13 Fishing Charters
Top Maine Destinations
Top Fishing Charters in Maine
Fishing in Maine
Are you ready for a vacation in Maine fishing to your heart's content? Get away from the daily grind, and come to the Pine Tree State up in the northeast, known for its Lobster, blueberries, and excellent fishing opportunities.
Maine is one of the few places in the US where you can fish for “pure” Trout – in 300 bodies of water here, the Trout population has never been stocked! In fact, you’ll find more Brook Trout here than anywhere else in North America. It’s not all about the Trout, though. Landlocked Salmon can be found in most rivers and lakes – it’s easy to see why it’s Maine’s official fish!
Due to the very different seasons throughout the year, Maine gives anglers the unique opportunity to fish a variety of techniques. In the spring and fall, you’ll find a multitude of anglers fly fishing the lakes, rivers, streams, and brooks. In the summer, head offshore and deep-sea fish for Bluefin Tuna. In the winter, when temperatures can reach -4°F, ice fishing is all the rage.
Maine Fishing Spots
Where, and when, you go fishing in Maine depends on your favorite fishing style. There are over 37,000 miles of rivers to choose from, and over 2,500 lakes. This allows anglers to target a variety of freshwater species. There are some spots which are just for fly fishing, and some, like Haley Pond Outlet, which is just for young anglers under the age of 16.
You’ll want to head down south for plenty of Brown Trout, Salmon, Smallmouth, Largemouth, and Striped Bass. The nutritious waters help the fish reach good sizes – 4 lb Smallmouth Bass is common, and you might even hook a 20 lb Brown Trout if you’re lucky!
Sebago Lake is the deepest lake in New England, and the second largest lake in Maine. This is the lake for catching Salmon – after all, Salmo salar Sebago is the Italian name for Landlocked Salmon. As well as Salmon, expect to catch large Togue and some of the best Smallmouth Bass in southern Maine. There’s also Yellow Perch, American Eel, Northern Pike, Black Crappie, and more in this lake.
For both Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, Cobbosseecontee Lake is the place to be. Plentiful and big, the Bass here are worth the trip. For Largemouth Bass, head toward Lilly Pond on the lake, and for Smallmouth Bass, ride over to Horseshoe Island. May to June is the best time to fish here. You can also catch Pumpkinseed Sunfish, Redbreast Sunfish, White Perch, Brook Trout, and Brown Trout.
There’s a lot of fishing opportunities in central Maine. You can fish out of many of the towns along these famous rivers.
Heading up to the northeast, this is one of the most famous rivers in Maine. Brown Trout of 20 inches are common, but 30” fish have been caught, as well! The estuaries off of Kennebec River provide the perfect place for many saltwater fish to come inland to spawn. The mix of freshwater and saltwater allow for excellent fishing. Throughout the year, you can target Shortnose and Atlantic Sturgeon, Atlantic and Landlocked Salmon, Striped Bass, Carp, Alewife, American Shad, and plenty more.
This chain of lakes consists of the North Pond, East Pond, Great Pond, Long Pond, and Messalonskee Lake. Those fishing the Belgrade Lakes have the opportunity to target Walleye, Yellow Perch, Black Crappie, Bullhead, Sunfish, and plenty more. The star attractions though are Landlocked Salmon, Brown and Brook Trout, Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike, and White Perch. For the best chance of catching Salmon, the Long Pond is known for being a hot spot, with 7 lb Salmon being the norm.
The lakes in East Maine are top spots for your fishing vacation. Get off the beaten track and fish the St. Croix River, Third Machias Lake, Meddybemps Lake, Big Lake, Megunticook Lake, as well as the bigger ones mentioned below.
West Grand and East Grand Lakes
These huge waters are fantastic for Salmon, and are big enough to make anglers feel like they have the place to themself. You’ll need to time your trip here well, as ice-out can occur as late as May. That gives you until the end of June to fish the surface before the fish head into deeper waters for the summer. Don’t worry though, they’ll be back up top by September! This is a great spot for ice fishing in winter, too.
Northeast to Northwest
In the northeast of Maine is Aroostook County. Known for its potato crop, “the Country” has a rich Acadian culture. There are major limestone waters here, which have historically had little fishing pressure. Head over to the Meduxnekeag River, Prestile Stream, and parts of the Aroostook River for huge Trout.
