Fishing

Recreation Destination - West Branch Penobscot River

 

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West Branch Penobscot River Near Telos Road

 

Today was one of those bitter, cold, I want to stay inside kind of days in Maine. So I had a little day dream of one of my favorite places, the West Branch of the Penobscot River. It flows out of Seboomook Lake just north of Moosehead Lake. This section of the river is extremely remote and is accessed by private logging roads from either the Rockwood area or though the Katahdin Region via Millinocket. There is no need to give you directions just pick up a copy of the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer. I never drive into remote sections of Maine without it. Most of the real estate in this region of Maine is owned by large timberland owners who rarely sell, so finding a recreational property to purchase may not be possible. The good news for outdoors people, these owners do allow access to their lands through the North Maine Woods organization with manned gated checkpoints. They will charge reasonable road use and camping fees so have a little cash with you when you enter the woods. Fishing is good for landlocked salmon in the pools below the dam on Seboomook. Be careful wading the river is deep and fast in places. A canoe can be launched and a wilderness canoe trip from here to Hanibal's Crossing on the Golden Road would make for a great outing. From the crossing the West Branch flows though remote forest to Chesuncook Lake where moose and deer are more plentiful than people. Expect to see them wading in the shallows around a bend in any of the slower river sections.

 

Rafting in Maine

Rafting in Maine

 

The next section of the West Branch begins at McKay Station below Ripogenous Dam. This is the most popular and busy section of the river. This is where many white water rafting and kayaking enthusiasts begin their journey. This is no place for a canoe! Fishing is possible around the power station and occasionally a lunker landlocked salmon is caught here. The whitewater begins immediately below the station and is an exciting experience if you are brave enough to give it a try. The steep canyon walls and rapids through this section make fishing difficult to impossible. The water flattens out briefly at Little Eddy and can be fished from shore with careful wading or from a canoe. This is fly fishing only water from the dam to the bridge at Telos Road and the landlocked salmon need to be 26 inches or longer to be kept with trophy fish caught every year.

The West Branch from Rip Dam to Ambajejus Lake is probably the most scenic section of the river with Mount Katahdin towering above it. The gorge near the dam has a rough trail along the north river bank. Great views of the river and its steep canyon walls along this trail make it worth bringing your camera. Paddlers will be challenged by some of the most technical whitewater in Maine with some class 4 and 5 rapids just before the Big Eddy.

 

Fly Fishing West Branch Maine

Fly Fishing West Branch Maine

 

There is a wilderness campground run by the Chewonki Foundation at the Big Eddy. This can be accessed by car from the Golden Road out of Millinocket. The campground has plenty of sites for campers, tents and a few cabins are available. You can also get a hot shower if you have been in the wilderness for several days.

Below the Big Eddy a series of rapids and dead waters meander through the woods before the river flows into the Pemadumcook Chain of Lakes at Ambajejus Lake. Along the way you pass the southern boundary of Baxter State Park, the Appalachian Trail and many good camping spots. Leaving the lakes at North Twin Dam, the West Branch flows through a series of ponds and dams, around the town of Millinocket and East Millinocket eventually meeting the East Branch to form the main stem of the Penobscot River in Medway. The adventurous angler will enjoy some secret landlocked salmon spots and truly remarkable smallmouth bass fishing in the small stump filled ponds.

 

Landlocked Salmon

Landlocked Salmon

 

Come to the West Branch this year and enjoy the outdoors. A couple of notes before you get here. The upper river water levels can change quickly below the dams so use caution when wading the river. The State of Maine has a ban on transporting firewood in hopes to stop the spread of invasive insects like the Emerald Ash Borer and others. Do us a favor and buy your campfire wood at the camp sites. Finally, if you are bringing a boat and motor and waders, be sure to property clean them to prevent the spread of invasive plants and organisms. Maine has been fortunate to avoid many of the pests that have plagued other areas of the U.S.

