Fishing for brown trout on the Pleasant River in Windham, Cumberland County, Maine (October 20, 2020)


Pretty and peaceful…


The Pleasant River is a relatively short river which meanders through the towns of Grey and Windham. It joins the Presumpscot River in South Windham, Cumberland County (The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 D2). An easy access point is from the bridge on Pope Road (off Routes 4/202). Up to three vehicles can be parked next to the road at that location. I personally like to fish from the bridge all the way up to the Route 302 overpass located about 1.5 miles further upstream. The surrounding woods are surprisingly thick (with local exceptions, including a large cow pasture further upstream), considering that this river flows through a densely-populated area of southern Maine, including behind the Windham high school. I’ve always been surprised by how few people fish this stretch of water in the fall, although the place does get busy on weekends in the spring.


The first brown trout of the morning is a little guy.


The Pleasant River and I are very old friends. I have fished it for trout on and off for 20+ years, the last time about five years ago (click here and here). So, it’s high time to get reacquainted again. This water is abundantly stocked with over 2000 brook trout and brown trout annually, mostly in the spring, with a smaller addition in the fall. I’ve never caught a trout over 14″ in this river, which makes me think that most of the stocked fish don’t survive from one year to the next. The fishing rules are as follows: artificial lures only (i.e., no live or dead bait, no worms and bobbers), catch and release only, and open to fishing from April 1 to November 30. Click here for additional details. One fine reason to hit this river in late October is for the chance to catch and admire brook trout dressed in their glorious spawning colors.


That’s the biggest fish I caught today. Unfortunately, the brookies were not biting.


Even though some sections of the Pleasant River can be fly fished, I find it much more fun and convenient to fish it with a #2 Mepps spinner using an ultra-light spinning rod. This less-punishing equipment allows me to probe many, many more spots on the river which would otherwise be out of reach to a fly fishing rod due the many overhanging branches. One environmental issue which seems to have gotten worse over the years is the high level of siltation and bank erosion. These two interrelated processes cause sections of the stream to by quite muddy and slippery. This degradation takes away from the overall pleasing aesthetics of the place. For the record, the only way to properly fish this water is in waders. Hip boots would be quite limiting because certain spots on the stream are relatively deep, even though other spots are also quite shallow.


Some sections of the Pleasant River are relatively deep, whereas others are quite shallow.


I arrive at the Pope Road bridge a little after 7 am. My truck thermometer reads 49°F. The sun as yet to rise, the sky is completely overcast, and the air is filled with drizzle. I love these conditions because it just feels so “fall”! The water level in the Pleasant River is unusually low for this time of the year, even though we had two soaking rain events a few days ago. I’m glad because this little river can be quite “flashy” after a good rain. I have about an hour and a half to make something happen before I need to head back for work. I’m ready to rumble by 7:15 am. It takes me about 30 minutes to hook into my first trout. It’s an 8″ brown trout. I catch an additional five brown trout over the next hour or so in various locations that have produced fish for me in the past. Surprisingly, I don’t see a single brook trout, which is a pity. When I arrive back at my starting point, I spend the last 15 minutes making several dozen casts underneath the Pope Road bridge. That spot has always produced trout previously but not now. I don’t get a single hit… Overall, I’m satisfied with my experience this morning: the fish were biting, the weather was to my liking, and I had the place all to myself, which is always a nice bonus. I highly recommend spending time on the Pleasant River in the spring or fall to unlock its secrets. Just don’t expect to catch anything big.


The results: I caught six brown trout (largest = 13″) in 1.5 hours of fun and 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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