Smallmouth bass fishing on the Androscoggin River, Lisbon Falls, Maine (July 20, 2017)

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Great smallmouth bass holding habitat downstream of the Route 125 bridge: shallow and deep water, boulders, and multiple current seams.

My 10-year old nephew Matt is visiting from “away” for a couple of days. He has never fished before, but expresses an interest in trying it out. I have to find a fishing spot where he (a) can cast wildly without causing harm or getting snagged, (b) is guaranteed to catch fish regardless of skill level, and (c) can experience the joy of seeing a fish jump out of the water after it’s been hooked. I quickly set my eyes on the half-mile stretch of the Androscoggin River that runs between the boat launch on Route 196 (Lewiston Road) and the hydropower dam in Lisbon Falls located just upstream of the Route 125 bridge over the river. I have fished this short stretch in the past for smallmouth bass and have consistently done well on it. Note that the access point off Route 196 represent a substantial boat launch that can handle larger vessels. The launch also has plenty of parking spaces across the old railroad tracks.




Matt with his very first smallmouth bass ever! Proud and hopefully hooked for life!



I need to mention one negative pertaining to this stretch of the Androscoggin River: the noise of the road traffic (trucks and motorcycles included) running on Routes 125 and 196, and over the river bridge, is loud and persistent. The surrounding area is also “urban”, consisting of several roads, a major bridge, an old manufacturing facility under demolition, a large retaining wall, a cement tower, a dam, and a hydro-electrical station. It helps to block out all those distractions and just focus on the great bronzeback fishing potential at this location. What makes this small section so special is that the habitat is perfect to attract and retain smallmouth bass. The river contains fast-moving water in the center, slower-moving water along the shorelines, multiple current seams, large submerged and emergent rocks which create holding spots, and fantastic boulder habitat by the Route 125 bridge and right below the dam. It also contains sections that are quite deep (e.g., across from the old manufacturing plant) or have water that flows at high speed (the narrows underneath the Route 125 bridge).


The boulder pool by the dam typically holds lots of smallmouth bass. We can’t squeeze through this morning because the water is too shallow.

I haven’t fished at this location for over two years now and am surprised to see that the old green-colored truss bridge over the river has been replaced by a modern flat girdle bridge. Time flies, I suppose! Matt and I arrive at the Route 196 boat launch a little after 8 am. The weather is fantastic: blue skies, warm (high 70’s – low 80‘s), with a light breeze. We start by fishing the current seam located at the spot where the Little River, which flows along the southern boundary of the old manufacturing plant, enters the Androscoggin River. That spot always produces fish, and today is no exception. We both use a 4” soft stickbait rigged “wacky” style. Matt casts wildly but his lure consistently makes it in the water and attracts the attention of the resident bass. However, he hasn’t yet mastered the skill of setting the hook and misses several fish in a row. He is astonished when I land three bass on my first three casts of the morning! The fish are definitely at their posts and are eager to play.


Your blog author with a typical bronzeback from this stretch of the Androscoggin River.

The bite at this spot diminishes due to the commotion from struggling bass and the excessive noises by a fidgety 10-year old in the boat. We move and fish the large submerged boulders in the current across from where the Little River enters the Androscoggin River, lazily drift down while casting our stickbaits next to the retaining wall by the old manufacturing facility, inspect the shallow boulder area just downstream of the road bridge (to the left, looking upstream; see the first picture in this blog), and try unsuccessfully to motor into the large boulder-infested – but too shallow – pool by the dam (see previous picture in this blog). There’s an obvious pattern: the bite is hot until about 9:30 am, slows down markedly over the next hour, and then dies out completely after that. Matt has stuck with it like a trooper though. He’s had about a dozen bites over the last 2.5 hours but is frustrated by his inability to “close the deal” by properly setting the hook and landing the fish. But I suspect that his experiences this morning with uncle Stan may have planted a little seed in his mind, which will hopefully germinate into a passion. I’m glad to have selected this spot on the Androscoggin River to fish with an inexperienced kid and recommend it to anyone who wants to taste great smallmouth bass river fishing.


The results: I landed 11 smallmouth bass and Matt caught 2 smallmouth bass in 2.5 hours of fun fishing. All the fish measured between 11” and 15”.


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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One thought on “Smallmouth bass fishing on the Androscoggin River, Lisbon Falls, Maine (July 20, 2017)

  1. I love the Andro and am so glad it has been cleaned up from the paper mill pollution heydays of the 1960s and 70s. Despite the cleanup, most folks still won’t eat anything that comes out of there, which essentially makes it a catch and release trophy river!

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