Brook trout fishing on Churchill Lake, Allagash Wilderness Waterway, Maine (May 16, 2012)

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Day 3: It rained non-stop from yesterday 4 pm until 4 am this morning. Everything is wet and damp. Joel and I are back on the Churchill Lake thoroughfare (called Heron Lake; see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 56 A1), at 6:15 am to try our luck one more time. We only have about 4 hours to fish before we need to start packing up at 10:30 am to drive back home. We discuss our options and decide to go after brook trout by the ledges near the camp site, instead of motoring up-lake for 30 minutes to fish for lake trout in the deep part of Churchill Lake.

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Brook trout fishing on Churchill Lake and Eagle Lake, Allagash Wilderness Waterway, Maine (May 15, 2012)

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Day 2: It’s amazing how much can change in 12 hours! Joel and I are back on the water at 6:30 am to catch the early morning bite on the two ledges we discovered yesterday in Heron Lake (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 56 A1). This “lake” is the thoroughfare between Churchill Lake and Churchill Dam. We only catch three smallish (12-14″) brookies after 3 hours of hard fishing. The trout have gone missing! It’s clear that the smelts, and their fishy predators, have moved elsewhere.

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Brook Trout fishing on Churchill Lake, Allagash Wilderness Waterway, Maine (May 14, 2012)

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Churchill Lake is a 3,720 acre impoundment (with a maximum depth of 62 ft) of the Allagash River on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway in northwestern Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 56 B1). The entire shoreline, which is owned by the State of Maine, is wooded, wild, and entirely undeveloped.  Joel and I drove up to Churchill Dam yesterday from southern Maine (7 hours of driving, of which 3 hours on rutted logging roads…). We put our canoe in the water at the concrete boat launch by the dam and park our car further up the road at a large parking spot. We motor up to the “High Bank” camp site at the end of the thoroughfare, which is also called Heron Lake (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 56 A1).

 

We troll for native brook trout using smelt-imitating spoons (Mooselook and the like) between 7 am and 8 pm, for a total of 10.5 hrs. We’re fishing our spoons only 4-5 ft below the surface because the water temperature is a chilly 49F. We use our depth finders to locate two ledges in Heron Lake across from our camp site. The water depth rises from 26 ft up to 7 ft at the top of the ledge and plunges back down to 27 ft at the other end before it rises again to about 9 ft.

 

The trout are ambushing schools of smelt on both sides of the drop-offs. We quickly become aware of it when we start catching trout after trout which regurgitate smelts when we bring the fish to the boat. The trout are healthy, have distended stomachs, and fight hard. We catch a total of 18 trout, most between 14” and 16″, before the day is over. We keep two smaller brookies for the evening meal. This is definitely high-quality fishing!

 

The results: I caught 8 brook trout ranging in size from 14” to 16” in 10.5 hours of fishing.

 

Was the information in this blog useful? I invite you to share your thoughts and opinions by posting a comment. Also, feel free to tell us about your experiences fishing for brook trout on Churchill Lake.

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Landlocked salmon fishing on Peabody Pond, Sebago, Maine (April 15, 2012)

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Joel and I arrive at Peabody Pond (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 4 B4) at 7:30 this morning to fish for landlocked Atlantic salmon. This 735-acre jewel of a lake (maximum depth = 64 ft) in the town of Sebago is located off Route 107 and is accessed via Peabody Pond Road. The launch ramp is concrete. Plenty of parking is available. Even though Peabody Pond is heavily developed on its western and northern shorelines, it gives the impression of a “remote” lake due to the looming presence of Bald Pate Mountain in the background. It is definitely a pretty setting. The lake is also known to produce high-quality landlocks because it supports a healthy population of rainbow smelt which allows the salmon to grow fast, big, and fat. The fact that the pond is closed to ice fishing also protects the salmon population from excessive fishing pressure in the winter. I landed a five pounder here in 2011 and know of a 6.5 pounder and a 8.0 pounder caught the year before… But I also know from experience that these fish require a lot of work to be caught!

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