Regional Fishing Informaiton - Region D (The Rangeley Region)
MDIFW Regional Office
689 Farmington Road
Strong, ME 04983
The Rangeley chain of lakes in Western Maine is one of the best areas in the state for salmon and brook trout fishing. The brook trout are native to the area; the salmon (and the smelt they feed on) were introduced over a hundred years ago. Before the salmon were introduced, brook trout gorged on blueback trout and grew to tremendous size. The bluebacks disappeared after the turn of the century, but this chain of lakes still provides salmon and trout fishing that attracts anglers from far and wide. The Rangeley chain of lakes, which form the headwaters of the Androscoggin River, lie in western Maine’s mountains. The Appalachian Trail runs south of the lakes and offers views of the lakes and mountains to the north, as well as providing access to a series of isolated trout ponds.
The Rangeley Region pioneered fly fishing, and many of the waters, especially the rivers and smaller trout ponds, are limited to fly fishing today. On the larger lakes, trolling with flies, lures, or sewed-on bait is the preferred angling method. A number of waters, particularly stocked trout ponds, have less restrictive regulations and provide great opportunities for family fishing.
Rangeley village, located on the northeast shore of Rangeley Lake, has a wide variety of businesses catering to anglers. There are motels, inns, and cabins to provide housing, as well as marinas, restaurants, fly fishing shops, and a helpful Chamber of Commerce, which can be reached at 1-800-MT-LAKES or (207) 864-5364.
Rangeley Lake (6,000 acres) is famous for its coldwater fishery. Fishing for salmon can be fast from ice-out through June, but they can be caught throughout the season by trolling deep. For those unfamiliar with salmon fishing, it is worthwhile to hire a local guide. Anglers also regularly take brook trout. Campsites and a boat launch site are available at Rangeley Lake State Park, located on the south shore. Additional launch sites are located in the villages of Rangeley and Oquossoc.
Nearby Mooselookmeguntic Lake (16,300 acres) has good fishing for both wild salmon and brook trout. Since the imposition of restrictive brook trout regulations at Mooselook, as it is called locally, the size of the wild brookies has increased, with 2 to 3 pound fish becoming common. There are three boat launch sites with locations at the end of Route 4 (Haines Landing), off Route 16 at the north end of the lake, and at the south end of the lake. There is also a campground on the east side of the lake that has remote campsites on islands and on the undeveloped west shoreline of the lake.
The Kennebago River is the primary nursery area for Mooselook’s salmon, and provides a famous salmon and trout fishery in its own right. These fish hatch in the river, but eventually drop down to the lake where they put on growth by foraging on smelts. Their return spawning runs in the fall provide excellent fishing. Restrictive regulations, including catch and release after August 15, assure that there is plenty of action and that there is ample opportunity for the fish to spawn.
The Cupsuptic River runs from the Canadian border through wild and scenic mountainous area into Cupsuptic Lake, which constitutes the upper portion of Mooselook Lake. The river is cold year-round, and contains a large population of slow-growing native brook trout that nonetheless provide fast fishing. Remote campsites can be procured from the campground at the north end of Cupsuptic Lake.
The Richardson Lakes, further to the west, hold brook trout and salmon fisheries. These two connected lakes also have a limited fishery for large lake trout. There are public boat launch sites at the north end (Mill Brook) and south end (South Arm), where there is also a campground.
Upper Dam Pool, located between Mooselook and Richardson Lake, is open to fly fishing with restrictive regulations and produces nice salmon and brook trout that are attracted to the flow below Upper Dam. Access is by boat or by foot beyond the Union Water Power Company gate. Upper Dam Pool is open to catch and release fishing during the month of October.
A world-class fishery for wild brook trout can be found at the Rapid River, the outlet of the Richardson lakes. This is a catch-and-release fishery, and trout in the five-pound class are annually caught. There are also fisheries for landlocked salmon and smallmouth bass in this river. The bass were illegally introduced a few years ago and are now caught regularly by summer anglers. This is a remote river, best accessed by boat from the Richardsons or from Umbagog Lake at the lower end. Vehicular access is possible to within a mile and a half of the Rapid River via gravel logging roads from both the north and south.
Umbagog Lake, on the New Hampshire border, has a good fishery for smallmouth bass, with seasonal opportunities for brook trout and salmon.
Aziscohos Lake was formed in 1911 by damming the Magalloway River. This water, located near the New Hampshire border, has miles of undeveloped shoreline. The lake supports wild brook trout and salmon fisheries. As at Mooselook Lake, the new brook trout regulations are resulting in larger-sized fish. There is a public launch site near the south end, and remote campsites on the lake can be procured at the main camping area near the landing. The Magalloway River itself provides an attractive fishery for both salmon and trout. Roads to the portion of the river above the lake are gated, however, they can be accessed by foot. There are sporting camps at the north end of the lake that cater to both lake and river anglers.
The southern portion of the Rangeley Region contains many waters, including the main stems of the Androscoggin River and the Sandy River, that have good to excellent bass fisheries. In particular, the Androscoggin River from Rumford to Jay has an outstanding smallmouth bass fishery with many fish in the 2 to 3 pound class. This section of the Androscoggin, upstream to the New Hampshire border, also has excellent fisheries for brown and rainbow trout and includes a catch-and-release reach. The lakes, ponds, and streams within these drainages have a mixed bag of fish species, both warm and coldwater.
Other notable fishing waters within the Rangeley Region include those in the Dead River drainage. Check your map for waters along the North Branch of the Dead River (which contains brookies) such as the scenic Chain of Ponds for brook trout and salmon fishing and a number of smaller waters, including Crosby Pond, Bug Eye Pond, and Little Jim Pond for brook trout fishing. Try Big Jim Pond for lake trout and salmon.
The main stem of the Dead River below Flagstaff Lake (where there is a rainbow trout fishery) and its tributary, Spencer Stream, lie in a remote area and offer attractive seasonal wild brook trout fisheries. Spring Lake provides opportunities for lake trout and brook trout; Spencer Lake has fisheries for lake trout and salmon. The Pierce Pond area has famous fisheries for both brook trout and salmon. Many of these waters are relatively remote and restrictive regulations are in effect to assure continued high quality fishing.
Further east is the Kennebec River; from Harris Dam on down, fish for brookies and small salmon; from the Forks down, add brown and rainbow trout. There is an especially alluring rainbow trout fishery below Wyman Dam in the early spring. Smallmouth bass are abundant from Solon south and provide an attractive addition to the coldwater fishery. Also, there is a large number of lakes, ponds, and streams flowing into the Kennebec that contain fisheries for salmon, lake trout, and brook trout.
Anglers are encouraged to contact the fishery biologists at regional headquarters in Strong at (207) 778-3322 for additional information on the lakes in this area.