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.


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