Fishing for smallmouth bass on the Kennebec River in Waterville, Maine (August 3, 2019)

View Map


The entrance to the municipal park on Front Street is clearly marked.


My goal today is to check out the smallmouth bass fishing on the Kennebec River at the dam located upstream of the Ticonic Falls Dam in Waterville, Kennebec County, Maine (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 76 [Waterville/Winslow] B2). This spot can only be accessed by putting in a hand-carried craft at the foot of the “Two-Cent Footbridge” (also known as the Ticonic Footbridge) located at the Head of Falls municipal park on Front Street in downtown Waterville. The dam I want to check out is about three quarters of a mile further upstream.


The put-in is located next to the “Two-Cent Footbridge” that spans the Kennebec River.


I arrive at the park around 1 pm and am surprised to see that I’ve got the place pretty much to myself. We have been enjoying a great Maine summer so far and today is no exception: the air temperature is in the mid-80’s with low humidity, the sky is mostly sunny, and a stiff southwest breeze easily pushes me upstream. The water current is noticeable but certainly not excessive. The depth of the water between the foot bridge and the dam varies from 2 ft to 6+ ft. The water feels like bathwater and must be in the low 80’s. As I paddle upstream towards the dam, I troll using a 4” floating Rapala fish, which catches three small bass. Mmm, I’ve seen this pattern before on the Kennebec River (click here and here for examples) and it doesn’t bode well.


This guy told me that some big bass are hiding in the spillway channel…


The dam itself is an old-looking structure. To the extreme left (looking upstream), a 20-ft section of the wooden flashboards placed at the crest of the dam to hold back the water appears to have been ripped away, allowing the Kennebec River to violently spill over and create interesting currents below. However, a quick visual inspection shows that the water depth in that general location is just too shallow (mostly < 3 ft) to my liking. I turn around and paddle towards the power station located to the extreme right (again, looking upstream) of the dam. That neighborhood appears much more inviting. It looks like the long spillway channel was originally blasted out of the native bedrock, creating a straight passage about 400 ft long, up to 100 ft wide, 4 to 6 ft deep, with multiple current seams and a hard bottom: ideal smallmouth bass habitat!


Yup, there’s bigguns down there. Note the water spilling over the dam in the background.


The action is immediate and essentially non-stop over the next hour and a half. The first couple of fish are similar in size to the little guys I caught earlier when paddling up to the dam. Then, shortly thereafter as I’m playing with my “wacky worm” on the surface in the current, a large bass rises from the bottom, grabs the lure in front of me, and dives back down at full throttle! Holy mackerel, there’s bigguns in here!! He’s a healthy-looking 17 incher. I’m really excited because big fish like that don’t just appear out of nowhere; where there’s one, there’s more. The sweet spot in the channel is along the vertical cliff wall where the water is actually flowing upstream back towards the power station. I spend about one hour circling around and around in this large whirlpool catching fish after fish on my soft 4″ pink stickbait.


Big Daddy was the biggest of them all this afternoon and fought like crazy!!


The majority of the bass are on the smaller size (8” to 12”), but enough exceed 14” to keep things interesting and challenging. The largest fish this afternoon is an 18” brute which gives me a stone-hard fight, including multiple jumps and much line-ripping. It doesn’t get any better than this! The scary part is that the hook falls out of his mouth as soon as he plops into the canoe! I also catch a 17” bass which, during the fight, spits out a … 4” pink soft stickbait. Unbelievable! That must have been one of the larger fish I hooked, fought, but missed earlier in the afternoon. Boy, these creatures are such gluttons.


Overall, I was mighty impressed with the quality of the habitat and the smallmouth bass fishing at this location on the Kennebec River. The river isn’t known to consistently produce quality smallmouth bass (unlike the Androscoggin River or the Penobscot River) but this spot shows that “secret” bass fishing holes do exist if one is willing to put in the effort to find them! Best of all, I had this location all to myself for the entire afternoon…


The results: I caught around two dozen smallmouth bass (largest: 18”) in 3 hours of fun and fast-paced 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.


~ ~ ~ ~ ><« ({(« º >

Related Posts:

Digiprove seal Copyright protected by Digiprove

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *