Allagash Waterway

-- Last Updated: Mar-06-09 10:13 AM EST --

I'm planning on doing the Allagash Waterway in late May with some friends. I haven't canoed that far north in Maine this early in the year before and expect I might be wise to solict advice. Fishing? Thanks.

Be ready for cold
Early enough you could still get caught in a snowstorm. Gear up for winter camping conditions. Ice out on the lakes is around mid May or so.

Ice out
Would you think ice out on Moosehead is close to the lakes on the waterway?

not positive
but Moosehead clearing about 3 to five days before Eagle lake does rings a bell. Should be fairly close in any case. Like I said be ready for cold water/air. Can get just about any sort of weather that time of year. But it’s guaranteed that the water will be only just above freezing at best.

Cold is better than bugs

– Last Updated: Mar-06-09 10:14 AM EST –

Last year I did the 100 Mile Wilderness with a buddy, it was the same time of year, late May, and it was a great experience. I prefer cold to bugs.

Ice out on Moosehead is variable

– Last Updated: Mar-06-09 11:40 AM EST –

but the last two years its been around May 20th.

Some of the smaller lakes go earlier.

Last year Moosehead was frozen solid on May 11th but Lobster completely clear on the 11th. Chesuncook was somewhere in between..partly clear in shallow areas but not entirely for four or five days.

At any rate you will have ice free water, its going to be too early for biting bugs and water levels ought to be fine as there is good snowpack here.

Be ready for icky weather. It may spit snow/rain.

Wind has alot to do with how fast the ice clears..

And its wise to wear at least a wetsuit.

Wet suit
A wet suit, really? Good chance I’m going swimming or are we talking spray?

Not a good chance you will go swimming
but there is always a possibility. Better to be safe.

Plus you can have much more fun in Chase Rapids if you know any capsize won’t lead to hypothermia.

I neglected to point out that the roads in May are less than perfect. May be mudholes huge ruts and washed out culverts. The ground needs to drain before the crews can repair the roads, and if you are on roads not used for logging now, that may not happen.

They way out of that? Don’t do your own shuttle. Shuttle services are worth it. Those guys know the local conditions and ways to get around any difficulties.

Bring your mittens
Man up, nancy boy. Plan for the worst and hope for the best. The Allagash in spring will eat your lunch.

you gotta be kidding!

– Last Updated: Mar-06-09 8:58 PM EST –

We do the St John almost every year mid May and thats alot harder than the Allagash (no lakes) and so far we have emerged at Big Rapid with lunch and too much food.

But all are wetsuited and with good warm footwear.

You will be coldest at camp for sure. Toque, wool shirt, wool pants, and mittens will be the fashion show

Moosehead Ice Out.

– Last Updated: Mar-07-09 9:42 AM EST –

Ice out has been later the last few years. Not sure why with all the global warming or whatever, but May 7, 2008 was iceout for Moosehead in 2008. Usually by Mom's Day you are okay.

See this website and the 2009 edition for updates.

There are also some real time webcams of some of the lakes up north that you can check out.

I have also gotten sunburned and went skinny dippin in the headwaters of the Aroostook during an 85 degree F day the first few days in May, 5 years ago. So be prepared for the extremes.

late May water temps…

– Last Updated: Mar-28-09 10:17 PM EST –

Hey as far as air temps and the very few hatching blackflies, late May "CAN BE" as good as it the lattitude of the northern portion of Baxter, I love that timeframe...but spring in northern Maine is always a bit fickle. Once the sun sets though it's usually still cold at night. However as you might suspect..water temps are something else....rather cold, but NOT unfishable. Nymphs do well, but as you have to get it to their level cuz they won't move much until late afternoon, and even then..anything near the top/film is usually little trout...but they taste the best! Ski clothing(PolarMax & fleece) or good whitewater layering never sits in the drawer for more than 5-6 months up here.