Baxter State Park

Key Species: brook trout Best Way to Fish: wading, bank, canoe Best Time to Fish: May through September MAG: 50 and 51

Description: 202,539-acre Baxter State Park is sometimes called the last stronghold for native eastern brook trout, although the same could be said about the entire state of Maine. Former Maine governor Percival P. Baxter purchased this land and gave it to the people of Maine, as a part of their heritage to be kept forever wild. Baxter gets crowded in summer and campgrounds are often packed, so you should reserve a campsite well in advance.

In spite of the large number of visitors, Baxter State Park is still truly wild. Roads, trails, and campgrounds cover only a small percentage of this vast area, and all of Maine’s wildlife species are found in profusion. Moose, white-tailed deer, black bear, and eagles thrive in the remote splendor of the park. Since hunting is barred in most of the park, the animals are not particularly afraid of humans. Because of this, be sure to respect the animals’ right to peace and tranquillity and do not attempt to come in close contact with any wildlife.

The speed limit on the park’s unpaved roads is 20 miles per hour. No gasoline or other amenities are available within the park. You should write to the park authorities and request maps of the area. Special fishing regulations include a ban on motorboats except on Matagamon or Webster lakes and a prohibition on the use of live fish as bait. Dead fish, worms, and salmon eggs are permitted.

Fishing index: Brook trout anglers will enjoy the great fishing and wilderness atmosphere of Rocky and Round Ponds. Rocky and Round Pounds are easily accessible and hold plenty of brook trout. Fishing from shore or wading is productive. Fly-fishers can take brookies on dry flies, including hairwing royal coachman, Adams, Mosquito, caddis patterns, and small dun variants. Nymphs, small woolly buggers, and small leech patterns are also effective, as are size 10 bucktails such as Edson tiger light, black-nosed dace, and red-and-white. Small spinners can be used effectively here and non-fly fishers take trout on worms. May, June, and early July offer the best fishing in these ponds. Rocky and Round Ponds are perfect choices to take children fishing.

Next, you can take fish all summer in Nesowadnehunk Stream, a fly-fishing-only water. The lower reaches of this stream contain landlocked salmon as well as brook trout, so carry a few Jerry’s smelt for the salmon. Daicey Pond, along the Appalachian Trail, is another fly-fishing-only water. You can rent cabins on this beautiful pond if you contact the park authorities. July sees some of the best dry-fly fishing of the year on Daicey Pond.

Directions: From Millinocket, follow signs for Baxter State Park. This leads you to the parkentrance at Togue Pond. Bear left after passing the checkpoint and at about 1 mile, you will see Round Pond on the right and Rocky Pond on the left. At about 8 miles up the road you will cross the Appalachian Trail, leading into Daicey Pond. About 3 miles after that, Nesowadnehunk Stream bounds the road on the left.

For more information: Contact Baxter State Park.

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Baxter State Park, a Maine park

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