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 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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Largemouth bass fishing on No Name Pond in Lewiston, Maine (August 15, 2015)

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A pretty view of No Name Pond from the access point off No Name Pond Road

A pretty view of No Name Pond from the access point off No Name Pond Road

No Name Pond is a 143-acre body of water located in Lewiston, Androscoggin County (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 12 E1). This pond, which is located just west of Sabattus Pond, can be accessed at its northern end via No Name Pond Road. The access point is rather puzzling. The No Name Pond Association prominently displays several large “Private Property” signs along the shoreline. Yet, an obvious access point connects the road to the lake. A second access point less than 100 ft from the first one has large boulders in front of it. A road sign next to the first access point displays information about removing milfoil from boats before launching, strongly suggesting that this is indeed a public launch. But it also states that parking is prohibited alongside the road between April 15 and November 15 and that violators will be towed… The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer displays a symbol indicating a hand-carry boat launch site at this location. I was unable to find more information on the Internet to clarify this rather perplexing situation. My assessment is that this launch is a legitimate public access point, although I don’t understand the no parking rule (my car was not towed…). Keep in mind that the unimproved launch can only accommodate hand-carried craft.

 

 

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