Key Species: striped bass
Best Way to Fish: bank, boat
Best Time to Fish: June through September
MAG: 23, E-2
Description: Verona Island is set in the mouth of the Penobscot River, at the head of Penobscot Bay. The waters surrounding the island are an unheralded yet productive striped bass fishery. Fishing from shore is limited to the area around the boat ramp. You really need a boat to fish here effectively.
Historic Fort Knox, in Prospect, overlooks the river and Verona Island. The Waldo-Hancock suspension bridge connects the island to the mainland at Prospect, and a shorter, more modern bridge is its link to the mainland at Bucksport. There is a campground on Verona Island near the entrance to the Waldo-Hancock suspension bridge, and Bucksport offers plenty of motels.
Fishing index: Striped bass come to this section of the river in late May. Most of the early arrivals will be school fish weighing 3 to 6 pounds. Later in the summer, mature fish of 36 inches and more will enter the river. When the striped bass are running, you will see a handful of local anglers trolling around the island, but the crowds that haunt the more highly publicized striper rivers are not present here. Another plus is that the island’s boat ramp is ideal, enabling you to launch even a large boat at any stage of the tide.
Most anglers troll with artificials. One popular lure is made from a length of black surgical tubing (any length from 8 to 10 inches will do) slid over a section of wire leader, with a single hook at the end. Other anglers have good luck using silver or blue Rebels. If you fish here in early summer, you can get by with medium-weight spinning tackle.
The deep water near the shore in front of Fort Knox is a good place to begin. You can troll completely around the island if you wish. If you head right after leaving the boat ramp, you can follow Leaches Point, on the left, to the mouth of the Orland River, another good spot. If you have plenty of fuel, you can fish the Penobscot River upstream all the way to Bangor, about 20 miles as the crow flies. A few anglers fish for school stripers in May and June by standing on shore by the boat landing. Lures for this include lead-head jigs with yellow or white bucktail tails, and small Rebels or Rapalas.
Directions: From Searsport, take U.S. Route 1 east and cross the Waldo-Hancock suspension bridge to Verona Island. A state boat ramp is on the left, just before you leave the island to enter Bucksport.
For more information: Contact The Outdoor Sportsman.
From late May through September, schoo-szed striped bass like this one offer continuous sport in the lower reaches of the Penobscot River.