Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing The Kennebago River In
The Kennebago River begins near the Quebec/Maine
border at Big Island Pond in the Township of Seven
Ponds. The river flows thorough an extremely remote
and difficult to access location. It flows through Little
Kennebago Lake and into Kennebago Lake. The stream
flows out of the little lake at a good rate of flow and
continues to terminate at Cupsuptic Lake.
Access is very limited. There are several camps along
the stream that you can stay at with good access but
other than that, you are just about limited to the bridge
area where state highway 16 crosses the stream. There
you can follow a short section of the stream via a dirt
road. There is another access located about eight miles
out of Rangely but it too is short. The camps do charge
reasonable rates and are worth the price.
The entire stream is fly fishing only. From August 15
until the season closes, it is strictly catch and release
The river is noted for its dry fly fishing for large brook
trout. It also has landlocked salmon and a few brown
trout. Brook trout of around two to three pounds are
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Photo Courtesy of David Knapp Photography
The season begins in April but you
cannot really fish until the ice on the
lakes has melted which is usually
around mid May.
The fishing really doesn't begin until
late May with the best coming in June.
Fly Fishing Guide to the Kennebago River
The Upper Kennebago River can be waded and fished
both above and below Little Kennebago Lake. This
area offers great small stream fly fishing opportunities.
It is truly a remote and beautiful area. The lakes
themselves provide great fishing and can be fished
from float tubes or boats.
The early season fly fishing is done mostly using
streamers, nymphs and wet flies. The Kennebago
brook trout are big. Thinking of them in normal small
brook trout terms will really throw you off. The salmon
can get as large as five pounds and put on some very
hard, fast runs. Whenever you are fishing, keep the
size of these fish in mind and be prepared for their
large size. Don't end up loosing a trophy trout or
salmon because you were under equipped in terms of
tackle and gear.
The salmon stay in the river all year unless the water
gets low and warm. They will move to the cooler deep
water of the lakes if that happens. The salmon will
return to the river around the middle of August when
and if they do move into the lake in July. The brook
trout will normally stay in the river but they may seek
the coolest water.
The uppermost part flows through a series of lakes
like areas and pools, runs, riffle section are mixed in
between them. The fish are small compared to the
lower section of the river. It can only be reached by
back country roads and hiking. The stream changes
below Little Lake Kennebago. Access to the middle
section of the river is also difficult. You must walk in to
fish any of the middle section or either stay with one of
the local camps along the river.
There are many named pools along the river. Wading
is possible along the banks of the river in many
places. Again, hiking in is required unless you are
fishing out of a local camp. There are two salmon
spawning runs per year when the salmon swim
upstream to Lake Cusuptic but the fall run is what the
river is noted for.
Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 &12 ft., 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 71/2
ft., 3 or 4X, Streamers 0X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rod:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five or
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Loon Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
Kennebago River Hatches and
Our information on aquatic insects is
based on our stream samples of larvae
and nymphs, not guess work. We base fly
suggestions on imitating the most plentiful
and most available insects and other foods
at the particular time you are fishing.
Unlike the generic fly shop trout flies, we
have specific imitations of all the insects in
the Kennebago River and in all stages of
life that are applicable to fishing. If you
want to fish better, more realistic trout flies,
have a much higher degree of success,
give us a call. We not only will help you
with selections, you will learn why, after
trying Perfect Flies, 92% of the thousands
of our customers will use nothing else.
The river and lakes have a very high
population of smelt. This is the main food
supply that keeps the salmon fishery in
The river has a very good Green Drake
hatch. It starts in late June. Blue-winged
Olives are also present and hatch both
early and late in the season.
There are several species of caddisflies
that reside in the Kennebago River and
Lakes. The Green Sedge, Cinnamon and
Spotted Sedges, Little Black Caddis and a
mixture of several other species hatch
during the summer and early fall.
Dragon Flies and Damsel Files both exist,
mostly in the areas of slow moving water.
Imitations of the nymphs of either one
produce during the summer.
Terrestrial insects including grass
hoppers, ants and beetles are found along
the stream and provide food for the brook
trout when they get blown or fall into the
The Black and Gray Ghosts streamers are
the favorite local flies for the salmon. The
Kennebago Mudler is also a favorite fly.
We think our Perfect Fly Mudler Sculpin is
a great fly for this river.
The locals don't fish that much during July
and August but there are plenty of trout to
Fall is certainly the most scenic time for fly
fishing the Kennebago River. The month
of September brings on the fall run of
Kennebago River Fly Fishing Report:
04/27/14 The river still has lots of ice and
needs to warm up some more.
Fishing Report Updated 06/29/16
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|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (email@example.com)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
05/04/14 Not much signs of ice out but
warmer weather is in the forecast and it
won't be long.
05/11/14 Reports are anglers have fished
Greenvale Cove but it is a waiting game for
snow and ice out everywhere else.
05/18/14 No reports from customers but
three ordered flies for trips they have
planned to fish this past week.
05/25/14 Several orders from customers
have come in for those planning to fish
later on but no reports from anyone
fishing. Water levels are still high but it is
warming up some.
