Fishing for brook trout on Upper Pond, Deboullie Maine Public Reserved Land, Aroostook County, Maine (September 28, 2021)


Upper Pond has special regulations to protect its self-sustaining brook trout population


Upper Pond is a pretty 17-acre body of water located in the Deboullie Maine Public Reserved Land (T15 R9 WELS) in northern Aroostook County (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 63 A1). This township is situated about 27 driving miles northwest of the village of Portage (by Portage Lake), and 10 to 15 miles as the crow flies due east of the Allagash River Waterway. Access is via a series of well-maintained gravel logging roads. I was concerned about getting lost on this extensive network of roads but found excellent driving directions for Red River Camps which is located in the middle of the Public Reserved Land. It also helps that the directions are indicated by brown “RRC” (Red River Camps) and blue “State of Maine Public Reserved Land” signs. Finally, be aware that the T15 R9 WELS township is located in the North Maine Woods. Access (coming from the south) to this region is via the Fish River Checkpoint where one must stop to obtain an entry permit and pay a nominal day-use fee and overnight camping fee. Numerous campsites are available within the Deboullie township. Come prepared to be self-sufficient because the closest store is at Portage.



It is wind still, and I’m hoping for a strong hatch this evening…


Upper Pond is one of 13 State Heritage Fish Waters scattered throughout the Public Reserved Land that contain either wild or native brook trout. The pond is accessed via a short forest road that goes past the Upper Pond camp site. Vehicles are left behind at a small parking area, and the pond is accessed via a 200-ft. long trail made of slippery logs. Only hand-carried craft can be launched from this location. Upper Pond has a mean and maximum depth of 10 ft. and 18 ft., respectively, and is therefore relatively shallow. The shoreline is undeveloped and entirely forested, with Whitman Mountain providing a nice backdrop. Angling at this location falls under the general fishing laws applicable to the north region, except that this pond is closed to ice fishing, can only be fly fished (i.e., no trolling, and no using live bait, preserved bait, spinners, or spoons), and has a daily bag limit of two trout with a minimum size limit of 6 inches. Keep in mind that, with few exceptions, open-water fishing in this part of the state ends on the last day of September. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information.


I finally catch this little brookie on a bead-head emerger.


I reach the launch site of Upper Pond at 5 pm and eagerly push off in my canoe at 5:15 pm. Finally, after a brutally windy day yesterday, and a nasty cold front moving through the day before, Nature has created ideal fly fishing conditions: no wind, a cloudless sky, and profoundly quiet surroundings… I’m hoping for a strong evening hatch as I have experienced elsewhere in the past this time of the year under similar conditions (click here, here, and here for examples). Unfortunately, a consistent hatch fails to develop this evening. Instead, I only see sporadic rises here and there without any clear pattern. I slowly paddle around the pond for one hour chasing these inconsistent rises using two small dry flies but am unable to generate even a single hit. It’s frustrating because this approach is clearly not working for me and I need to try something else before darkness settles in.


Night is rapidly encroaching and I unfortunately have to leave this peaceful place. Notice the lack of even a light breeze.


I switch my rod to a sinking tip line and tie on a small beat-head emerger fly. I cast out the line, count to 15 to let it and the fly sink about halfway down the water column, and start a slow retrieve. I’m pleasantly surprised when I get a hookup 20 second later! It’s not much of a brook trout, but at least it counts! I’m hoping for multiple repeats but don’t get any other takers. I have to settle for this one fish. I know from other anglers I talked to earlier today that the fishing action on Upper Pond can be fast and furious in the evenings, but not this time around. Night is rapidly falling and I reluctantly leave this pretty location.

The results: I caught a single 11-inch brookie in 1.5 hours of peaceful fishing.

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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