Colleyer Brook runs roughly between North Gray and its confluence with the Royal River in East Gray (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 C4). Every year, the state stocks this stream several times between early April and early May with a total of about 2,000 brown trout and brook trout measuring around 10”. Click here for stocking details are available at . I’m spending a couple of hours this afternoon exploring that part of Collyer Brook which flows upstream from Merrill Road (off Mayall Road) in Gray. I arrive at the bridge at around 2:30 pm and park on the sandy shoulder. There’s enough space to park a half-dozen cars. I talk to two guys who are getting out of their waders. They tell me that they fished the stretch upstream of the bridge and that they caught one 14” brown trout in 3 hours.
The weather is grey, overcast and drizzly. The air temperature is 65°F and the water comes in at 55°F. The stream runs surprisingly low for this time of the season but the surface water has a distinct “silty” look to it, perhaps due to the rainfall from this morning. The large pool just downstream of the bridge is a popular fishing spot with the locals, but is also heavily used. It is easily accessible from the road and doesn’t require waders. I’m not bothering to check it out because two other people are already fishing it.
Collyer Brook is a sinuous stream with lots of turns, bends, and curves. The section of the stream above Merrill Road is between 10 and 20 ft wide and has a depth of 1 ft to > 4 ft. It is wadable in certain stretches, but too deep in others. The substrate consists of sand and silt, interspersed with large boulders. This stream experiences severe erosion, which causes the shoreline to collapse during high flow events. As a result, the banks on either side are quite high (5-10 ft) which makes access to the water problematic. The erosion also causes trees, bushes, roots, and sticks to become mixed into the substrate which can make it difficult to fish without the hook getting stuck on one thing or another… It also can make it tough to wade your way upstream, even though the snags provide lots of places for trout to hide.
For the most part, Collyer Brook above Merrill Road cannot be properly fished from shore due to its high banks and abundant shoreline vegetation. It’s best to wade it or come in and out of the water at various locations where access is possible. This section of the stream would be a real challenge to fly fish. The water is too narrow and the shoreline vegetation too abundant to cast a fly and expect not to tangle up somewhere. Don’t get me wrong: there certainly are spots where fly fishing would work, but I’m not sure that it’s worth the effort. Also, I would not recommend fishing this stretch of stream with younger, inexperienced fishers because it simply is not kid-friendly.
Overall, I’d rate the section of Collyer Brook above Merrill Road as a C-, mainly because accessing the water is difficult and because the stream habitat is so severely degraded. One good reason for spending time on this stream, however, is that it is nicely stocked with trout. Also, I suspect that the deep pools created by the innumerable snags allow for year-over-year survival, which offers the possibility of catching larger hold-over trout.
Was the information in this blog useful? I invite you to share your thoughts and opinions. Also, feel free to discuss your fishing experiences on this stream.