Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Guide for the Penobscot River Maine
The river is near Maine's highest mountain, Mount Kathadin. It is sometimes visible in the
background. The stream flows mostly through forest. The area is known for its wildlife
which includes eagles, bear, deer and moose.
This isn't a very easy river to fish. It has just about every type of water that's imaginable.
You could use about every techniques and method of fly fishing that exist in the river
depending on where you fished and what you fished for.
Although the season starts the first of April, the ice may not be melted at that date. It is
usually a little later when the smelt run gets underway before the fishing gets hot. During
the smelt run, salmon usually take streamers that match the smelt eagerly. This can
provide some of the Penobscot River's best action.
The West Branch section below the Ripogenus Dam downstream to the Abol Bridge is a
very rough stretch of water. It provides great wild, landlocked salmon fishing but is tough to
fish by boat or from the bank. It also provides some great brook trout fishing. The water
changes from large rapids to long sections of riffles and runs with deep pools between
sections. This section of the river has a lot of white water rafters but they don't bother the
fishermen as much as you would think. Kayakers and rafters out number anglers by a large
The water in the West Branch stays cool all summer long. Even though there are many
rapids and sections of water that is impossible to wade, there is also sections that are easy
to wade. This is a big river and one could wade for days and not fish the same section
twice. Beware of the areas that are dangerous to wade and beware of the releases from
the dams on the rivers. They can change the flows quickly.
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Penobscot River Maine
Photo Courtesy of Dennis McCarthy