Fishing for brook trout on Alford Lake in Hope, Knox County, Maine (November 5, 2022)

 

Turn at this sign and drive all the way to the boat launch.

 

Alford Lake is a 577-acre body of water located in Hope, Knox County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 14 D2). To reach the lake, drive north on Buzzel Hill Road and turn right on Beaver Lodge Road. Look for the wooden “Beaver Lodge” campground sign in case the road sign is missing (as it was for me this morning). Drive down Beaver Lodge Road for 0.7 miles to the public boat launch. Keep in mind that this road passes straight through the privately owned Beaver Lodge campground. No need to stop; just keep on driving. The launch is spacious and provides plenty of parking spots, as well as picnic accommodations.

 

 

This first brookie confirms that the school is hanging right around the boat launch.

 

Alford Lake is a lightly developed and beautiful body of water surrounded by woods and hills. It supports a popular “two-story” fishery consisting of largemouth and smallmouth bass, plus three salmonid species (i.e., brown trout, brook trout, and landlocked Atlantic salmon). That is quite a smorgasbord of desirable species! The State stocked the lake on November 1, 2022 with 500 13-inch brook trout in anticipation of the upcoming ice-fishing season. Those fish are my target this morning. If things go according to plan (which is not always the case, I will admit), the brook trout will be schooling in the immediate vicinity of the boat launch where they were released four days earlier. The hatchery, where they have been living cheek to jowl since birth, has imprinted that behavior in them. In addition, these fish never had to search for food in their lives because it dropped out of the sky several times per day. So, they are just sitting there waiting to be fed. Savvy anglers take full advantage of these behavioral quirks to stack the odds in their favor, before hunger breaks up the school and forces the fish to spread out to look for forage. The lake is open to fishing from October 1 until December 31 using artificial lures only and with the stipulation that all salmonids must be released alive at once. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information.

 

And they keep on coming…

 

I arrive at the Alford Lake boat launch by 10 am. The early-November weather is simply spectacular: air temperature in the mid-60’s with warm southerly breezes and full sunshine. That is about as good as it gets at this time of the year in Maine! I don my waders and walk towards the dock that is jutting out in the water. That dock is a good deal because it puts me 30 feet further into the water without the need to get into it. For the record, the substrate around the launch consists of gravel and cobble without any vegetation. Hence, wading would be fine. One of the campground staff drops by and we have a pleasant chat about camp life and fishing. He confirms that the hatchery people arrived a couple of days earlier to release a whole bunch of 13- to 15-inch brookies at this exact location. I am also lucky to be able to fish from the dock because he will be removing it on Monday. He casually mentions that Alford Lake grows serious brown trout in the 6+ pound range. I quickly file that piece of precious intel for future use…

 

and coming…

 

As usual when wader fishing in the fall, I use an ultralight fishing rod, six pounds test line, and a bronze #2 Mepps spinner. That combination lets me cast the lure way out and makes for a nice fight, even with relatively small fish. I walk to the end of the dock and start casting to the left. I let the lure sink towards the bottom (one thousand one, one thousand two,…) and start a slow retrieve to prevent the spinner from moving too high up in the water column. I also constantly twitch my rod tip to cause the spinner blade to flicker, thereby triggering the killer instinct in the trout below. I hook but miss my first brookie within five minutes, and hook but land one a couple of minutes later. Fantastic, the fish are still there! The bite is non-stop over the next hour. This is not the first time that I experience such a magic situation this fall! I observe that I hook but miss too many fish. I suspect that the hooks on my old spinner are dull. I swap out the lure for a new one and immediately see the difference. The amazing part is that all of this action occurs while I am casting from the end of the dock… I notice that, in response to all the fishing commotion, the school as slowly shifted from the left of the dock towards the front of it. Then, the bite quite suddenly stops as the school of brookies drifts out of casting range. I could get into the water and continue chasing after them, but I am fully satisfied with the results and therefore call it good. This kind of angling is simply the best, with eagerly biting fish, beautiful fall weather, gorgeous surroundings, and the place all to myself. Life is good indeed.

 

That is one gorgeous male!

 

The results: I caught 12 brook trout (largest = 15 inches) in one hour of out-of-this-world fishing action.

 

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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