The public boat launch on the Kennebec River downstream of Skowhegan is located off Route 2 right next to the Kennebec Banks Rest Area
I continue my investigation of the smallmouth bass fishery on the Kennebec River (click here, here, here, and here for other locations) by targeting the area below the two hydroelectric power dams that girdle the island located in the middle of the river in downtown Skowhegan, Somerset County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 80 B1 [Skowhegan]). An overview of the general area via Google Maps prior to my departure indicates that the river between these two dams and the Great Eddy located about 1 mile further downstream has several swift sections which look to be too shallow for use with a motor boat. So, I’ll bring my canoe instead. A more focused look via Google Maps of the river flowing right below the two dams shows what appear to be flat rocky ledges along both shorelines, some of which look accessible from the river-facing section of Water Street (i.e., Patten Court).
View of the Route 137 bridge over the Kennebec River from the “little gold mine”…
For today’s smallmouth bass fishing trip, I target the most downstream of the many hydropower dams on the Kennebec River based on the pattern I developed in previous years on the Androscoggin River (click here, here, and here for examples). This dam is located at the Ticonic Falls in downtown Waterville, just upstream of the confluence with the Sebasticook River (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 76 [Waterville/Winslow] C2). As an important aside, I use two independent sources to pinpoint these types of fishing spots: (a) the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer which shows, among a multitude of different kinds of information, the location of all the public boat launches in the state and (b) Google Maps which allows me to “fly” over the landscape and identify dams or other interesting features well before I set foot on my boat.
The water in the raceway flowing out of the power station on the left is quite powerful. Note that no water overflows the dam present in the background.
I have a couple of hours this afternoon to put my nephew Christian on smallmouth bass. He’s visiting from “away” and hasn’t touched a fishing rod for over two years. I decide to hit the Androscoggin River in front of the Otis hydropower station in Livermore, Androscoggin County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 11 A5). I’ve had luck at this location in the past. Click here and here for earlier blogs on this spot and for directions on how to reach it. Keep in mind that you’ll need a canoe or kayak because a hard-top public boat launch is not available on this section of the river.
The railroad tracks (upper left) run on top of the embankment which plunges into the Saco River.
I spend the long July the 4th weekend camping with family members at the Glen Ellis Family Campground located right off Route 302 in Glen, NH (see the New Hampshire Atlas and Gazetteer map 45 G9). This well-maintained and well-organized campground sits at the confluence of the Ellis River with the much larger Saco River. I brought my ultralight spinning rod and my flyfishing rod in the hope of catching some trout, although I still have to figure out a good fishing spot close to camp. That location becomes obvious when we rent tubes from the campground to float the Saco River from our camp site all the way to North Conway (the trip takes up to 5 hours, covers about 8 miles, and requires a “return” car). The Conway Scenic Railroad tracks run right along the river bank just downstream of where the Ellis River flows into the Saco River. I suspect, as I look down into the water column when floating by on my tube, that the river along that bank holds trout because it is quite deep (I’m guessing 8+ ft in some spots) and filled with large boulders. The best part is that this choicy spot is an easy 10-minute walk from the campground. From the fresh, but not too cold, feel of the water during our tubing adventure, I’m guessing that the water temperature is in the high 60’s. I note for the record that the Conway Scenic Railroad is a local tourist attraction. Hence, the train only operates during the day and moves at a snail’s pace. It is therefore safe to fish from that embankment.