Located in the Maine Highlands, Moosehead Lake is the largest lake in the state and a world-class salmonid fishery. You’ll catch plenty of Brook Trout, Landlocked Salmon, and Togue, as well as Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike, White Perch, Yellow Perch, and more. All of this, with jaw-dropping scenery surrounding you and plenty of space to wet your lines creates the perfect fishing experience.
In the northwest of Maine, close to the New Hampshire border, is Rangeley Lake. This is a fantastic spot for Landlocked Salmon, where an 8 lb hook-up is possible. There are also Brook Trout, Togue, Lake Whitefish, and Bullheads here.
Off the coast of Maine, the fishing changes dramatically. Lobster is a huge part of the fishing in Maine, and can be harvested year-round. Head out of Portland and plenty more coastal ports to target huge trophy-sized Bluefin Tuna, some reaching 900 pounds! When riding out, you also have the opportunity to see humpback, finback, and minke whales. How far you want to head out will dramatically change what you can catch.
Closer to shore, Cod, Hake, Haddock, and Pollock are all regularly caught. Head a little further out, and you can bottom fish for Halibut and Monkfish too. Offshore fishing is great for Mako, Blue, and Porbeagle Sharks, which are usually tagged and released.
Maine Fishing Tips
When fly fishing, choose a shorter rod for the best maneuverability. You’re less likely to catch your line on branches and bush.
From April to June, most of the fish can be found along the surface. They retreat to deeper, cooler waters in the height of summer, so downriggers are needed to reach them during this period. Trolling is perfect before the summer and in the fall.
When ice fishing, wrap up warm! You’ll need to check your traps at least once an hour. For bait, worms, crayfish, or small minnows work well.
Need to Know
There’s a saying in Maine that if you don’t like the weather, don’t worry, just wait 5 minutes and it will change! Just look at the seasons – the temperature in the summer can reach 77°F, whereas the winters can reach -13°F in the northernmost parts! Dress appropriately, and be ready for changes in the weather at a moment’s notice.
Every angler over 16 years old will need a Maine fishing license, kept on their person at all times. Locals can choose a fishing-hunting combination license, and non-residents can get a license for one, three seven, or 15 days.
Any Bluefin Tuna you catch that is over 73 inches is legally the property of the boat, and will be sold commercially. For everything else you catch, there are limits on how many you can keep – your charter captain is the best source of information and help on this.
There are also laws on the gear you use – how many lines can be in the water, and even areas you can fish using certain techniques.
Whatever your skill level, there’s a fish in Maine with your name on it! Spend a little time in Maine fishing the lakes and rivers, and you'll feel a world away. You can test your skills in a range of ways, all to a beautiful backdrop of mountains and forests. It’s a truly breathtaking location for your next fishing vacation.
Maine Fishing Seasons
There are plenty of ice fishing derbies to partake in from January to March. Moosehead Lake offers a three-day event in January.
Head to the ice fishing derby at Round Pond this month, or the Chocolate Festival on land. Lots to do for the whole family.
Another month, another ice fishing Derby! The Maine Ice Fishin’ Derby and Benefit can be done on all legal waters. Last month for ice fishing!
By mid-April the ice will have melted and the fisheries opened. Get out there and start hooking Trout, Salmon, and Bass.
This is the peak for surface fishing. You can troll the lakes for Salmon and Trout. Maine is beautiful in the spring, with crisp highs of 62°F.
It’s harder to surface fish now, as they start to descend to cooler depths. Grab you jigging gear! Maine B.A.S.S. Nation has a tournament in June.
July is a great month for Mackerel, tournaments, and festivals. Head to China Lake for Mainely Bass tournament and Yarmouth for their Clam festival.
It’s all about the Maine Lobster Festival in August – an awesome Lobster spectacular! Opening night sees the crowning of the Maine Sea Goddess!
Inshore, fish come back up to the surface, making perfect conditions for fly fishing. Fall fishing is strictly catch and release in Maine.
Join in the Somerset Bassmasters Tournament on the Belgrade Lakes. Will you catch the biggest fish?
November is a slow fishing month, so on land join in with the Thanksgiving festivities, like the Turkey Trot in Portland!
Some lakes allow ice fishing before the official season begins in January. Check the ice thickness and regulations and begin fishing!