Fishing for Smallmouth bass on the Androscoggin River in Livermore Falls, Maine (August 18, 2018)

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The Livermore Dam access point on River Road

I continue my summer-long exhilarating smallmouth bass exploration of the middle Androscoggin River (click here, here, and here for earlier blogs on the subject) by checking out the spot around the Livermore Dam in Livermore Falls, Androscoggin County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 11 A5). The public access point is located on River Road off Federal Road (a.k.a. Route 4), just below the Bridge Street bridge over the river in Livermore Falls. Note that this access point can only accommodate hand-carried craft.

 

View of Livermore Dam from the River Road access point. The Bridge Street bridge over the river is barely visible in the background.

This access point to the Androscoggin River is actually somewhat perplexing. The full extent of the historic Livermore Falls emerges when the water levels drop during the summer and the remaining river flow is diverted through the nearby hydroelectric power station, as it is today. At low water levels, the falls dry up and turn into a series of shallow pools that flow over bedrock. It is simply not possible to kayak or paddle downstream under those conditions, which therefore requires carrying or dragging your craft for well over 500 ft to reach deeper waters further below… I’m also assuming that this spot turns into one incredibly angry roiling torrent during periods of high flow, which would make paddling downstream in a canoe dangerous if not impossible. During the summer, though, it is easy enough to paddle upstream from the access point in order to reach the dam. I weigh my options upon arrival and decide that I do want to check out the fishing right by Livermore Dam where the current is stronger and more turbulent. However, I have no illusions about catching big fish over there because past experience has taught me that this kind of habitat (i.e., bedrock substrate with 1-3 ft of water) tends to attract and retain only smaller bass. I’m also going to have to drag my canoe quite a ways down afterwards (and then back up again to return to my car)!

 

That’s the average size of the smallmouth bass one can expect to catch in front of Livermore Dam. The substrate is all bedrock and the water is 1-3 ft deep under these low-flow conditions.

I reach River Road at 8:30 am. The sky is dark and cloudy, and the weather forecast calls for on-and-off rain this morning. I haul my canoe about 150 ft further upstream from the access point into one of the large pools, jump in, and paddle towards the dam. I spend the next hour tossing a 4” pink soft stickbait in all the available nooks and crannies I can find next to the dam and also in several of the larger pools further downstream. My efforts get rewarded by ten smallmouth bass. As expected, all the fish are small, measuring between 8” and 12”. The good thing is that the fish are plentiful and aggressive; the bad thing is that they have absolutely no size to them. However, this spot would be a good area to bring younger anglers with limited patience levels because they are pretty much guaranteed to catch bass. Click here for tips on how to target these magnificent fighters.

 

It’s quite a ways hauling the canoe down (and then back up!) the dry Livermore Falls on the slippery and slimy rocks!

I leave the dam to go check out the hydroelectric power station located on the opposite shoreline of the Androscoggin River. That requires dragging my canoe all the way down to the bottom of the falls. The rocks along the way are smooth, slimy, and slippery, particularly since it has been raining on and off this morning, and I have to be mighty careful not to slip or trip along the way. I paddle upgradient against the strong current towards the power station. Actually, the current coming down is almost too strong for bass. Also, the lay of the river at this spot prevents the formation of “back eddies” along either shoreline where the bass like to hide and rest. I do land three fish, all of which are noticeably larger than the ones I caught by the dam on the other side. They all fell for my new wonder lure for river smallmouth bass fishing, namely a 2” jointed brown crawdad Rapala crankbait.

 

I caught this guy in front of the power station. The current here is quite strong.

I let the current carry me downstream (after I had to cut the line to my anchor which got stuck in between rocks on the bottom…) so that I can fish the area below the falls and the power station. I catch another four smallmouth bass in that general area on my crankbait. And then I see it: a much more convenient public access point to this section of the Androscoggin River! This one is located on Foundry Road (off Mill street in downtown Livermore Falls), on the opposite bank from where I put in this morning. My recommendation is to skip the River Road access point (unless your goal is to fish in front of the dam) and use this one instead to gain access to the power station and the river below the falls. It’ll save you from having to drag your boat over slippery rocks all the way back up to the River Road access point once you’re done fishing!

 

The results: I caught 17 smallmouth bass (largest 15”) in 2.5 hours of fishing.

 

Use the Foundry Road access point if you do not plan to fish in front of Livermore Dam.

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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2 thoughts on “Fishing for Smallmouth bass on the Androscoggin River in Livermore Falls, Maine (August 18, 2018)

  1. Thanks for your continued updates! The Andro is my nomination for “most underrated” smallmouth habitat in Maine. It sounds like you did well with numbers if not size. I have caught (and released) some trophies in the Dixfield/Mexico portions. Because of the heavy metals remaining in the waters from the papermill’s heyday, the Andro is essentially a catch ‘n release trophy river!

    • Fishing the middle Androscoggin River this summer has opened my eyes to the incredible smallmouth bass fishery on this body of water. I’m not done yet. More reports to follow. Stay tuned!

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