Water flowing out of a dam generates powerful downstream currents that will reliably attract, concentrate, and retain river smallmouth bass throughout the summer, as I have outlined in several earlier blogs (click here and here for examples). One such location is the Skelton Dam located on the Saco River in Dayton, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 3 B1). The tailrace below this dam is the focus of my fishing efforts this afternoon.
The boat launch on the Androscoggin River in downtown Mexico, with the paper mill looming in the background on the opposite shore.
(NOTE: this blog combines two separate fishing trips to the same location) I focus my attention this morning on fishing for smallmouth bass on the short, one-mile section of the Androscoggin River which flows between the Portland Street bridge in Rumford and the Veteran Street bridge in Mexico in Oxford County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 19 E1 and also map 78 B1 and 2). Access to this water is via an excellent hard-top public boat launch located at the end of Riverside Avenue off Lincoln Avenue (Route 2 and 17) in downtown Mexico. Plenty of parking is available on Riverside Avenue. Note that, as I found out the hard way, during periods of lower water levels in the summer, this stretch of river should only be fished using a canoe or kayak. The reason is that parts of the Androscoggin River flowing above the confluence with the Swift River located on the boundary between Rumford and Mexico is too shallow and bouldery for safe motoring, whereas a canoe or kayak can easily be dragged further upstream. Also, the water gets quite shallow in the vicinity of the Veteran Street Bridge which can make motoring back upstream to the boat launch problematic.
The section of the Androscoggin River flowing in the area of Lisbon in Androscoggin County (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 6 AB 1) supports a thriving summer smallmouth bass fishery. The trick to success is to locate the kinds of habitat that will attract, concentrate, and retain these beautiful creatures. The required ingredients include adequate current, bouldery substrate, and appropriate depth. I’m focusing my attention this afternoon on a two-mile stretch of the Androscoggin River which provides easy access to this preferred habitat. I launch my motor boat from the excellent public access point on Sabattus Stream next to Frost Hill Avenue (right off Route 196/Lisbon Street). I float underneath Route 196 and the railroad tracks before turning right and motoring upriver. For the record, this fishing trip can also be accomplished using a canoe or kayak but will require muscle power.