Recently I have had this irrational, unexplanable, idiosyncratic desire to go fishing for lake trout and brook trout in a lake up in the North Woods. I have done a little bit of research, but haven’t figured out where the true hotspots are. Any suggestions?
mostly. Lake trout is pretty much a deep water fish that are more surface oriented for a brief period after ice out. Most time of the year, it's deep fishing (which I don't enjoy much). Brook trout that cohabit in large lake with lake trout take on similar traits as lake trout but can be taken on the top in spring and fall, during a hatch. Large lake trout is a fisheater so it's pretty much fan casting with lures and trolling.
Wild native brookies are generally small but very colorful fish, matching the clear cold headwater streams and mountains. The "experience" of brook trout fishing is not in catching large fish -- 12" is a lunker -- but in the match of the fish's beauty within context of the enironment. Brookie fishing is best enjoyed with ultra light gear -- spinning or (better yet, IMO) fly. Brookie is great eating --pink, subtle flesh. But I don't do much eating since most brook trout streams can be easily overfished by the "meat fisherman."
The native brookie streams in MA are few and best kept quiet about. Around my camp in western ME, big brookie rivers and smaller streams abound but still experience little fishing pressure outside of some key summer weekends.
Where north are you thinking?
"the match of the fish’s beauty within context of the enironment."
That’s a beautiful statement about why to fish.
Regarding lake trout, it’s still something I’d like to fish for, at least once. Even to ice fish, something I’ve never done before. But maybe that would be a different trip than great brook trout fishing.
For your question of why north I want to go, again back to your statement about matching the fish’s beauty with the beauty of the environment. And again back to me being quixotic, I’m thinking I’d like to stay in the US. I’ve gotten to travel a lot internationally, but haven’t seen much of the US. Other than a couple trips to St. Paul and Chicago, I haven’t been to the upper Midwest - Minnesota or Wisconsin? then again, other than Boston and Newburyport I haven’t seen New England. Any ideas for either of these places?
Sing 'bout said it all.
I don’t go after lake trout much. Brookies are becoming my favorite though. Must one need a hot spot for brook trout? If so, we seem to have plenty around here.
I love casting a little mosquito pattern at 'em while standing on water clear as glass, and watching 'em take the fly. An ultra-light fly rod is the way to go, IMO.
One of my favorite spots is largely ignored and I like to keep it that way - but a lot of mountain streams and lakes in this state are plentiful with brookies.
Here I am, headed to my favorite spot for brookies.
If You’re Serious…
my camp is in western ME is on the outskirts of the town of Andover, heading into NH:
Lots of trout rivers and deep cold lakes – the famous Rangeley chain and Umbagog – with the area. Even though, my camp is in ME, these days I only fish NH because the non-resident license is way less expensive and the season is longer.
Best fishing for trout and lake trout is spring – May to early June – but you pay the price in blood to mosquitos and blackflies. Frankly, late August and early September are almost as good if not better because the bugs are gone. There is a flatwater canoe up there for ponds/lakes. But I mostly fish the rivers since I love moving water.
My set times up there with family is usually a week in May and the last two weeks of August. Other than that, the camp is pretty vacated, except for occaisonal visits by friends.
I am pretty serious
looking for a fishing trip to do with some friends who are serious fishermen. Most of us are salties, but looking to do something different. Thanks so much for the offer, that’s very generous. I’m going to give it serious consideration.
Talks about Androscoggin River that runs from NH into western ME. Both the ME and NH sections are about 20 minutes from camp. I prefer the upriver, NH section since it has flow past the mills in Berlin, NH.
Outfitter in Bethel, ME (20 minutes from Andover)
Lake Umbagog, 20 minutes up the road (and over the notch)…
The Richardson Lakes/Rapid River are also close by. Richardson can be accessed by South Arm Road from Andover. Rapid River can not be readily accessed unless you have someone guiding you through the logging roads.
Just some misc info of the area.
Closer to Houston
Try Blue Mesa Reservoir near Gunnison, CO for lake trout. I don’t go for the big water myself as it usually involves trolling under horsepower. I understand that Grand Lake, up near Winter Park, CO is another good spot for lake trout. The scenery is a bit compromised with the beetle kill in the lodgepole pine. About 90% kill around there. If its brookie you are looking for you might go upstream on the Taylor River and Res. that feed into Blue Mesa. There is wading territory and fly fishing on the river. Heck, Reef, there is so much fishing for trout in Colorado, and scenery for miles, why go farther? Check some guide sights and fly shop boards for what’s biting where and on what and go. If the timing/location was right I would meet you for a bit of fishing and a beer somewhere this summer.
Lake Trout on light tackle in BWCA
I ordered some free brochures from the Minnesota tourism department, including one on Minnesota fishing, and they just arrived yesterday so I looked through them last night. The fishing brochure gave mention of being able to fish for lake trout on light tackle in some of the deeper lakes in BWCA. Does anyone have experience with this? BWCA has already been on my to do list for a long time, so this piqued my interest.
