Smallmouth bass fishing on the Androscoggin River, Lisbon Falls, Maine (June 13, 2015)

General view of the Androscoggin River below the Pejepscott boat launch

General view of the Androscoggin River below the Pejepscott boat launch

I’m taking my 12-year old nephew Christian fishing on the Androscoggin River today. One of my preferred spots on this delightful water body is the stretch that runs from the Lisbon Falls Hydrodam, located just upstream of the bridge that carries Route 125 over the river, down to the Pejepscot Hydrodam located about 3 miles further downstream (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 6 B2). The Pejepscot hard-top boat launch right before the entrance to Lisbon Falls off Route 196 (driving north) provides easy access to the river with plenty of parking. This strectch of river is also a favorite of canoeists and kayakers because the current is relatively slow, except for about 1000 ft or so below the Lisbon Falls Hydrodam. The setting downstream of the boat launch is also gorgeous, with nothing but trees lining both banks of the river. The stretch upstream of the boat launch is more build-up but represents prime smallmouth habitat (more about that later). We start with focusing our attention further downstream in the hope of catching northern pike.

 

 

 

 

 

The coves provide great pike habitats: shallow, weedy, woody

The coves provide great pike habitats: shallow, weedy, woody

 

 

This species originated in Sabattus Pond and found its way into the Androscoggin River many years ago via the Sabattus River which connects both bodies of water. The mainstem river downstream of the Pejepscot boat launch is actually not prime pike habitat because the banks are too steep and lack vegetated flats, submerged structure is limited, and the river is rather deep (12-15 ft). But is has around half-a-dozen hidden coves along both of its banks which are local pike magnets due to their shallow depths (1-5 ft) and abundant submerged aquatic vegetation and lay-down trees. We spend close to 3 hours methodically fishing the entrances and the insides of several of these coves using large flashy spinnerbaits. Christian hooks and lands a serious 22” pickerel and I hook but miss a pike of about the same size and also bring in two smallmouth bass. All and all, however, this total catch is rather disappointing given our intense efforts.

 

 

A pike is hiding in here somewhere...

A pike is hiding in here somewhere…

By about 1:30 pm, we decide to motor back upstream past the boat launch to focus on smallmouth bass using soft stickbaits, my all-time favorite bass lure. I anchor the boat at the spot where the Little River enters the Androscoggin River, right below the abandoned factory.  Note that within 24 hours after a summer rainstorm increases the flow in the Little River, it is well worth the effort to boat underneath the Route 196 bridge and fish the short stretch up to the impassable falls. The smallmouths swim up from the Androscoggin River to feast on various tasty snacks that are flushed down by the current. The Little River isn’t flowing much today due to the dry conditions, so we fish the seam where both currents meet. We are quickly rewarded by several smallmouth bass, and catch a total of six fish in a little over one hour. The nice thing about these bass is that even though they’re relatively small (13”-16”), they spend their entire lives swimming in current and are therefore tough little bulldogs!! Every one of them fights and pulls and runs and jumps out of the water. They’re such a pleasure to catch.

 

 

This bronzeback was a tank!

This bronzeback was a tank!

I then motor further upstream into the current along the right bank, past the old factory and towards the Lisbon Falls Hydrodam. I stay about 10 ft offshore and let my boat drift back down with the flow. We toss our stickbaits upstream and let them also drift down with us. That strategy works because we catch one or more fish on every pass. One of those is an 18” tank which simply refuses to give up and keeps ripping line of my reel. What a fighter! I’m also keeping my eyes open for rises further offshore in the stretch of the river across from the old factory retaining wall. The bass will chase schools of bait fish right up to the surface and feast on them. Casting soft stickbaits to those rises can be extremely productive. But we don’t see any rises. Unfortunately, mid-afternoon is not a good time, as this peculiar feeding behavior on this stretch of the river is more likely to occur earlier in the morning and at dusk. We reluctantly leave at 4 pm to return back home after a glorious day on the Androscoggin River.

 

 

The results: I caught nine 13”-18” smallmouth bass and Christian caught seven 13”-16” smallmouths and a nice 22” pickerel in 5 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, Lisbon Falls, Maine (June 13, 2015)

    • I like the Gary Yamamoto 4″ stick baits when fishing for smallmouth bass. Best colors are purple with flecks and bright pink, but other colors may work just as well depending on the local conditions. The water column in the Androscoggin River above the boat launch up to the dam has little or no snags, so your best bet is to fish the stick baits “wacky” style. It’ll definitely increase your hooking rate by not burying the hook into the worm. Have fun and let us know how you did. That place can really produce excellent smallmouth bass fishing. Tight lines. Stan

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