet per second range on the Roach River in September.
Brookfield has earthwork scheduled at the Brassua Dam, which will require an early drawdown at Brassua Lake. They hope to have the lake down several feet by mid-September. That’s good news for anglers in the Moose River. We are seeing higher flows right now and that will continue through September. This will attract brookies and salmon into the river.
At the same time, Brookfield will also have to begin the fall drawdown on Moosehead Lake. What comes in, must go out. The higher flows coming from the Moose River will be passed downstream via the East Outlet dam, so look for higher flows there as well.
The recent rain has given us a little more water than in past years at Seboomook Lake. It looks like we will have a discharge of 850 cubic feet per second to start September in the West Branch below Seboomook Lake. We typically like a flow of 750 cubic feet per second or more. It gets tough to travel around Big Island or upstream through some of the gravel bars when the flow is lower. There were some nice fish in Chesuncook Lake this spring, so hopefully that will translate into some good Fox Hole fishing this September.
We should have a little more water in Dole Pond this fall compared to past years. We typically take stock of the available water storage at the beginning of September and calculate how many days we can sustain a higher flow. We adjust the start date to make sure there is ample water to provide flow in the North Branch to the end of September.
You can always check the flow page maintained by Brookfield for specific day to day flow information.
You can get the current flow on the Roach River by calling 207-695-4143.
From Fisheries Resource Supervisor Kevin Dunham:
Where to fish: The cooler night temperatures of September should bring water temperatures down considerably, which bodes well for late-season fishing. If it’s late-season landlocked salmon you’re after, a good water to try is Duck Lake in T4 ND. This is a water we stock annually with fall-fingerling brook trout and spring yearling salmon. During a recent sampling at Duck Lake we handled several salmon in the 14- to 16-inch range, with a few others approaching 20 inches. Nicatous Lake in T40 MD is stocked with splake each spring and fall, thus making it a popular destination for those seeking to catch one of these unique coldwater game fish. If brook trout is more your liking, Upper Cold Stream Pond in Lincoln should be considered later in the month as water temperatures cool and fish become more active closer to shore.
Fishing tip: Cooler water temperatures in September trigger many fish, especially salmonids such as trout and salmon, to increase activity and expand their range in preparation for spawning. Not only are the decreasing water temperatures bringing fish closer to the surface, but fish readying for spawning will begin moving into shallower water as well. For salmonids try fishing in shallower than normal water as well as closer to shore than usual during sunrise and sunset and you may just catch more fish.
Reminder: Part of your fall fishing planning should include becoming familiar with DIF&W fishing laws, available online here. Many waters have special regulations in the fall for extended-season action. Though most are catch-and-release only beginning in October, some do allow for late season harvest. Rivers, streams and brooks also have special regulations beginning mid-August. It’s best to know before you go. The map-based display of special fishing laws, FLOAT, is a great tool to see which waters have special fishing laws.
Fish River Lakes Region
From Fisheries Resource Supervisor Frank Frost:
Northern Maine is experiencing a wet summer in stark contrast to the past two years of drought and oftentimes severe drought as was the case in 2020. Since snowmelt in May we have experienced periodic rainfall that has kept lakes, ponds and rivers higher than normal. The flowing waters of the region will benefit greatly from the increased flows this summer and should result in the rebound of brook trout populations across northern Maine. This month would be a great time to focus on your favorite brook, river or stream or venture out to a new water. We have 7,000 miles of flowing water in the administrative region centered around Ashland so opportunity abounds.
Here is a list and description of flowing waters you may try:
1. Aroostook River, Caribou and Fort Fairfield: brook trout and landlocked salmon; there are numerous access points in both towns.
2. Fish River, Eagle Lake, Wallagrass and Fort Kent: brook trout and landlocked salmon; walk-in access to Fish River Falls off Airport Road; public boat launch at Soldier Pond, Wallagrass; numerous private access points (make sure to receive permission prior to fishing).
Meduxnekeag River, Houlton and Littleton: brook trout and brown trout; public access can be found at road crossings near bridges.
Fishing tip: Begin your trip by focusing effort on confluences with tributaries then work up and downstream in search of holding pools. Depending on weather and flow conditions, trout and salmon will either be close to the cooler inlets or more spread out when conditions are favorable. Large, brightly colored fly patterns and lure choices oftentimes work best in September.
Reminder: Fishing rules changed on flowing waters in northern Maine on Aug. 16; terminal gear is restricted to artificial lures only with a daily bag limit of one fish on salmon and one fish on brook trout (check the rulebook for the specific water you want to fish).
Grand Lake Region
From Fisheries Resource Supervisor Greg Burr:
Where to fish: September is the month when surface waters start to cool down to the point where trout and salmon return to the shallows. Because of this I recommend fishing the many small trout ponds Down East. Here are some ponds I recommend: West Pike Brook Pond in Deblois, Pineo Pond in Deblois, Upper Hadlock Pond in Northeast Harbor, Halfmile Pond in Aurora, Little Pond in Franklin, Simmons Pond in Hancock and Jellison Hill Pond in Amherst.
As for landlocked salmon lakes in September, here are ones that I would target: West Grand Lake in Grand Lake Stream, Beech Hill Pond in Otis, Green Lake in Ellsworth, Cathance Lake in Cooper and Long Pond in Mount Desert.
Also, don’t forget to fish for white perch in September. These delicious panfish are still schooled up this month. Here are some lakes to try: Big Lake in Princeton, Grand Falls Flowage in Princeton, Second Gardner’s Lake in Marion, Abrams Pond in Eastbrook (check with your local biologists on how to get on this pond) and Third Toddy Pond in Surry.
Fishing tip: My fishing tip this month is that brook trout are attracted to bright colored lures in the fall such as fluorescent orange and chartreuse Rapalas (size No. 5).
Reminder: Remember that the trout and salmon fishing will get better and better as it gets later in the month.