Trout fishing on the Nezinscott River, Turner, Maine (October 26, 2013)


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View of the Nezinscott River

View of the Nezinscott River

The Nezinscott River has it sources in Woodstock (West Branch) and Sumner (East Branch). The two branches merge in Bucksfield, from where the river flows eastwards past Turner and Turner Center into the Androscoggin River. It has a total length of 25 to 30 miles (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 11).  The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife stocks the portion of the Nezinscott River in the Turner area between April and May with about 2,500-3,000 9”-10” trout (mostly brown trout) each spring, and then spices things up in October with another 200 or so larger brown trout (click here for more details).

 

 

 

A long and lazy pool on the Nezinscott River

A long and lazy pool on the Nezinscott River

 

 

I focus my attention today on a two-mile stretch of the Nezinscott River which flows between Turner Mill Dam and Turner Center, roughly parallel to Turner Center Road (Route 117) (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 11 C5). This section is open to fishing year-round. Be aware that the quarter mile between Turner Mill Dam and the confluence with Meadow Brook has stricter regulations than the rest of the river further downstream (click here for more details).

 

More complex trout habitat on the Nezinscott River

More complex trout habitat on the Nezinscott River

I start fishing from the Route 117 bridge and move upstream. I like fishing that way because trout always orient themselves facing into the current, which makes it easier to sneak up on the fish without spooking them. I’m using my ultralight rod with a #2 Mepps spinner. The water level is quite low and more typical of summer conditions. That’s because rain has been sparse over the last several weeks, and it shows. It’s also overcast and chilly this morning, with air temps in the low 30’s and a wind chill. The water temp is 48F. This stretch of the river is characterized by a long series of riffles, runs, and slower moving pools. With some localized exceptions, the substrate consists entirely of cobbles interspersed with rough sand and gravel, many large boulders, and bedrock. The channel is between 40-60 ft wide and unobstructed by overhanging trees, which makes it ideal for fly fishing. The water is from 1 to 4 ft deep and darkly stained. Much of this section can be waded, although I find the submerged rocks to be quite slippery.

 

 

 

General view of the Nezinscott River

General view of the Nezinscott River

The first 2,000 ft or so of the Nezinscott River above the Route 117 bridge consist of long and rather featureless pools. It takes me about 1 hour to fish my way upstream; I don’t generate a single bite in this area, which is disappointing. At some point, I hear a dull “ploufff” in the water next to me. I look to my right and am surprised to see a medium-sized birds splashing on the surface before it takes off with a fish caught in its talons. It’s actually an osprey catching its next meal! This bird is doing better than me…

 

 

 

 

 

A beautiful,14" brown trout caught in the Nezinscott River

A beautiful 14″ brown trout caught in the Nezinscott River

The river becomes more interesting above this initial stretch, with more turbulent water caused by a succession of closely-spaced rifles and bends in the river. I finally catch my first brown trout of the day in one of the pools sandwiched between two riffles. The fish measures 13”. I also hear several gunshots fairly close on my left, which surprises me given the proximity of houses and roads in the area. I continue fishing my way upstream and hear more shots in the distance. Then it hits me: October 26 is Youth Deer Day in Maine. Darn it, I didn’t think about it and left my bright orange hat at home. I reach another point on the river with complex habitat, including large boulders and water running from various directions into a pool. I quickly hook into my second brown trout of the day, a tenacious 14” fish. I hear russling on my left and see three teenage hunters clad in orange dragging a dead deer through the woods. They’re the ones I heard earlier. Now I really feel exposed without visible clothing; I’d hate to become someone’s next deer! I spend another five minutes in my spot, and catch the last trout of the day, a small 12 incher. I feel uncomfortable with the shooting in the surrounding woods and decide to play it safe by calling it a morning.

 

 

 

This stretch of the Nezinscott River is a pleasure to behold

This stretch of the Nezinscott River is a pleasure to behold

Overall, I’m enormously impressed with the quality of the trout habitat, the wadability of the river, the easy access from Route 117, and the overall fishing experience. I’m giving the 2-mile stretch of the Nezinscott River above the Route 117 bridge an A+ and recommend it to anyone who enjoys catching trout in a beautiful stretch of river.

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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