Fishing The Backwaters & Lakes Of Aroostook by Bill Graves
Summer fishing is so dependable throughout Aroostook County that area anglers select waterways for weekly outing not by the fish to be caught, but by the new territory to be visited and explored. As good as the last trip was, this week's may offer bigger trout and better action, and next week may provide the trophy of a lifetime from a seldom visited waterway. Aroostook angling can be a never-ending adventure for fishermen willing to explore rather than settle for the stream next door.
Rivers, streams, brooks and creeks abound near every town and village, so a trip into the wilderness isn't necessary to find relatively secluded fishing. Easy access on good roads will allow vacationers to locate wading waters near any community they're visiting. Field roads and farm paths will help anglers get away from the easy to reach, heavily fished runs, and enjoy new stretches where fighting fish abound. Even youngsters and novices will catch fish while pioneering new waters and woodlands with no fear of becoming lost thanks to the myriad of roads.
Anyone spending time near the top of the state will want to spend a few hours casting along the Fish River. Winding its way from Fish Rive Lake through many miles of scenic county into and out of Portage Lake, St. Froid Lake and Eagle Lake, and finally dumping into the St. John River, this waterway offers wonderful salmon and trout fishing. The portion of river between Soldier Pond and Fort Kent Mills will be prime during June and July for lures and flies.
Below the bridge at Fort Kent Mills are several islands interconnected with ledges and large rocks where salmon and brook trout hold to enjoy the shade and cool water from a spring. The pools can be approached from either side of the river although the banks are steep, and a gravel bottom allows safe wading.
Upriver is another active pool that lies beside, and can be reached through, the small municipal airfield. This long run of current into a deep hole always holds some large fish. The most productive summer pool is below the Fish River Falls. Plenty of space to park on the nearby road and lots of room to cast makes this a popular area, but seldom is it overcrowded. Three-pound fish aren't at all uncommon from the heavy runs.
Kids can cast worms from shore with some success on any ofthese pools, and lures such as silver Super Dupers and floating Rapalas in black and brook trout colors will draw strikes. Streamer flies with fairly long wings that flow well in the current are dependable. A size 8 or 10 long shank gray ghost, Umbagog smelt, or black and white streamer will catch salmon and trout.
The Aroostook River is another long meandering waterway that offers promising trout fishing to wading anglers from its headwaters above Oxbow to the Canadian border. Masardis, Ashland, Washburn, Presque Isle, Caribou, and Fort Fairfield all offer easy to reach fishing holes for residents or visitors to enjoy. For more remote casting opportunities use one of the many secondary roads that parallel the river.
Use the Parson Road or Route 164 to reach pools between Washburn and Presque Isle, where trout school up at deep holes and creek inlets. Clayton and Kennard Brooks run in around the island above Crouseville and hold trout all summer. Pettingill and Bulls Brook enter the river near Bull's gravel pit and this long stretch is great dry fly fishing in the evening.
Dry flies during the early morning and evening, and dark-colored wet flies during the day are sure to draw strikes from several pools right in the city of Caribou. Use the Old River Road and the abandoned railroad tracks to reach the upper portion of the river and then wade back to the parking area. When summer rains raise the water levels, revert to brightly-colored streamer flies, or silver and bronze lures if you're into spin casting.
The Prestile Stream flows from Easton to Mars Hill and enters Canada at the Bridgewater boundary. It's not unusual for deep holes to hold a hundred fish during hot weather. Early and late fishing with dry flies will always produce action. The Egypt Road above Westfield will lead to several great deep holes.
Houlton area anglers will want to explore the Meduxnekeag River for its convenience and consistent trout action. The bonus of this water is the unique opportunity to catch a brown trout, some of which top the five pound mark. Many fly casters insist the best chance at trophy browns occur from an hour before dark until midnight.
The most promising segment of river for summer months is located along the Foxcroft Road and utilizes deep holes, cold springs, and brook inlets to hold the groups of browns and brookies. Casing above and below several small bridges on the back gravel roads is always profitable. For night fishing use large, light colored dry flies such as a white miller, royal, or white wulff. During the day, bait fishermen should try a silver spinner to accentuate their worms.
Many anglers drive right past some of Aroostook's finest trout brooks on a regular basis. Everyone figures that everyone else must be fishing such a convenient location, so they pass up some top rate fishing. Creeks with adjacent roads may get some attention on the closest pools, but by wading a few hundred yards up or downstream, seldom fished water may be encountered. Trout move from the larger rivers and streams as the water warms throughout the summer and school up in the cooler tributary brooks and creeks.
As the dog days of summer wear on, be sure to give extra attention to the smaller waters and you will be rewarded with better fishing and larger trout. A gob of angleworms will work on most brooks, and kids are sure to catch fish. Fly casters will want a 7 or 7 ½ foot rod with floating line and a handful of dry and wet flies. Mosquito, gray slim jim, cahill, and adams dry flies are always effective, and the color of a professor, silver doctor and parmachenne belle wet fly, along with a few grasshoppers will put trout from any local stream.
Fishermen are either big kids or little kids, and humid summer days are perfect for exploring cold brooks for hot trout spots wearing sneakers and jeans, just like the old days. On the right water the fishing can be just as good as it was back when we were young, and the memories for the real kids will last a lifetime.
Check out Three Brooks in Blaine, Whitney Brook in Bridgewater, River de Chute in Easton, Big Brook in Littleton, Pattee Brook in Fort Fairfield or Libby Brook in Mapleton for fine fishing. Take a youngster and relive a few of your younger days on these and many more nearby wonderful wading waters of Aroostook.