Kennebago River Fly Fishing
The 7th most popular fly fishing river in Maine.
Tuesday 2 April 2019 05:55 GMT
North of Berlin and northwest of Rangeley, the Kennebago River is highlighted by large brook trout, brown trout and some landlocked salmon. The 30 mile long Kennebago River has headwaters up near the Quebec border at Big Island Pond. Most of the river flows through remote, rugged forest that has limited access. On the way south, the river passes through Little Kenebago Lake and then into Kennebago Lake. The tailwater generally has a good flow rate on the way down to the end of the river into Cupsuptic Lake. The entire length of the Kennebago River is for fly fishing only, and the river is catch-and-release starting on August 15th annually. Since the water is pretty cold this far north, the fish don’t really start rising until the end of May. Water temperature is very important here to get the fish to stay and it does take some big flows to get the fish to come up river.
The Kennebago River fly fishing is typically divided into three sections. The upper Kennebago River consists of the stretch from Little Kenebago Lake down to Kenebago Lake that is a couple miles long and has cut banks and riffles. There are eleven pools that are habitat for predominantly brook trout, which is best fished when the water is cooler in the Spring and Fall. The brook trout range from 10 to 14 inches long and weight between 2-3 pounds, so think big. It is easily waded but keep watch for moose.
The middle Kennebago River consists of the section from the Kenebago Lake tailwater down to the first road bridge. There are 20+ pools across roughly 5 miles that are spread between fast pocket water which is popular with the landlocked salmon, which are up to five pounds. There is a dirt road that parallels the eastern side of the meandering river.
The lower Kennebago River consists of the section from the road bridge crossing down to just past the SR16 bridge. This a 2 mile section of sand bars, riffles and some deep pools. This section is the most popular with fly fisherman due to proximity to Rangeley, ease of access and the infamous Steep Bank Pool. There is a dirt road that parallels the eastern side of the meandering river.
The best Kennebago River fly fishing is definitely June. Matter of fact, most locals don’t even fish the Kennebago much in July or August due to it’s short season. In terms of hatches, there is a blue-winged olive hatch in May which is followed by a prolific green drake hatch in late June. As the summer progresses, watch for the various caddisflies, including spotted sedges, little black caddis and green sedges.
Overall, Kennebago River is the 7th most popular fly fishing river of all 14 fly fishing spots in Maine.