Click the links below for the most up-to-date fishing news and suggestions from Maine's fisheries biologists.
Before you head for a day of fishing, ALWAYS tell someone where you are going and when you will return. Please enjoy the Maine outdoors safely and responsibly!
Sebago Lake Region
From Fisheries Resource Biologist Nick Kalejs, 8/28/23
Where to fish
September is often a month of transition, with warm, summer weather to start and cooler fall temperatures by the end. As the month begins, action on warm water species like bass, perch, pickerel, and many panfish should remain strong. A few waters to try might include Hancock Pond, Denmark; Highland Lake, Bridgton; or Lower Range Pond, Poland. Once our lakes begin to cool down, many trout ponds in Oxford County can provide good catch rates of brook trout in picturesque settings. Trout Pond in Stoneham is one worthwhile example. Finally, the return of cooler weather usually means more active fish in rivers and streams. The Little Androscoggin River features many access sites and has healthy numbers of both bass and stocked trout.
As the weather changes, so should your fishing strategy. For trout and salmon, fish deeper with sinking lines until the lakes mix with cooler water from top to bottom. Then, look for surface insect hatches and try to determine if fish are coming up to feed.
Remember that general law fishing regulations on rivers, streams, and brooks statewide changed on August 16 to help protect spawning fish. On these waters, anglers can use artificial lures and flies only, while daily bag limits for landlocked salmon and brook trout drop to one fish for both species. As always, check your lawbook before heading out: mefishwildlife.com/fishinglaws
Belgrade Lakes Region
From Fisheries Resource Supervisor Jason Seiders, 8/30/
Where to fish:
Kennebec River (Fairfield, Waterville): This is a great time of year to fish for smallmouth bass on the Kennebec River. Juvenile alewives will be travelling downriver and the bass will be going crazy. The Fairfield and Waterville areas have great access for watercraft as well as bank fishing, so there's an opportunity for everyone. Anything from jigs to topwater lures will work well, and you can expect to catch good numbers of fish if you're taking a float trip!
Central Maine trout ponds: Unless we finally get summer weather, September will bring cooler weather and water temperatures. This is a great time to hit some trout ponds in central and midcoast Maine. Here's a list of ponds where you can expect to catch some nice brook trout (12-16 inches), with some ponds holding some whoppers (18+ inches).
- Tyler Pond (Manchester)
- Gould Pond (Sidney)
- Egypt Pond (Fayette)
- Peters Pond (Waldoboro)
- Bowler Pond (Palermo)
- Kimball Pond (Vienna)
Fishing tip: This crazy amount of water is providing an interesting opportunity around our many outlet dams. Flows from lakes and ponds are usually low this time of year, but this is not an average year. The areas below these dams can be very productive fishing spots for bass and trout, especially if the lakes have juvenile alewives moving downstream. These are great areas to try if you're looking for a relatively easy bank fishing opportunity. Fall temperatures can also bring trout and salmon into these spots. Check the fishing regulations for any spots you might try because some streams have special regulations, and some might even be closed to fishing as we move into fall.Good luck and be safe!
Grand Lake Region
Fisheries Resource Supervisor Greg Burr, 8/30/23
From the beginning of September to the middle of the month, surface water temperatures are quite warm and most lakes and ponds are still thermally stratified. This means that lakes and ponds depths are separated into three distinct temperature zones, with warm water at the top, a rapid temperature change cool zone: known as the thermocline, in the middle depths, and the deep cold zone towards the bottom. Therefore, in the beginning of month, before the weather turns colder and changes the top zone to cool temperatures that trout and salmon like, anglers will have their best luck concentrating on warm-water games species such as white perch, smallmouth and largemouth bass, and chain pickerel.
For white perch here are some waters to try: Molasses Pond – Eastbrook, Toddy Pond – Orland, Flanders Pond – Sullivan, Jones Pond – Gouldsboro, Abrams Pond – Eastbrook, Big Lake – Big Lake Twp., Pocomoonshine Lake – Alexander, Third Machias Lake – T 43 MD, and Second Gardner's Lake – Marion Twp.
For smallmouth and largemouth bass, I recommend the following: Rocky Lake – T 18 ED, Love Lake – Alexander, Grand Falls Flowage – Princeton, Big Lake – Big Lake Twp., Toddy Pond – Orland, and Alamoosook Lake – Orland.
From the middle to the end of September trout and salmon will return to the surface waters and close to shore haunts and are easily caught casting and trolling. Here are the waters that I recommend once the lakes and ponds cool down: For trout try: West Pike Brook Pond – Deblois, Upper Hadlock Pond – Northeast Harbor, Simmons Pond – Hancock, Spectacle Ponds – Deblois, and Simpson Pond – Roque Bluffs.
