The New England state, Maine, is known for its 32,000mi² gulf where the rivers flow in from the Atlantic ocean. Because of that, many salmon species migrate from the sea waters to the fresh river streams of Maine.
In this guide, we tell you where to go for the best salmon fishing in Maine. Not only that, but we also tell you when it’s most ideal to land a few big ones and what recommended tackle to use.
Let’s dive right in!
1. Grand Lake Stream
Located on the border of New Brunswick, Grand Lake Stream is ranked as one of the perfect waterways for salmon fishing in North America. The stream is about as wide as 98 feet of clear, deep waters.
Additionally, the currents here are strong and the bottom is composed of clean gravel. The stream flows from West Grand Lake that’s upstream from the St. Croix River. All these facts made the Grand Lake Stream a perfect habitat for salmon fish.
As a result, Grand Lake Stream is one of the few remaining freshwaters where you can find thousands of Landlocked salmon. Nowadays, this species is considered native to the Pine Tree State, Maine.
That made Grand Lake Stream the best place for all-year-round Landlocked fly fishing. The summer months are when Landlocked salmon feeding times are at their peak.
2. Fish River
North of Maine, the Fish River flows into five different streams, namely Long, Mud, Cross, Square, and Eagle Lake. This recreational area has long been a natural habitat for Landlocked salmon.
Since it’s a secluded region, the Fish Rivers chain of lakes is cold throughout most of the year. This fact allows salmon to migrate there from the Pacific after maturity. The waters are rich with rainbow smelt, which is the primary wild feed of salmon.
That’d be another reason why Fish River is an ideal location to catch salmon in Maine. Long Lake, specifically, is the deepest one out of the five and is where most of the Landlocked salmon can be found.
Square, Eagle, and Cross Lake are other valid options for salmon fishing too. Due to their strong, cool currents, these freshwaters make a perfect spawning spot for Landlocked salmon.
3. East Grand Lake
East Grand Lake is one of the four richest salmon-filled fishing spots in Maine. Despite it being only 22 miles long, the rocky coves and deep waters created a wonderful habitat for Landlocked salmon to fray in.
Not just that, but the abundance of wild feed there increases your chances of catching salmon. The East Grand Lake also provides you with the opportunity to try out fly fishing, trolling, and spin casting.
Trophy-sized salmon is another guarantee at the East Grand Lake. The biggest Landlocked salmon you may come across there will weigh around 8 pounds. Typically, this salmon species weigh anywhere from 6 to 11 pounds.
From spring until the beginning of summer, you’ll be able to catch 30 Landlocked salmon at most. When the weather becomes hotter, the salmon will move to the deepest parts of the stream where the water is colder.
4. Moosehead Lake
Towards the western side of Maine rests Moosehead Lake. On the map, this lake resembles that of an antlered moose, which is where it gets its name from—though perhaps it’s from the large moose population there.
That’s not the only thing Moosehead Lake is famous for, however. The Lake is also home to seven different salmon species, including Atlantic salmon. Not so unlike the Landlocked salmon, Atlantic salmon simply has different migration behaviors.
That said, Moosehead Lake has a shoreline that extends over 400 miles and is over 75,000 acres of land. Plus, multiple streams, rivers, and ponds flow out of this lake. These facts increase an angler’s chances of catching salmon there.
Moosehead Lake is also a hot location for winter salmon fishing. You can often find shoals of Atlantic salmon swimming right under the ice!
When to Go Salmon Fishing in Maine
The Pine Wood State is a great place for year-round hunting and fishing, but when is it best to go salmon fishing there?
Well, for starters, the fishing season in Maine depends on the zone. In other words, if you’re planning to head up north where the Fish River is located, for instance, you should go there anytime from April to September.
If you favor the South Zone, on the other hand, the ideal months will be the cold ones, mainly, December and January. That’s when you should consider salmon fishing at Moosehead Lake.
Fans of the trolling fishing method should go salmon fishing during the summer, specifically from mid-June to July. Using live bait and lure is sure to help you catch a few Landlocked salmon then.
What Type of Tackle/Equipment Is Recommended?
Since Maine is famous for Landlocked salmon, our focus will be on how to make catching them easy. In this section, we tell you what type of tackle we recommend you keep in mind for your next salmon fishing trip.
For starters, when it’s warm outside, salmon tend to go 30ft deeper into the waters. That’s why trolling with a lead core line or a downrigger is best. Make sure to use copper, silver, or gold lures as well.
On the other hand, fly casting is the preferred method for salmon fishing in lakes and rivers outside of the summer months. During the spring and fall, you’re likely to land some Landlocked salmon as close to the surface!
The golden rule when catching any kind of salmon is to use bait that closely resembles their feed in the wild. This means that lures imitating rainbow smelt and lake herring are most effective.
The main aim of this guide was to direct you to the top locations for the best salmon fishing in Maine. After all, the state isn’t just known for its pine woods and moose, but also for the abundance of Landlocked salmon there. It’s one of the most enjoyable locations for salmon fishing in the U.S. lower 48,
That said, we believe that East Grand Lake is the best place to catch salmon in Maine. The conditions there are most ideal for salmon fray to spawn. Plus, you’re guaranteed to catch more than enough Landlocked salmon in East Grand than anywhere else.
Have fun salmon fishing!