Passagassawaukeag River

Key Species: brook trout, brown trout Best Way to Fish: shore, wading Best Time to Fish: April through June MAG: 14, A-4

Description: This easily accessible river is often too high to fish in early April, because of whitewater resulting from snowmelt. As soon as water levels drop, anglers have plenty of room to fish from shore. Wading is possible, but the rocky bottom is very slippery, so you will need felts or other safety devices. The area below the falls at Head of Tide is tidewater. Most anglers call this river the Passy, rather than attempting to pronounce the full Native American name. Motels and campgrounds are located on U.S. Route 1 between Belfast and Searsport.

Fishing index: Sea-run brook trout enter the river in early spring. These sporty fish can be taken on bait as well as flies. Most anglers use worms, but small bucktails such as Edson tiger light and red-and-white are effective as well. In May, the section above Head of Tide holds stream-run brook trout that respond well to attractor patterns such as the royal coachman. Note that the sea-run brook trout do not enter the river all at once. When the run begins, it can last for many weeks, with groups of fish ascending the river on a daily basis. Sometimes cold weather and high water will keep the fish out of the river for a day or two.

In 1994, 130,890 brown trout fry were introduced into the river. As of the 1996 season, the first in which the outcome of this stocking could be assessed, results look encouraging. Some of these fry may go to the sea and return as adults, as do the native brook trout. Use light or ultralight spinning tackle and light fly tackle here, since the river is really no more than a large stream.

Directions: In Belfast, take Maine Route 137 west for about 3 miles to a bridge over the Passagassawaukeag River. Park well off the road on either side of the bridge and begin fishing downstream. To reach Head of Tide, continue on Maine Route 137 and turn right at the intersection of Maine Route 7. In less than a mile, you will see another bridge over the river. Park on the right side of the road and walk down the bank to the area beneath the falls. Be careful; the bank is steep and often slippery.

For more information: Contact The Outdoor Sportsman.

Passagassawaukeag River Photo Gallery

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