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.

 

 

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Smallmouth bass fishing on the Androscoggin River in Lewiston, Maine (July 31, 2016)

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The informal put-in off Switzerland Road In Lewiston

The informal put-in off Switzerland Road In Lewiston

This blog is the last in a series of four entries pertaining to smallmouth bass fishing on the Androscoggin River flowing through the Lewiston/Auburn metro area (click here, here, and here for the other three related blogs). Today, my focus is on the area right below the Gulf Island Hydropower Dam. This sizable structure is responsible for maintaining Gulf Island Pond, which is the largest reservoir on the Androscoggin River in Maine. I’m not aware of the presence of a public boat launch between the Gulf Island Hydropower Dam and the Deer Run Hydropower Dam located about a mile further downstream. So, I use Google Maps prior to my departure to locate a potential access point for my canoe. To reach this informal put-in, drive north through Lewiston on Routes 11/100/202 and turn left on Switzerland Road. Stay on this road for 1.2 miles (pass the Saint Peters Cemetery). The put-in is on the left across from the first house after the cemetery. You’ve gone too far if you drive underneath the high-voltage power lines or reach Gulf Island Avenue. Note that one cannot drive directly to the dam from this side of the river because Switzerland Avenue turns into a CMP Company private road, which is posted and gated. The put-in is located about 2000 ft downstream of the dam. Parking is along the road shoulder. Note that I did not check for an alternative access point on the other side of the river.

 

 

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Smallmouth bass fishing on the Androscoggin River in Auburn, Maine (July 22, 2016)

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The hard-top launch off North River Road in Auburn can accommodate big boats and provides lots of parking space

The hard-top launch off North River Road in Auburn can accommodate big boats and provides lots of parking space.

I discovered fishing for smallmouth bass on the Androscoggin River in the Lewiston/Auburn area over the last month (click here and here for details). I continue my investigation of this fascinating stretch of the river by exploring the section that flows between Great Falls in downtown Lewiston/Auburn and the Deer Rips Hydropower Dam located two miles further upstream. The public put-in is about one quarter mile down North River Road off Center Street in Auburn. This hard-top boat launch is clearly indicated from the road and can accommodate big boats. It also provides ample parking space for multiple vehicles and boat trailers.

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

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Smallmouth bass fishing on the Androscoggin River in Lewiston, Maine (July 2, 2015)

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I put in my canoe at the Simard-Payne Memorial Park. The Court Street bridge is in the background further upstream.

I put in my canoe at the Simard-Payne Memorial Park. The Court Street bridge is in the background further upstream.

I love fishing for smallmouth bass on the Androscoggin River (click here and here for examples)! This waterway provides a premier bronzeback fishery in southern Maine. I focus my attention this afternoon in the general area at and downstream of Great Falls, located just upstream of the Court Street bridge (routes 100/202) in downtown Lewiston. I haven’t fished this area before, so I’m on the look-out for an access point. I first park at Heritage Park next to the bridge but the rip-rap shoreline is just too steep to safely launch – or retrieve – my canoe. I cross Court Street, drive down Water Street (which runs behind the Hampton Inn Hotel) and park my car on the public parking lot behind the hotel. A quick walk across the pedestrian bridge and into Simard-Payne Memorial Park confirms easy access to the river. I note here that this park also allows for ample shore fishing opportunities. I strap my canoe onto my “canoe wheels”, place my fishing equipment inside, and wheel the whole kit and caboodle to the water’s edge. The wind is ripping down the river. Fortunately, the shoreline is full of boulders, some of which I stack in the front of my boat to provide much-needed counter weight. I’m on the water and ready to fish by 1:30 pm.

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

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Smallmouth bass fishing on the Androscoggin River in Lisbon, Maine (June 23, 2013)


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General view of the rapids on the Androscoggin River about 0.5 miles upstream of the Sabattus River boat launch

General view of the rapids on the Androscoggin River about 0.5 miles upstream of the Sabattus River boat launch

I’m fishing a set of rapids on the Androscoggin River with my ten-year old nephew Christian this afternoon. These rapids are found about 0.5 miles upstream of the boat launch located on the Sabattus River where it  flows into the Androscoggin River off Route 196 (and just upstream of the old railroad bridge) in Lisbon.  We arrive at 4 pm and quickly launch my boat. The water level is quite low and the boat launch isn’t very steep. I’ve got to go way into the water before my small boat floats off the trailer. This could be an issue for more substantial craft.

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Smallmouth bass fishing on the Androscoggin River, Topsham, Maine (June 24, 2012).


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View of the rock piles around the bridge over the Androscoggin River

This afternoon, I’m fishing the stretch of the Androscoggin River between the Pejepscot boat launch in Topsham and the power dam located about 0.5 mile further upstream (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 6 B2). I spend most of my time fishing the rock piles around where the Route 125 bridge crosses the river. The water level is quite high today and more water than normal is flowing through these rocks, which should attract smallies who like to ambush prey from behind submerged boulders.My lure of choice is a 4″ pink soft stickbait. I’m imbedding the large hook inside the body of the bait, but quickly notice that this tactic is causing me problems. I’m getting bites but missing too many fish because the point doesn’t come out of the bait when I set the hook. I switch to the “wacky worm”, which consists of squeezing the stickbait through a small “O” ring before hooking the “O” ring + the bait to a No. 8 fish hook. The results are immediate because the hook is now exposed instead of being embedded inside the bait. Just about every hit yields a bass.

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Smallmouth bass and pike fishing on the Androscoggin River, Durham, Maine (July 1, 2012).


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I reach the Durham boat launch off Route 136 (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 A5) on the Androscoggin River at 7 am. The weather is gorgeous, with full sunshine and a light breeze. The water temp is 70F. The air temp is in the low 70’s and forecast to rise into the high 80’s by early afternoon. I position my boat along the bank across from the boat launch and slowly drift down with the current while fishing the wooded shoreline for smallmouth bass using 4″ soft stickbaits. I get no bites, which is unusual since the bass typically are found shallow early in the morning on this river. I turn the engine on and move further downstream to fish another section of the shore, but with the same result…

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Smallmouth bass fishing on the Androscoggin River, Topsham, Maine (August 19, 2012).


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I reach the Pejepscot boat launch off Route 196 in Topsham (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 6 B2) with Salvador at 4:30 pm. We want to catch the smallmouth bass that are so plentiful in this stretch of the Androscoggin River. The conditions are perfect: the sun is setting and hazy, clouds are forecast to roll in later in the evening, the wind is light.

 

 

 

 

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