Key Species: brown trout, brook trout
Best Way to Fish: wading, bank
Best Time to Fish: June through September
MAG: 31, between B-5 and C-5
Description: This specially regulated river has good fly hatches and few fly fishers. Some sections are too deep to wade, but can be fished easily from the bank. Most Maine anglers pass right by this river on their way to the storied waters of the north woods. Expect lots of solitude. In Guilford, a mile-long public lane bounds the river. You can sit on a bench and watch for rises, as the British gentry did a century ago.
Fishing index: The Piscataquis River is a genuine success story for brown trout. In years past, the river was stocked with brook trout, but few fish survived the warm summer temperatures. Since their introduction, brown trout have managed to carry over, and annual stockings have kept the population at a maximum. Brown trout up to 15 inches are common. Be sure to fill out a card at the angler survey box by the Maine Route 23 bridge; your input is valuable.
In May, when the red quills are hatching, red quills, Hendricksons, or small dun variants will take fish. Try dry-fly fishing with small dun variants if no insect activity is present. In May and early June, a few variants should be all you need for dry flies. Later, caddis flies begin to hatch and any caddis imitation will be effective. The author once hooked and lost a mighty brown trout here when the current pulled his line at the end of a cast and submerged his caddis imitation. The fish had struck during the line pickup.
If dry flies do not do the trick, try using single-hooked bucktails. Because of the many brook trout, an Edson tiger light is a good choice. Browns love this fly, too. If the water is high, use a sinking fly line. Otherwise, stick with a floating line. Cast quartering upstream and let the current take the fly down- stream. Hesitate at the end of the drift. Let your fly hang in the water and give the rod a few twitches. This will sometimes spur a reluctant trout’s aggressive tendencies. Use a weight-forward fly line here, since you may need to make long casts in order to reach fish out past the midpoint of the river.
Although local anglers fish here with small spinners and spoons, the author has seen few fish taken in this manner.
Directions: From Dover-Foxcroft, take Maine route 15 west toward Guilford. Turn left at the intersection with Maine Route 23 in Guilford, and park by the bridge. You can find fish both upstream and downstream from the bridge.
For more information: Call the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife Regional Headquarters in Greenville.
Photo Gallery of Piscataquis River
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