For salmon try these waters: West Grand Lake – Grand Lake Stream, Donnell Pond – Franklin, Long Pond – Southwest Harbor, Mopang Lake – T 30 MD, and Jordan Pond – Seal Harbor.
Fishing tip: The fishing tip for trout is to try colorful flies and lures such as the Barnes Special, Micky Finn, Marabou Muddler, Montreal, or orange Rapalas.
Reminder: My reminders are that most of the trout and salmon waters have special regulations so check your lawbook for the specific regulations for the water that you are planning to fish. Also, remember that most brooks, rivers, and streams close to all fishing after the end of September. View fishing laws at mefishwildlife.com/fishinglaws or try using the map-based display of special fishing laws, FLOAT, at mefishwildlife.com/float
Tight lines everyone!
Rangeley Lakes Region
From Fisheries Resource Technician Tyler Grant, 8/29/23
For anglers in the Rangeley Lakes Region, September means the end of the hot summer and cool water with fish dressed in their spawning colors. It's a great time to get out and fish.
Places to try:
Anglers looking for a local adventure can try Baker Pond in Carratunk. Baker Pond is a 186-acre, 75-foot deep coldwater pond, just south of Moxie Pond. The easiest access is the Baker Dimmock Road off the Deadwater Road to the Southwestern side of the pond where there is a small hand carry launch. Anglers willing to explore a bit will find good sized wild brook trout and wild salmon as well. Several primitive campsites along the shoreline offer the opportunity for an overnight adventure. Remember to get a fire permit through the Maine Forest Service if you want to have a fire in a primitive site, and respect Maine's private Landowners, always carry out what you've carried in.
Small pond anglers know that September means cooler water on top and one last chance to find some wild brook trout before the season closes in many places at the end of September. For anglers looking to have an adventure in a remote area, Cupsuptic Pond is a great destination. Cupsuptic Pond is a small, shallow 20-acre pond in Oxbow TWP in the very northeastern edge of Oxford County. It is accessible by the Wiggle Brook Road off the Tim Pond Road to a small angler trail on the eastern shore. Anglers who are willing to make the trek will find a robust wild brook trout population with fast fishing for small to medium sized brookies and is an excellent place to bring a beginner fly angler.
Stream anglers know that September means cooler water and brook trout in their amazing bright spawning colors. The Rapid River, the Magalloway River, and the Kennebago River in the western part of the Rangely Lakes Region are well known and highly regarded wild brook trout fisheries that really come alive in the later part of the month. Blue line brook trout specialists should check out the small tributaries to East and West branches of the Swift River in Byron and Roxbury. Nearly all of them have wild brook trout.
Fishing tips: Many of the best fishing locations get a lot of fishing pressure in the fall. Getting there early and being willing to walk further than your fellow anglers should generate more success.
Reminder: Stream anglers should keep in mind that general law on all rivers and streams in Maine after August 15th is artificial lure or fly fishing only, and the bag limit is reduced to one brook trout and one landlocked salmon or less if the water is already catch and release only. All length limits still apply.
Fisheries Resource Supervisor Tim Obrey, 8/30/23
The exceptionally wet summer will ensure that there is plenty of water for fall river fishing below impoundments. Our lakes are full as we roll out of August and into the best time of the year to catch big salmon and brook trout. Nighttime temperatures have been cooling down as well, which should enhance the fall fishing.
We plan to increase the flow at the Roach River on September 1st to the 200-250 cfs range. Brook trout tend to come into the river soon after the gates are open. Salmon follow, but it usually takes an extra week before they start to contribute a significant portion of the catch. Camp owners on First Roach Pond should be prepared to see the lake elevation drop 1-1.5 inches per day with the increased outflow. Keep this in mind if you have boats and/or docks to remove from the lake.
The same is true at Lower Wilson Pond in Greenville. We anticipate increasing the flow to around 120 cfs on September 5th to provide attraction and passage flows for salmon moving from Sebec Lake into Wilson Stream. Camp owners can expect the lake level to start dropping at that time.
The flow at the Moose River below the Brassua Dam will also increase over Labor Day weekend. Attraction flows should be in the 1500 cfs range which is good for the fish and fishing.
Brookfield will be working on the concrete at Seboomook Dam this fall which will require a drawdown of the lake by Oct 2nd. We anticipate flows in the 1,250 cfs range to start the month of September. Flows later in the month will depend on rainfall. It's likely that flows could increase above 1,250 cfs, if we get significant rain. Anglers need to be aware.
Flows at the East Outlet will likely be high in September. The big lake is full, and Brookfield will need to draw it down in September and October. High flows will really move the fish around and a big salmon on the fly in that heavy water will be a great fight. But high flows can also be challenging for wading anglers and certain boats. You can get up-to-date information on flows at all Brookfield facilities on their website: https://safewaters.com/.
