I caught this little guy by the tail. How does that even happen??
I’m taking Giovanni, my 11-year old grandson, out fishing this morning. I want to make sure that he catches plenty of scaly creatures to keep him interested and engaged. So, we’re going to check out the smallmouth bass fishing on the Kennebec River in the shadow of the Shawmut Dam located in Fairfield, Somerset County, Maine (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 21 D3). I checked this location out last year and did well. I hope to emulate that success this time around. To reach this spot, drive north out of Fairfield on Route 201 (Skowhegan Road) and turn right on Kennebec Street. Drive all the way down towards the dam and power station located across the railroad tracks. A blue boat-launch sign will direct you to the right through an open yellow gate towards the water. Keep in mind that only canoes and kayaks can be launched from this spot due to the shallow water and strong current.
The bite is slow and the bass are rather small, but Giovani has a good time. Note the turbine house to the left, and the dam to the right.
The target of my fishing efforts today is the Androscoggin River flowing just below the Riley Dam Power Plant in Jay, Franklin County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 19 E5). To reach the public access point to the river, drive north into Jay on Route 4/17 and then turn left on Route 140. Drive for exactly 3.2 miles on this road until you reach the unnamed turn-off to the put-in for Riley Dam. That location is clearly marked by a blue sign next to the road. Plenty of parking is available. Keep in mind that this put-in can only accommodate hand-carried craft as it lacks an actual boat launch.
The water level is so low that launching a trailered boat becomes a challenge…
The lower two-thirds of the Androscoggin River flowing through Maine supports a tremendous smallmouth bass fishery (click here, here, here, here, and here for examples). We’ve come a long way since the 1960’s when this stretch of river was an abused and neglected stinking open sewer, contaminated by untreated papermill effluent and municipal sewage. Following the Androscoggin’s re-birth after the passage of the Clean Water Act in the early 1970’s, Maine’s people have discovered its tremendous recreational potential, turning the river into a regional paddling and angling destination. Residual contaminant levels in fish tissue greatly limits the number of smallmouth bass that are harvested annually. As a result, most recreational anglers practice catch-and-release, myself included, resulting in a robust bronzeback fishery. Keep in mind that this stretch of the river also contains serious northern pike. Although I’m not specifically targeting these fish today, I’ve caught them in the past in this general location as an accidental “bycatch”, which is always fun.
The put-in is just below the River Road bridge in downtown North Conway. I fish the large pool to the left. The municipal park is to the right, upstream of the bridge.
I spend the long July the 4th weekend camping with family members at the Glenn Ellis Family Campground located right off Route 302 in Glenn, NH (see the New Hampshire Atlas and Gazetteer map 45 G9). This well-maintained and well-organized campground sits on the beautiful Saco River. I brought my fishing equipment in order to catch some of the numerous trout that live in this river. I fished a different section of this waterbody two days ago, and I’m eager to explore, and blog about, other sections.
I spend the long July the 4th weekend camping with family members at the Glenn Ellis Family Campground located right off Route 302 in Glenn, NH (see the New Hampshire Atlas and Gazetteer map 45 G9). This well-maintained and well-organized campground sits on the beautiful Saco River. I brought my fishing equipment in order to catch some of the numerous trout that live in its waters. I fished this waterbody during our camping trip last year, and I’m ready to explore, and blog about, other sections.