Smallmouth bass fishing on the Kennebec River, Sidney, Maine (August 26, 2017)

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In this blog, I describe how I really enjoyed chasing smallmouth bass in the stretch of the Kennebec River flowing for about 1 mile upstream of the boat launch in Sidney, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 13 A1). So, I decided to get some more of that action by further exploring the river that flows downstream from the launch. In preparation for this trip, and because the river is an unknown to me, I go on Google Maps the evening before and “fly” over my future fishing grounds looking for potential target areas. And I’m not disappointed! Two sets of structures immediately stand out. The first one are about two dozen small log-driving islands located around one mile downstream of the public access point along the left shoreline of the river. Each island measures about 10 ft by 10 ft and consists of a wooden cribwork filled with large boulders. They were built in the olden days when the Kennebec River was used for driving logs down to the sawmills during the spring snowmelt. Nowadays, they serve as smallmouth bass magnets! The second structure consists of “Seven-Mile Island” located further downstream of the log-driving islands. Both are the focus of our attention this morning.


My son Joel and I arrive at the Sidney boat launch by 8:30 am. The water is just as low as it was last week, and the weather has remained quite agreeable. I’m glad that we’re together this morning. The summer has been busy for him and we haven’t fished as a team in well over two months. We both miss the easy but deep camaraderie we have developed over 30 years of shared experiences on the water. Who says that fishing is only about catching fish! Our plan is to motor directly to the log-driving islands and start fishing them before hitting Seven-Mile Island. I’ll use the lure that worked so well for me last week further upstream, namely a pink 4” soft stickbait rigged “wacky style”.



The structure of the Kennebec River downstream of the Sidney boat launch is different from the one upstream. Certain sections of the river are much deeper, with depths reaching 15 ft or even 20 ft down! The substrate is still quite gravelly, but also contains many more large boulders, some of which are just below the (low) water surface and would gladly take out a propeller if given the opportunity… On the other hand, the water still flows gently downstream, the shoreline is available for bank fishing, the river is perfectly suited for canoeing and kayaking, and the entire place is beautiful with minimal human interference.



Our initial plan of focusing first on the log-driving islands immediately goes to shreds the moment we start motoring downstream. Joel and I just can’t resist fishing the current seams behind large boulders or along the shoreline, and other interesting-looking places. The fishing action, however, is noticeably slower than last week but we both hit our strides and start hooking and landing bronzebacks. It takes about two lazy hours to drift our way to the first log-driving island. These structures do not disappoint. The submerged crib works are fully accessible to our lures due to the late-summer low water level. These provide great holding habitat for the bass. And those fish are at their post and biting! Unfortunately, our time on the water is up when we reach the fifth island because Joel and I need to check out the end-of-season sales at the Cabela’s store in Scarborough, ME in preparation for an upcoming native brook trout fishing trip to Baxter State Park at the end of September. But we are not disappointed. Together we caught 23 smallmouth bass measuring between 9” and 16” and had a wonderful time making memories. Besides, leaving now creates a great excuse to come back at a later date in order to fish the remaining log-driving islands and check out the waters around Seven-Mile Island!



The results: I landed 12 smallmouth bass and Joel landed 11 smallmouth bass in 3 hours of great fishing. As anticipated, none of the bronzeback exceeded 16” in length.


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