For the last several years, the September flows in our free-flowing rivers and streams have been very low due to lack of rain. This year has been quite the opposite. The upper Moose River, the North Branch of the Penobscot River, and other smaller rivers could be great places to explore and to escape the September crowds.
Reminder: In the Moosehead Lake Region, we have voluntary angler survey boxes on most of our major rivers. We ask anglers to fill out a card each time they fish. This information is very important for us to track catch rates and fish size over time, and we have data that goes back into the 1980s on most of these rivers. Angler participation has slipped over the past 5 years, so we are asking to please take a few seconds and fill out a card if you are fishing one of these rivers (East Outlet, Roach River, Moose River) to help us better manage these systems.
Fisheries Resource Supervisor Kevin Dunham, 8/30/23
Lake water temperatures in the Penobscot Region have cooled considerably since the dog days of August, which bodes well for late season fishing. If it's late season landlocked salmon action you're after, a good water to try is East Grand Lake in Danforth, Weston, Orient, and Forest City. This is a water we stock annually with brook trout and salmon and the salmon always appear feistier there during late September than at any other lake in the Region. During a recent sampling at Cold Stream Pond (Enfield, Lincoln, Lowell) we handled several beautiful white perch in the 12"-14" range, mainly in the upper basin. The lake trout and salmon populations also appeared quite healthy and well-fed which should make for some great ice angling this coming winter. If brook trout is more your liking, the trio of Trout, Loon, and Crystal Ponds (all in T40 MD) should be considered once water temperatures cool. With cooler water, brook trout tend to become more active in the shallows and shore anglers can have great success. All three ponds can be easily accessed off the Morrison Ridge Road.
Fishing tip: Cooler water temperatures of September trigger many fish, especially salmonids such as trout and salmon, to increase activity and expand their range in preparation for spawning. Not only are the decreasing water temperatures bringing fish closer to the surface, but fish readying for spawning will begin moving into shallower water as well. For salmonids try fishing in shallower than normal water as well as closer to shore than usual during sunrise and sunset and you may just catch more fish.
Reminder: Part of your fall fishing planning should include becoming familiar with MDIFW Fishing Laws: mefishwildlife.com/fishinglaws - Many waters have special regulations in the fall for extended season action; though most are catch and release only beginning in October, some do allow for late season harvest. Rivers, streams, and brooks also have special regulations beginning mid-August. It's best to know before you go.
Fish River Lakes Region
Fisheries Resource Supervisor Frank Frost, 8/31/23
It has been an exceptional summer fishing season in Northern Maine. The extended spring weather combined with a wet summer, created great fishing conditions all over Aroostook County the past few months. Brook trout have recently been reported caught in shallow lakes that normally do not support trout this late in the season. The prospects for September and those waters with extended fall seasons look promising. Currently, water levels are higher than normal on rivers, brooks and streams; lake and pond levels are at or near springtime levels. The result should be a great recovery year for brook trout after drought years in 2020 and 2021. The early September weather outlook is warmer than normal, however, the high water conditions will temper this and should result in some great fishing conditions through the entire month.
Where to go:
- Fish River, Fort Kent etc. The Fish River and the Fish River Thoroughfares are well known for great brook trout and salmon fishing especially in September. The high river flows the past few months should result in lots of fish spread throughout this waterway. The Soldier Pond stretch, located in the Town of Wallagrass, is a popular area. There are extended seasons on the Fish River downstream of Fish River Falls and the thoroughfares connecting Square, Eagle and St. Froid Lakes.
- Drews Lake, Linneus. Located in southern Aroostook County, Drews Lake supports some great fishing for brown trout, splake, and several warm water species. Brown trout have been stocked here for decades and are reportedly doing well recently. There is a public launch site near the outlet.
- Nickerson Lake, New Limerick. Another stocked brown trout water, Nickerson is producing some great fish lately. Brook trout are also stocked here and provide some great fall fishing opportunity. There is a public launch site near the East end off the Drews Lake Road.
Late summer, early fall fishing can be difficult particularly when trying to locate sportfish that will oftentimes be using much different areas than in spring and early summer. In flowing waters, focus efforts further upstream in watersheds. Trout and salmon often make seasonal migrations to get closer to spawning areas that tend to be further upstream compared to the early season locales when feeding and growth is more important. In lakes and ponds, water quality limitations can force fish into narrow bands of water with suitable water temperatures and dissolved oxygen levels. These depths are generally 20-35 feet for our northern Maine waters.
We continue to ask anglers to consider harvesting salmon at Eagle Lake, northern Aroostook County. There is currently a very liberal harvest rule in place that allows anglers to keep most of their catch. This rule also extends downstream to the outlet, the Fish River (mentioned above in "where to go") as well as the inlets, Fish River Thoroughfares connecting Square, Eagle and St. Froid Lakes.