Smallmouth bass fishing on the Androscoggin River in Auburn, Maine (July 10, 2016)

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The boat launch on the Auburn side of the river, with Longley Bridge in the background hiding the Great Falls

The boat launch on the Auburn side of the river, with Court Street Bridge in the background, hiding Great Falls

I discovered fishing for smallmouth bass on the Androscoggin River in Lewiston last week (click here for details). I decided that I need to continue exploring this section of the river further downstream of Great Falls to appreciate its full potential. So, this evening, I put my small motor boat in the water at the boat launch located off Main Street in Auburn, just below the Route 100/202 bridge (Court Street). The access to this launch is via an unnamed ally off Main Street (Route 136) right after the Festival Plaza, with its unique multi-colored, sail-like awning. The launch area, which is located next to the Auburn River Walk, can accommodate small trailered boats. What is bizarre, though, is the complete lack of public parking next to this hard boat launch. All parking in that general area is by permit only. One alternative is to drive back out onto Main Street and park in the municipal parking lot located directly across from the Festival Plaza. Since Main Street is one-way, it requires driving around the block. I easily find a double parking space (for my truck + trailer) because it’s early Sunday evening and the municipal parking lot is half empty. But I doubt that it would be easy to find space to park a vehicle and trailer at any other time during the week. I also notice lots of signs in that municipal parking lot stating that vehicles can only be parked for a maximum of 2 hours during the day. Keep these parking limitations in mind if you are planning on launching a motorized boat from this location.

 

 

The Auburn River Walk Bridge with Cedar Street Bridge in the background. This stretch of the river is deep and slow-moving.

The Auburn River Walk Bridge with Cedar Street Bridge in the background. This stretch of the river is deep and slow-moving.

 

 

I arrive at the boat launch with Lily at 6 pm. The sky is totally overcast and the air temperature is a muggy 78°F. It’s been raining on and off for most of the last two days and I’m hoping that we can enjoy a two-hour rain-free window. My goal this evening is to drift underneath the old railroad bridge (the Auburn Riverwalk Bridge) and past the Cedar Street Bridge by the confluence with the Little Androscoggin River. The water level is quite low, as I’ve experienced in the past at other locations on the Androscoggin River in the summer. It seems to me that the water is 2-3 ft below its normal height, which exposes much of the shoreline. I use my fish finder to get a better feel for the water depth. I’m astonished to discover that the river is well over 20 ft deep between the boat launch and the old railroad bridge! The depth also drops precipitously from the shoreline, which explains my lack of fishing success last week in this area of the river. However, the river gradually becomes shallower closer to the Cedar Street Bridge. In fact, the general area where the Little Androscoggin River merger with its larger cousin provides fantastic smallmouth bass habitat: the current picks up, two different waters intermingle, the river is only four to six feet deep, and the bottom is carpeted with long-leaved aquatic plants that sinuously weave back and forth in the current and offer great hiding and ambush spots.

 

Lily shows off a small but hard-fighting bronzeback

Lily shows off a small but hard-fighting bronzeback

I notice, with some trepidation, that the water level in the immediate vicinity downstream of the Cedar Street Bridge is actually rather shallow (< 2 ft). My boat drifts fine with the current but I’m wondering if I’ll have problems motoring back up when we return… The stretch of the river for about half a mile past the Cedar Street Bridge also represents fine smallmouth bass habitat, consisting mostly of < 4 ft of water flowing slowly downgradient passed large areas of dense aquatic undulating vegetation. Lily and I have been fishing for about two hours now using 4-inch soft stickbaits and #2 Mepps spinners. We landed a total of ten bronzebacks and hooked and missed at least as many. The bite has been constant but the fish are once again on the small size (8” to 14”). It’s now 8:15 pm and it starts drizzling; time to call it an evening. We motor back towards the Cedar Street Bridge but can’t make it further upstream due to the extreme shallow water. I try several locations but each time have to turn around when my propeller hits bottom and clogs up with aquatic vegetation. And now it starts raining more… Sh*t!  My last option is to go to the extreme right (looking upstream) of the bridge. The current over there is rather swift but it has just enough depth (about 3 ft) to allow us to cautiously motor underneath the bridge and into deeper water further upstream. We’re quite relieved when we make it to the other side without hanging up the engine on the substrate or in aquatic plants! Keep in mind that paddling this spot in an upstream direction appears feasible but would be quite a work out… Overall, I’m impressed with this stretch of the Androscoggin River and highly recommend it for further exploration.

 

The results: I caught 6 smallmouth bass and Lily caught 4 smallmouth bass (largest = 14”) in about two hours of fishing.

 

Was the information in this blog useful? I invite you to share your thoughts and opinions. Also, feel free to discuss your fishing experiences at this location.

 

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2 thoughts on “Smallmouth bass fishing on the Androscoggin River in Auburn, Maine (July 10, 2016)

  1. Morning,
    I live in the lewiston/Auburn area and based on the post prior to this I decided to take my boat out on the androscoggin. It was absolutely fast fishing for smaller fish, thankfully though small smallies are still a blast to catch all day.
    A couple things though, since I know the area a little better. There is a boat launch below the falls on the lewiston side off of Lincoln st, but with the water so low it may not be much better right now, but there is ample free parking. Also, above the falls there is a nice public launch on north river road, again with ample parking and again really fast fishing for small bass. Also on the north side, water depth is not at all a concern, a mile up from the launch you will find water around 6 to 9 feet, everything else is > 10 feet a foot from shore and between 20 and 40 in the middle of the river. My preference is always to maneuver up river and fish as I drift, this time of year though it appears nearly impossible, there is basically no current at the moment and I spent considerable amounts of time being blown up river from a gentle breeze.

    • Hi Chris, Thanks for sharing your insights about this stretch of the Androscoggin River. I was not aware of the Lincoln Street boat launch on the Lewiston side. I have plans to check the river along North River Road above Great Falls because the Atlas and Gazetteer shows the access point you just described. I’m with you: even the smaller smallmouths are still a blast to catch because they’re such great fighters! tight lines. Stan

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