06/01/14 Expect a little cooler weather
this coming week and a chance of rain
most days. Anglers had a decent
Memorial Day weekend. The stream
will probably rise back up some.
06/08/14 Good conditions and stream levels
and anglers catching trout. A few hatches
have started. Send us an email and we will
give you a recommended fly list.
06/15/14 Lots of aquatic insects hatching.
Several species of mayflies, lots of caddis
and others. More rain is needed to bring the
salmon in the river.
06/22/14 Good conditions but no salmon
yet. It could use some more water. Lots of
hatches, mostly Cinnamon and Green
07/06/14 High water levels have been a
problem. No reports from customers for the
07/20/14 Recent cooler weather has helped
the fishing some. Large hatches of caddis,
both Cinnamon Sedges and Green Sedges
are taking place.
07/27/14 Mixed report have come in this
past week, mostly due to varying water
levels. Fishing has only been fair, at best.
08/10/14 Higher flows have been a problem
with fewer fish are being caught as a result.
The water is still cool and hatches are still
occurring. Hopefully, conditions will improve
later this week.
08/17/14 The flows are down and fishing
has been good for the past week. One
customer ordering more flies reported
catching some nice fish.
08/31/14 A few fish are still being caught
and the cooler weather is helping. Get
ready for the best fishing - early fall.
09/14/14 Two customers reporting some
good catches this past week. Cooler
temperatures and good water levels have
turned the fish on.
10/05/14 Lots of salmon have been caught
but low water has been a problem for most
of September. Trout and salmon fishing
season is now closed.
10/12/14 •From Big Island Pond
downstream to Cupsuptic Lake: S-5, S-
17, S-22. From August 16 – September
30: S-5, S-7. Tributaries: S-5 and closed
to fishing after August 15.
•The Logans, so called, from upper
(Mahaney) dam upstream to red markers:
Open to fishing April 1 – September 30: S-
5. Daily limit on trout: 5 fish. Minimum
length limit on trout: 6 inches, only 1 may
exceed 12 inches.
•From lower (Kennebago Falls) Dam
downstream to Cupsuptic Lake: S-1.
•That section of river in Lower Cupsuptic
Twp. known as the spawning beds
approximately 200 yards long between
red markers: Closed to fishing after
04/22/15 Season is open but no reports
from anyone fishing yet. No ice out reports.
05/06/15 Ice is finally melting fast. No
smelt have shown up yet. Only hatches
are smalll BWO but this will change fast.
05/20/15 The water has warmed up into
the low fifties and a few hatches, including
Little Black Caddis, Blue Quills and Quill
Gordons have started.
05/27/15 Hendricksons/Red Quills should
start showing up, if not already. Good water
temps and levels.
06/10/16 Full blown hatches of
Hendricksons/Red Quills, Blue-winged
Olives, Little Black Caddis. Great conditions.
06/17/15 Stream levels are up near normal
for this time of the year. Add Golden and
Little Yellow stoneflies to the fly list.
07/01/15 High water levels have been a
problem but otherwise, conditions are good.
Lots of big drakes showing up.
07/08/15 Stream levels and weather are
both in good shape for the coming week.
07/22/15 Customers are reporting catching
lots of trout and great conditions. Good
weather and stream levels.
08/05/15 Good weather, good stream levels
and good hatches continue. Great Conditions.
08/12/15 Salmon and brook trout being caught.
It is hot but the water is only hitting 61 F.
08/19/15 Slightly cooler weather is helping.
No reports from anglers this past week but
conditions including hatches remain good.
08/26/15 Raining right now but clear for the
rest of the week. Lots of trout being caught
and lots of anglers making and planning trips.
09/02/15 It didn't stay cool very long and
there's little chance for rain for the next week.
Two good reports from customers came in this
past week. They caught a lot of trout.
09/09/15 Two more good reports from
customers from this past week. You better
get it while the gettins good. Check out our
09/23/15 Even though lots of rain has fell
since the last report, the stream levels are still
in good shape and anglers are catching fish.
10/28/15 Season is closed. We just wanted
to let you know we added a map in the upper
left hand corner of this page.
Kennebago River Map
02/10/16 Let us help you plan your next
Kennebago River fly fishing trip. We have
taken samples of the insects using
professional equipment and know, what we
are doing. It isn't guess work.
04/11/16 The river is high and still has a lot
05/04/16 The season is open and the
weather nice and warm with the ice gone and
a good bit of rain in the forecast. Highs in the
fifties and the water temperature around 43
degrees but warming up fast.
05/18/16 Good conditions exist with B.W.Os,
Quill Gordons, Blue Quills, little Black Caddis,
American March browns and Hendricksons.
06/01/16 We are getting some good reports.
The weather is fine, lots of insects hatching.
We will be glad to help you with fly selections.
06/15/16 Lots of fish are being caught with
good weather and good stream conditions.
Lots of aquatic insects are hatching.
06/29/16 Stream levels a little low but
otherwise in good shape. Little Yellow
stoneflies, 3 species of caddis, Light Cahills,
Sulphurs, and other insects are hatching.