Brook trout fishing on Lower Fowler Pond, Baxter State Park, Maine (September 22 and 23, 2017)

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Lower Fowler Pond is a little jewel!


Lower Fowler Pond is a 66-acre body of water located off the Park Tote Road in the northern portion of Baxter State Park (BSP), Piscataquis County, Maine (see The Atlas and Gazetteer map 51 A1). This pond can be accessed by hiking for about 1.5 miles on the Fowler Brook Trail which starts at the clearly-indicated trail head on the Park Tote Road. The hike is flat and easy. Click here for full details on renting a camp site and obtaining the key to unlock the canoes that are stored next to the pond and which are critical if your goal is to fish. Two camp sites are available on this pond, namely Lower Fowler Outlet and Lower Fowler Pond. We stayed at the latter but found that the former provided better views of the gorgeous surrounding landscape. I recommend renting that one instead, if it is available.


A beaver dam on the outlet of Lower Fowler Pond


My son Joel and I are spending three days on two ponds located on the Five Ponds Trail. I need to check both off my BSP trout ponds bucket list. We arrive at the Lower Fowler Pond tent site by noon and spend the early afternoon setting up camp, having lunch, and preparing our fishing equipment. We know from earlier fishing experiences at the park (click here and here for examples) that the trout won’t come off the bottom to feed higher up in the water column until late afternoon/early evening when the sun starts setting and the wind dies down. Note that the fishing rules for Lower Fowler Pond are strict, as follows: (a) fly-fishing only (i.e., no trolling, no spinner fishing, no worm fishing), (b) a two-fish daily bag limit, (c) the minimum length for a keeper fish is 10” with only one trout allowed to exceed 12”. Also, keep in mind that the pond is closed to fishing after September 30. Ice fishing is forbidden. The pond is shallow, with a maximum and mean depth of 15 ft and 8 ft, respectively. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information. Note that most of the trout in this pond are covered with “black spot” parasites which take away from the inherent beauty of these wild creatures but are harmless when the fish are consumed by humans.


Small and native, but fiesty!


Joel and I are all geared up and ready to go by 3 pm. We both get a canoe and paddle to the outlet to explore the stream that flows out of Lower Fowler Pond in the hope of snagging a trout or two. However, the stream is really shallow. The one exception is behind a small beaver dam where Joel catches several blacknose dace on a tiny emerger. It’s fun but not why we’re here for… We’re back on the pond by 4 pm eager to start real fishing. I paddle off by myself and immediately notice several rises! Great, let the show begin. The trout are after a small brown moth-like bug (caddisfly?) which I try to imitate using a brown elk-hair dry fly. I get no hits and the rises become sporadic 30 minutes later. Shoot, I missed the hatch! I keep on dry flying. The sun continues to set and the wind calms down. I finally hook an 11” brookie on the dry fly at 5:30 pm. I paddle excitedly over to Joel who’s fishing on the other side of the pond. He tells me that he’s caught two small brookies by stripping a miniscule (quarter inch) red streamer fly on his floating line. I rummage through my fly box and tie on the smallest red Mickey Fin I can find.


This little guy is covered with “black spot”!


Stripping a small streamer fly on a floating line makes for fun fishing. The reason is that the fly moves only an inch or two below the surface and the strike is typically visible as the trout aggressively swim up from below to grab their fleeing prey. Joel and I drift to the shallow section of the pond towards the inlet. The water over there is less than 5 ft deep and the bottom is carpeted by submerged plants. The sun has now set and the fish are actively feeding on the surface in this area. We both catch several more trout. One in particular stands out: I get a surface hit but miss the fish. I quickly bring the line in, recast in the same general location, start stripping, and get a second swirl but miss the fish again. Sh*t! I bring the line in again, recast, start stripping again and get a third swirl, but this time it results with the aggressive but elusive trout hooked at the other end! Fishing doesn’t get any better than this. Darkness has now set in and the bite stops. We reluctantly paddle back to camp to cook dinner and recount our afternoon fishing experiences.


This beauty makes my morning! Notice the lack of “black spot”


I crawl out of bed at 6 am for my early morning fish fix. I quickly paddle to the same area where we did so well yesterday evening. I also use the same small red Mickey Fin fly. I get a hookup on the second cast but the trout escapes! I hook and land a trout on the fourth cast. Great, the fish are still there and feeding!! The one event that stands out this morning occurs when I cast out and hook a fish before I start stripping my line! I must have cast that Mickey Fin right on top of the waiting trout which didn’t hesitate to grab it. The bite is steady until 6:30 am and then abruptly stops as the sun rises above the horizon… That’s fine with me: Lower Fowler Pond has been a great host and I recommend it to anyone who wants to fly fish for native brookies in an unspoiled natural setting.


Thank you, Lower Fowler Pond, for the great time spent in your gracious presence


The results: I landed a total of nine brook trout measuring between 9” and 14” between yesterday evening and this morning. Joel caught five brook trout yesterday evening.


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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