What You Need to Know to Fish in Maine in July
As we enter the heat of summer, freshwater fishing in Maine can get more difficult.
Warmer waters mean that many species such as brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout and landlocked salmon will move to cooler and sometimes faster waters.
This forces anglers to use more tactics designed to more effectively target fish in these areas.
Fortunately, Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has a cadre of biologists and technicians who have specialized knowledge of the fishery in their areas of the state.
Here we share with you the latest fishing reports provided by DIF&W in hopes of helping you enjoy productive fishing this month.
From Fisheries Resource Technician Brian Campbell: Summer has officially arrived, although things have been pretty cool for the most part. The cooler temperatures have been great for cold-water fish species that inhabit marginal waters around the state. The black flies are gone and the brook trout are hungry. The combination of summer temperatures, cooler water and the disappearance of biting insects is great news for the avid angler.
Most streams and creeks are still home to beautiful speckled trout. Both native and stocked depending on the body of water you are fishing. If you are interested in the stored water, you can consult the stored water on the DIF&W site. All stocked Maine water bodies are listed by county showing date stocked, number of fish, and size range of fish stocked.
Middle Oxhead (T40 MD) is one such pond. It is easy to get to and quite remote. This brook trout water has canoe access and excellent shore fishing. There are also several beautiful campsites along the lake.
If you’re looking for native brook trout, the Penobscot area has plenty of brook trout waters. Waters like B Pond (TB R11 WELS) and Lost Pond (T7 R7 WELS) are best fished with a small boat or canoe. If you are looking in the Baxter Park area this would be a great opportunity to hike and rent a canoe and have a great wilderness fishing trip. For more information on what the park has to offer, you can contact Baxter Park Corporate Headquarters at 207-723-5140.
The DIF&W webpage has great information and suggestions for the avid Maine angler. If you haven’t checked out this page, may I suggest you do. I can guarantee that you will find information that will help you on your next angling adventure.
For good smallmouth bass fishing, the Penobscot River is the place to go. We have received great reports of these spirited fish being caught fast. A local fisherman was fishing bass for the Penobscot in the Greenbush area. He noticed that the two bars he kept for dinner were still pregnant with eggs. Usually at this time of year they are on the nests to protect their eggs. He also noted that the fishing was fantastic for smallmouth bass.
From Fisheries Resource Supervisor Tim Obrey: July and August are not considered good months for trout and salmon fishing, but here are some tips/tricks that might help. The fish are still there, just lower and less active. You will have to bring yourself to their level. Salmon and brook trout like to hang out at the top of the thermocline, that area of deeper lakes where the water stays cold.
For larger lakes like Moosehead, Chesuncook, Sebec, and Chamberlain lakes, this usually means you need to fish between 35 and 50 feet in the summer. Lake trout also like this range, but can often be found deeper. However, the deepest water, say beyond 90 feet, is where small lake trout usually hang out. You don’t need to go that far.
Smaller ponds with deep water (more than 25 feet) also stratify in the summer, but most of these ponds are starved of oxygen in the deeper areas and fish cannot survive there. Don’t waste your time fishing the deep hole. For smaller trout ponds, try to fish between 12 and 15 feet. A thermometer with a cable is the best way to locate the thermocline. Lower it into the water column and watch the temperature drop. This is the depth to start fishing.
July and August are perfect for a family fishing/canoeing trip. The pesky insects have receded and the weather is perfect for outdoor activities. Of course, the Allagash River is the epitome of canoe travel in Maine. The friendly folks at the Allagash Wilderness Waterway do a great job managing the waterway’s river and lakes. The campsites are immaculate and there always seems to be a good flow in the river.
We see many travelers heading to Lake Chamberlain at the start of their journey. The Penobscot River between Lobster and Chesuncook lakes is another good option if you’re looking for a less challenging paddle. The Bureau of Public Lands manages this area and there are lots of nice campsites on the river and lakes. Trout fishing may not be at its peak, but perch and chub will keep the kids busy until it’s time to cook the smores.
Great Lake region
From Greg Burr, Fisheries Resource Supervisor: Summer fishing is here! Great opportunities abound in Down East Maine for warm weather fishing. This is the best time of year to fish for warm water species like perch, bass and pike. For white perch, we highly recommend the following waters: Abrams Pond in Eastbrook, Georges Pond in Franklin, Big Lake in Princeton, Meddybemps Lake in Meddybemps and Second Gardner’s Lake in Marion.
For smallmouth bass, we recommend Branch Lake in Ellsworth, Abrams Pond in Eastbrook, Clifford Lake in T26 ED, Meddybemps Lake in Meddybemps, and Big Lake in Princeton. For largemouth bass, some of the best places to go are Alamoosook Lake in Orland, Toddy’s Pond in Orland, Webb’s Pond in Eastbrook, Crawford Lake in Crawford, and Pocomoonshine Lake in Alexander.
For chain pickerel, we recommend Scammon Pond in Eastbrook and Fields Pond in Orrington.
For shoreside fishing opportunities, we suggest Mariaville Falls on the West Arm of the Union River for smallmouth bass, Simmons Pond in Hancock for brook trout, and the Grand Lake Stream (water reserved for children) for brook trout for children.
Fishing tip: A fishing tip for white perch is to drag a worm behind a spoon. Once you have caught your first trolling white perch, stop and continue fishing there continuing to use a worm and spinner under a bobber or live minnow with a bobber.
Reminder: Remember to always consult your law book before fishing in the above waters as special regulations may apply.
Fish River Lakes Region
From Fisheries Resource Supervisor Frank Frost: Cooler than normal weather and lots of rain recently have resulted in excellent fishing conditions in Northern Maine. Northern Maine has had two dry summers, but the trend in 2022 is for cool, wet conditions; small creeks and streams have suffered from the dry, hot conditions for the past two years, but ponds and lakes are experiencing excellent trout fishing. Now, trout ponds are the first to welcome the upcoming hexagonal hatch, while the big lakes are still seeing surface action for salmon and trout.
A few waters to try over the next two months:
Cross Lake – trout and salmon can still be found in this 2,500 acre lake; anglers don’t target the invasive white perch which was first reported in 2017. A great place to fish from the shore is the public landing stage off Route 161 and Disy Road.
Square Lake – our largest lake in northern Aroostook County, Square is best known for its excellent speckled trout fishing; the hexagonal hatch can be excellent for those looking for a spot in early July.
Eagle Lake – a bountiful salmon population and liberal bag limit (see rules) attract anglers to this northern Maine lake which has over 5,500 acres and a large patch of public land on the east end of the lake . Salmon will always be found in the first 10 feet of water in early July and catching them is the subject of this month’s fishing tip.
Fishing tip: Fishing for salmon from the surface requires a minimum of equipment. Try using a medium weight rod, a silver dodger followed by a 16 inch leader and a fly of your choice. Try a small single crochet pattern (Grey Ghost, Wood Special, etc.) and troll at speeds of 2-2.5 mph. Plus, there’s a liberal bag limit on many waters, including Eagle Lake, so be sure to harvest your catch.