Trout fishing on Willett Brook in Bridgeton, Maine (May 18, 2014)

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good stretch #6 (publish) This is a tale of two brooks…Willett Brook has its source in Denmark, ME. It flows north towards Bridgton and empties out into Long Lake. The State stocks this stream once each spring in late April-early May with around 400 brown trout measuring between 8” and 10”. General fishing rules apply. Click here for more details on the regulations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Willett Brook below Sunset Park

Willett Brook below Sunset Park

 

 

I’m spending about two hours this afternoon exploring Willett Brook between Sunset Park by Route 107 and the Willett Road bridge off Route 302. The brook is dammed right above Route 107, creating a sizable impoundment. The municipal park is located next to the brook below the dam and can accommodate picnics, wading, and shore fishing. Parking is on the road shoulder. Don’t quote me on this opinion, but I’ve got to believe that the State releases the brown trout below the dam, and not above it.

 

Willett Brook below Sunset Park

Willett Brook below Sunset Park

Willett Brook is a gorgeous trout stream below the dam!! It’s about 15-25 ft wide, with substrate consisting entirely of gravel, coble, and boulders. The water is energetic, and flows through dense woods with a full canopy above. I’m not finding a real path but the river is easily accessible from both banks. I also notice that the water has the color of dark tea, presumably because the brook flows through a wetland further upstream. Most of the available pools are not large due to the swift water. Much of this section of the stream is wadable and several spots could accommodate fly fishing.

 

 

 

 

 

Willett Brook below Route 117

Willett Brook below Route 117

But then it happens (remember the tale of two brooks?), imperceptibly at first but then more noticeably. About half a mile or so below the dam, but before the stream flows underneath Route 117, the gradient declines, the current slows down, the substrate turns more sandy, the stream gains depth, and both banks become overgrown with alders and other bushy vegetation. It becomes a pain to wade or move along the banks. Access also gets more restricted due to the encroaching shoreline vegetation.

 

 

 

 

 

Willett Brook below Route 117

Willett Brook below Route 117

The habitat quality of Willett Brook flowing between the Route 117 bridge and the Willett Road Bridge does not improve at all. Wading becomes difficult or even impossible due to increased water depth at various locations. The stream also stops running straight, starts meandering, and widens. It splits into several channels at various locations. In addition, it runs quite close to Route 302, which allows traffic noise to break through at times. I’m struck by the size of the flood plain on either side of the stream. Much of it is quite mushy and contains standing water. I cannot imagine the clouds of mosquitos which will soon emerge from this area… The best way to access this stretch of stream is to park your car next to Willett Road Bridge (coming from Route 302), cross the bridge by foot and make an immediate left on a dirt road. This snowmobile/four-wheeler trail runs roughly parallel the stream (hang a left at the split) and makes it much easier to reach the water at various locations. The large deep pool just downstream of the Willett Road Bridge is worth some attention.

 

 

Willett Brook below Route 117

Willett Brook below Route 117

So, how do I rate the segment of Willett Brook between the dam on Route 107 and the Willett Road Bridge? The first half mile below Sunset Park receives a resounding A for its outstanding trout habitat, easy access, and general beauty of the surrounding area. I give a D to the remainder of the brook down to the Willett Road Bridge due to its lower quality of trout habitat, difficult access, obstruction by abundant shoreline vegetation, more open canopy, and less wadable conditions.

 

 

 

 

 

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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3 thoughts on “Trout fishing on Willett Brook in Bridgeton, Maine (May 18, 2014)

  1. Hi Stan,
    It’s been a while,but I’m still out there fishing in my kayak.
    Whilst fishing Webber Pond in Sweden this past weekend I noticed the large impoundment on Willett Brook,and wondered if Largemouth bass were present?Do you know if there are?

    Thanks,
    Tom (Standish)

    • Hi Tom, I remember seeing that impoundment and asking myself the same question. The answer is that I have no idea about the status of the fishery in that body of water. So, I’m not of much help…

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