If you are looking for a property in the West Branch Region, land, home or camp, check out the listing on this site or at United Country McPhail Realty

If you are new to the area and want an expert to show you the river and other secrets of this part of Maine, click HERE to contact our favorite Master Maine Guide.

Maine's Unknown Piscataquis River

My childhood home was just off the banks of the Piscataquis River in central Penobscot County where I could often be found wading its shores honing my fly fishing skills. I have many fond memories of exploring this little known river. It was here that I hooked my first Atlantic salmon while fishing for trout.

 

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New Fish bypass Howland, Maine*

Visitors to Maine and locals as well, often bypass this river for the more famous rivers to the north and west. When paddling or fishing this river expect to have a lot of solitude. This is a place where you will see abundant wildlife from whitetail deer and moose to daily sightings of bald eagles, heron and a diversity of waterfowl.

 

The Piscataquis River flows from small creeks and glacial ponds in its headwater just south of Greenville for approximately 65 miles to its confluence with the Penobscot River in Howland.  Along the way small river and stream tributaries increase the Piscataquis River volume.

The headwaters are in a semi-remote section of Piscataquis County. This is an area with a large moose population and wild eastern brook trout. The river flows through the woods until it emerges along Route 6/15 in the village of Abbot. From here the river flows through Abbot, Guilford and Dover-Foxcroft. Paddlers should pay attention along the way for rapids and portages. This section of river is sometimes stocked with brook trout. You will see fisherman above and below the covered bridge in Guilford, just move a half mile up or down stream to avoid any crowd.

 

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Piscataquis River in Howland just above the confluence with the Penobscot River

 

From Dover the river flows through Sebec, Atkinson and Milo adding the waters from the Sebec and Pleasant Rivers along the way. Milo to Howland is a beautifully peaceful canoe trip. Anglers will find this a good place to wet a line with abundant smallmouth bass and possible landlocked salmon and brook trout near the mouths of cold tributaries.

 

Pick up a Delorme Maine Atlas and Gazetteer to for more details of the river and to help you find access points and boat landings. Please remember that the river flows through mostly private property, respect the landowners by packing everything out that you bring in.

* "Howland Dam bypass, Maine 1" by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region - Howland Dam bypass, Maine. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Howland_Dam_bypass,_Maine_1.jpg#/media/File:Howland_Dam_bypass,_Maine_1.jpg

Piscataquis Overlook

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The 5.74+- acre lot is situated along Maine's Piscataquis River.  This surveyed parcel has public road access and is just 5 minutes away from I-95, yet is quite private and quiet.  The property has 1200+- feet of river frontage and sits high on a bank overlooking the Piscataquis River.

 

Driveway Entrance

Driveway Entrance

 

 

The lot has been soil tested and there is plenty of room to build a river front home or cottage.  The lot is heavily treed with a mixed growth of softwood and hardwood species.  Tracks of deer, moose and other forest creatures have been seen on outings to the property.

 

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Hard Fighting Smallmouth Bass

 

 

 

 

The lower portion of the property that extends to the river's edge benefits from heavy spring runoff which has deposited nutrient rich soil along the river's edge.  This area in the month of May erupts in green growth of one of Maine's wild delicacies, the fiddlehead.  This fern emerges as temperatures rise and waters recede and are a delicious and nutritious delicacy.  The waters of the river are home to many fish species from brook trout to smallmouth bass.

 

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Matteuccia struthiopteris - aka ostrich fern or fiddlehead

 

The property benefits from being located close to I-95 which makes it very accessible.  It is just 30 minutes from Bangor, ME with its shopping opportunities, world class health care found at Eastern Maine Medical Center and a multitude of dining opportunities.  Bangor International Airport makes travel to far off destinations convenient.  Educational opportunities abound at The University of Maine located just 25 minutes away.

This property is waiting for you to make it your home.  Convenient, quiet and pristine, the Piscataquis Overlook is available for you.  Call today and make this Piscataquis river front lot your new home.