Thanks for the suggestion
As to why go any farther than CO, I figure I’m not going to drive from Houston to CO, which means to get anywhere with any species of char, I am going to fly, and the time spent in the air, and the cost of the ticket will only be incrementally different whether I fly to colorado or Minnesota or New England. And I have another little idiosyncracy that if I am going to travel to target a species, I want to go to that species’ native range, which CO isn’t for char.
They’re Probably Talking Ice Out
or soon thereafter when the togue can be up and down the water column. Otherwise they are back down into the depth and require heavier tackle.
Folks in MA will congregate around inflowing rivers/streams of several large reservoirs for a couple weeks right after ice out. It's a prime time to land large lake trout and landlocked salmon near the top. The current (and channelling of food) attracts the fish which otherwise would be scattered all over and up and down the water depths during spring.
Thoreau said, “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”
Sing's info is good. I usually head up into N. Central Piscataquis/Somerset Counties(just a little ways from sing's neighborhood). How I'd love to have seen more browns(#1 survivor of all trout) planted up here,..best brooktrout havens are, as sing's info says = away from society/development in general. Remote watersheds, ponds/bogs under 20' in depth are beautiful just to visit/canoe, but are the ones where trout'll feed near the surface if insect hatches are prevalent.
In addition to sing's info, check out DeLorme's Maine Atlas/Gazateer..fwiw.
*taj..said it all, sing's in a great & historic area. Nice streams/rivers(big can be big) and most of all...bogs/ponds = canoe country. Find yourself a canoe(or two) to spend a day on a pond in.
*sing: Would you like/not to see more restrictive regs on waters,(as in the past)..?
Questioning whether Augusta has given up on wildlife & fishery protection or not...(ie moose-lotto..etc)
I didn’t mind the restriction so much about keeping trout from August on. I didn’t like the fact that the season ended in September and that I was being charged as a non-resident something like $55 for season. In contrast, NH (which is just 20 minutes up the road and over the notch) was charging $35 for non-resident fishing license and the season went into October.
Maine license would allow me to fish the stream that runs along side the road from the notch and behind my camp all the way to Andover. The name, East Branch Ellis “River” is a misnomer, as it really is a stream that has some sweet “holes” that hold brookies throughout the summer. Better yet a Maine license would let me fish the Rapid. I used to drive through the gated logging road entrance up the road from me – that opens up in spring – and meander the logging tracks that brought one to within half a mile of “Pond in the River” of the Rapid river. Hiked the well worn trail to the Rapid and fished all day on a world class gin clear, dangerously fast but brook trout and landlocked salmon filled rapids of the Rapid River. The Rapid River would make the license worth it. But I don’t do go there anymore because I’ve gotten rid of my SUV and I had learned my lesson in not going in those roads with anything less by busting the front axle of my old subaru early on. If one gets stranded in those logging roads, it could be days before you anyone drives by and it’s a heck of a long hike out (something like 20-25 miles).
Anyway, what I discovered is that the Androscoggin River by Errol and below the Pontook dam is darn good too. Big water (and dangerous if one don’t pay attention to the dam releases) with the top fish going to big brown trout, although brookie, rainbow and landlocked salmon also occupy the same stretches. But it just seems that the brown trout are more leery and get bigger (pulled some 18-24" browns out of the Andie…). At a certain point below the rapids of the Pontook, the river begins to hold quite a bit of smallmouth. (Not a fish I care to go after if I am out for trout.)
Another small river (or big stream) of note in that area is the Wild River which flows from Evans Notch in NH into the Andie by West Bethel Me. The Wild river fishing is great for native brookies and self-sustaining population of transplanted rainbows. These fish are incredible feisty and colorful to match the beauty of that particular river flowing rapidly down the notch from the mountains in NH. But, again, the best Brookie trout section are mostly on the NH side.
Also in that area of NH are the Magalloway, the Clear Stream, Dead Diamond, etc. which also hold nice brook and rainbow trout. Lots of prime trout water for the dedicated stream/river fisherman.
vehicle check pre-logging road journeys
Oh yeah, I hear ya’ on consequences of being stranded on a lengthy logging road.
For a state as big as Texas
yeah, I totally understand why, if you want to fish in Texas, you have to have a Texas fishing license, period. Even so, for people who fish lakes on the border like Texoma and Toledo Bend, there are agreements with Oklahoma and Louisiana, respectively. It seems that with all those little states up in New England, there should be some sort of agreement between states so that a person who lives, say southwest New Hampshire doesn’t have to buy a resident New Hampshire license AND nonresident Massachusetts and Vermont licenses just so he can fish waters that are less than a 30 minute drive from his house.
1 vote for northern michigan
Lake trout, brown trout, brook trout, rainbow trout, steelhead. In my town they line up downtown next to city hall during the brown and steelhead runs and pull them out by the dozen. Not my idea or probably yours of a good day fishing, but an example of how numerous they can be. Get them before the leaping carp do!
Brings back memories…
of fishing for native Brookies in PA in the 60s and 70s.
Seldom for eating, mostly for the challenge. Crawling on my belly, 7.5’ fly rod in hand, planning on “dappling” a dry fly over the edge of an embankment, all for 8-10" fish.
Sing: So very well put!