The fishing was tough today and most of the bass were on the smaller size
I’m exploring the smallmouth bass fishery on the Stillwater River in Old town, Penobscot County, Maine (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 33 E4). My goal today is to drift down part of this river while fishing the backside of Orson Island. The Stillwater River represents a side branch of the Penobscot River; these two watercourses split off from each other in Old Town and merge back together again about ten miles further downstream in Orono. This drift trip is also unique in that it starts and end at the same location, and therefore only requires one car. For access to the boat launch, drive north on Stillwater Avenue in Old Town, turn left on Fourth Street, and continue for 0.4 miles all the way to the very end of this street (it’s a dead end). The large and spacious hard-top boat ramp, as well as a grassy picnic area, is on the right, with a huge parking lot to the left.
This boat launch is spacious and provides lots of parking space
I’m exploring the smallmouth bass fishery on the Penobscot River in Old town, Penobscot County, Maine (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 33 E4). My goal this morning is to fish a 1.5-mile stretch of river that runs between Indian Island and Orson Island. I have no idea what to expect because I have never visited this section of the river before. For access to the boat launch, drive north on Stillwater Avenue in Old Town, turn left on Fourth Street, and continue for 0.4 miles all the way to the very end of this street (it’s a dead end). The large and spacious hard-top boat ramp, as well as a grassy picnic area, is on the right, with a huge parking lot to the left.
The boat launch by Ayers Island is spacious. The fishing hole is located just passed the half-submerged rock visible in the center left of this picture.
I’m exploring the Penobscot River in the vicinity of Ayers Island, in Orono, Penobscot County, Maine (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 23 A3). My goal this morning is to catch smallmouth bass in the back channel which runs between the mainland and the island, and motor upstream up to the location where the Stillwater River spills over a low dam into the Penobscot River. The outflow of hydrodams represent classic smallmouth bass summer holding habitat (click here, here, here, and here for examples). I don’t know what to expect because I’ve never fished this section of water before. To reach the boat launch, drive down Route 2 north (into Orono), turn right on Island Avenue (just past the Leadbetter’s convenience store) and continue for about 0.1 mile until you hit railroad tracks. Turn right before the tracks and make an immediate left on Union Street. Continue for less than 0.2 miles until you see the access point on the left. The launch is hard-topped and wide, and offers plenty of parking space, as well as a small picnic area.
The central section of the Penobscot River between Orono (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 23 A3) and Medway (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 43 B5) is considered a premier smallmouth bass fishery in the state of Maine, on par with the choiciest locations on the Kennebec River (click here, here, here, and here for details). My focus this morning is on a section of water flowing through the town of Howland below the confluence of the Penobscot River with its smaller cousin, the Piscataquis River. I’m eager to explore this segment because I have never visited or fished it in the past.
Antony’s first-ever river smallie! We celebrated this catch to loud acclaim!
The central portion of the Penobscot River flowing between Orono (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 23 A3) and Medway (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 43 B5) is considered a premier smallmouth bass fishery in the state of Maine, on par with the choiciest locations on the Androscoggin River (click here, here, here, here, and here for examples). The focus of my attention this afternoon is on a section of water flowing through the town of Greenbush. The river in these parts meanders past a dozen or so large wooded sandy islands, which create interesting and diverse habitats that attract large numbers of smallmouth bass.
I’m not finding the depth we need to catch larger fish…
Trickey Pond is a 311-acre body of water located in Naples, Cumberland County, Maine (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 4 B5). The pond is easily accessible via a high-quality public boat launch located at its southern tip off Route 114. Plenty of parking is available next to the launch. Be aware that the paved access road between Route 114 and the pond is quite steep. Also, it is not plowed and can be icy or even impassible during the winter months. That is not an issue this morning because the warmer temperatures of the last couple of days have done a good job melting much of the snow and ice on the pavement. In fact, even though it’s 26°F when I arrive, the temperature is supposed to soar into the low 60’s by early afternoon. The forecast also calls for unlimited sunshine.
The lake is accessed via permissive trespass through this open gate.
Panther Pond is a 1,439-acre body of water located in Raymond, Cumberland County, Maine (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 B2). Access to the main basin of the lake during the ice-fishing season is via permissive trespass through a small private beach associated with Slovenski Camp. To gain access via this entry point, drive north on Route 121 (Meadow Road) towards the town of Casco and turn right on David Plummer Road (look for the discrete Slovenski Camp sign). Drive down that road for about 600 ft. Beware that this road may be slippery in the winter. The open gate to the beach will be on your left. Drive up further for another 50-100 ft. and park your car in the available open space.
The boat launch for our trip is located in the shadow of the historic “Two-Penny Foot Bridge” at the Head of Falls municipal park in Waterville. The dam is about 0.5 mile upstream to the left.
For today’s expedition, Giovanni and I are fishing for smallmouth bass 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 canoe or kayak at the foot of the historic “Two-Cent Footbridge” (also known as the Ticonic Footbridge) located at the Head of Falls municipal park off Front Street in downtown Waterville Keep in mind that this launch is not accessible to trailered boats. The dam is about half a mile further upstream. I fished this spot last year and enjoyed the action and the setting. I hope to repeat that earlier experience today with my grandson.
The bite is slow and the bass are rather small, but Giovani has a good time. Note the turbine house to the left, and the dam to the right.
The target of my fishing efforts today is the Androscoggin River flowing just below the Riley Dam Power Plant in Jay, Franklin County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 19 E5). To reach the public access point to the river, drive north into Jay on Route 4/17 and then turn left on Route 140. Drive for exactly 3.2 miles on this road until you reach the unnamed turn-off to the put-in for Riley Dam. That location is clearly marked by a blue sign next to the road. Plenty of parking is available. Keep in mind that this put-in can only accommodate hand-carried craft as it lacks an actual boat launch.
The water level is so low that launching a trailered boat becomes a challenge…
The lower two-thirds of the Androscoggin River flowing through Maine supports a tremendous smallmouth bass fishery (click here, here, here, here, and here for examples). We’ve come a long way since the 1960’s when this stretch of river was an abused and neglected stinking open sewer, contaminated by untreated papermill effluent and municipal sewage. Following the Androscoggin’s re-birth after the passage of the Clean Water Act in the early 1970’s, Maine’s people have discovered its tremendous recreational potential, turning the river into a regional paddling and angling destination. Residual contaminant levels in fish tissue greatly limits the number of smallmouth bass that are harvested annually. As a result, most recreational anglers practice catch-and-release, myself included, resulting in a robust bronzeback fishery. Keep in mind that this stretch of the river also contains serious northern pike. Although I’m not specifically targeting these fish today, I’ve caught them in the past in this general location as an accidental “bycatch”, which is always fun.