Fishing for landlocked Atlantic salmon on Togue Pond, Deboullie Maine Public Reserved Land, Aroostook County, Maine (September 29, 2021)

 

View of Togue Pond from the boat launch at the end of my trolling efforts.

 

Togue Pond is a 388-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 at various intersections. 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. Multiple campsites are available within the Deboullie township for overnight stays. Come prepared to be self-sufficient because the closest store is at Portage.

 

 

A beautiful early- morning view of Togue Pond.

 

Togue Pond is one of only a handful of ponds in the Public Reserved Land that are stocked annually, this one specifically with landlocked Atlantic salmon in the spring. However, it supports self-sustaining populations of the brook trout and lake trout. The boat launch is located right off the gravel road that runs all along northern shoreline of the pond. The launch is spacious and can accommodate trailered boats. A large parking area is located across the road two minutes walking from this access point. The entire shoreline is undeveloped and deeply forested. The pond has an average and maximum depth of 43 ft. and 85 ft., respectively. Its waters are crystal clear and highly oxygenated throughout in the summer. Angling at this location falls under the general fishing laws applicable to the north region, except that (a) this pond is closed to ice fishing, (b) the use or possession of bait fish/live smelts is allowed, and (c) the daily limit on brook trout is two fish. 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.

 

This little landlocked salmon made it all worthwhile!

 

I reach the Togue Pond boat launch at the crack of dawn (5:45 am) in order to take advantage of the “Golden Hour” when salmon can be actively feeding. The air temperature this morning is a chilly 39°F, but the surface water is a relatively balmy 60°F. It is also wind still. As a result, the entire pond is covered by a dense blanket of fog. I’m all for it since it keeps the light levels low, but also resolve to stay within sight of shore so as not to get disoriented and lost… The fog generates a definite “mysterious” feeling, with low visibility and muffled sounds. I push off at 6 am and deploy my lead core line three colors down (about 20 ft. below the surface) with three one-hook, compact smelt-imitating streamer flies tied back-to-back. I get a hit 20 minutes later but miss the fish. Darn! I immediately paddle faster to increase the speed of the flies down below and get a second hit, and a definite hook-up, 15 seconds later. Fantastic, the fish responded as I hoped! The salmon is clearly still half asleep because it gives a limp fight until it reaches the canoe. Then the creature suddenly realizes its predicament, makes two back-to-back jumps, and starts ripping off line. That’s the way to go! The 16-inch fish gets photographed and quickly released back to the water.

 

The sun is rising and the fog is starting to lift.

 

I stay at it for an extra 25 minutes without another hit, and decide to troll right along the shoreline with one color down in 10 ft. of water in search of brook trout. I have now reached the western end of Togue Pond but without eliciting any interest from the local brookie population. The morning fog has started to lift in response to the rising sun. My last attempt at catching a salmonid this morning is to go after lake trout by moving to the center of the pond, dropping my streamer flies eight colors down (I guestimate about 55 ft. down, well below the thermocline), and paddling back towards the boat launch. I arrive at my destination 40 minutes later with a sore butt but without another hit. A breeze has come up out of the west, the fog has lifted, and the pond is flooded with sunshine. I call it good and head back to camp for a well-deserved breakfast, satisfied that I was able to snatch that one salmon.

 

The results: I caught one 16″ landlocked salmon in 2 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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