Overnight kayak trips in Central or N. Maine?

I’m planning a couple of short overnight kayak trips for the summer. I’d like to be out for 2-4 days per trip probably including a weekend. I’m open as to destinations but if I’m going alone I’ll revisit a couple of routes I’ve enjoyed in the past. You can trace the routes fairly easily on google maps and I’d love suggestions for these trips or for entirely different itineraries.

My first trip will probably be to Antlers Camp on the Appalachian Trail at Lower Jo-Mary Lake.

  1. End of Deep Cove Road to White Horse Island via Little Porus Island across Pemadumcook Lake near Millinocket. 3 miles
  2. White Horse Island to Sweet Potato Island with portage across Tirio Access Rd. to get to Lower Jo Mary Lake. 1 mile
  3. Sweet Potato Island to Appalachian Trail campsite on Western shore of Jo Mary Lake. 3.5 miles.
  4. I usually camp there and then explore Middle Jo Mary Lake. Fishing has always been great on these lakes.
  5. Back the way I came. Last year’s trip: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10208623748663293.1073741838.1597205438&type=1&l=d03340d1d4

My second trip will likely be to Bigelow Preserve. Last year I parked at a campsite on the water off W. Flagstaff Rd. closer to state highway 27 and then kayaked to the end of Flagstaff Lake with a couple day hikes up onto the ridge line that forms the center of the preserve. I found Flagstaff Lake almost idyllic with lots of warm shallow water, islands with sandy beaches and pleasant views but fishing is so-so, a few perch one year nothing at all last year. Flagstaff Lake also isn’t a challenge in any way unless you consider the length of the lake itself a challenge. This trip would be a good route if you were bringing children. I don’t have good pictures of Flagstaff Lake but I did take pictures from the AT section that follows the ridge line above the lake. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10203349856099275.1073741831.1597205438&type=1&l=bbd651b7c8

Open to other trip suggestions and would love to have company. As you can tell I spend, or “waste” as the case may be, a lot of time playing at fishing, cooking, taking day hikes and generally goofing off. I also try to avoid real danger and risk whenever possible although I’ve been know to kayak through a storm when necessary. If are a really dedicated, competitive, or technically inclined kayaker (or fisher) I might drive you nuts.

If you end up in Greenville…the West Branch Ponds(1 & 2) are an excellent choice for a guaranteed moose showing at some time, afternoon & evening…heading up on the Greenville-LilyBay Road that follows the eastern shoreline of Moosehead…and past for ~10mi+, almost to Kokadjo, where you head eastward along First Roach Pond’s southern shore…for ~15mi +/-.
First Roach Pond is easy to access at Kokadjo, across the road from the store/cafe and after heading back on the LilyBay Rd about 1mi…hang a left, which follows the southern shore of First Roach Pond…in about ~8mi +/- is the South Inlet campground area…which is nice…and the little peninsula offers easy access to the pond, although a little rocky. These are easy ponds to access while affording nice views all around with wildlife close by and plenty of territory to take excursions in any direction. These are all about ~10mi or so to the west of the JoMary Lakes…

I’ve kayaked around Moosehead Lake but never put in oat Kokadjo. Looking at maps I’ve wondered whether it would be possible to go from Kokadjo through First Roach all the way to Third Roach and get out on the road, Medaw Island Rd?, that is just off the far end of the Third Roach. I guess you could also paddle back the way you came. Not sure how possible that itinerary would be; I often end up aborting trips because I fail to notice some minor detail that makes it impossible with the available time and equipment. Seems like those lakes might be fun to fish even if camping sites are iffy. Also not sure how much it would take. If you’d like to be out there sometime in August let me know.

Hi 18Rabbit,
Both tailwaters…3rd to 2nd and 2nd to 1st Roach Pond…not possible…the connecting streams have some slope to them…would be tough to ascend… especially 2nd Roach to 1st… The stream/river there is very swift, pocket filled and brush/limb laden with(my guess) more than a few strainers…however it has a legit population of LL salmon. Have not ventured from outlet of 3rd to 2nd = no idea. Roach R. from the dam @1st Roach outlet on downstream to Moosehead is the main river and is filled with good populations of both LLs and brooktrout. I think Brookfield rules that dam…y/n?..lets water out on some schedule?..with fishing obviously much better after dumping stops.

That’s all new info for me thanks. Didn’t realize there was the possibility of fishing for salmon around there but I’m relatively new to Maine. Once you mentioned brook trout and LL I started looking more closely at the area on google and even with some of the connecting streams impassible the area still offers a lot of possibilities that I hadn’t considered. You could park near the Third Roach and just explore that area as far as you could go and return to you car. If 3rd to 2d is possible that would be nice but if not you’d just come back. I assume you could also go from Kokadjo to Moosehead. Drop your gear and kayak at Kokadjo, hoping no one would pilfer it, and then drive your car down to Lily Bay Brook, where there appears to be a public parking area, and walk back to Kokadjo, about 7 miles, to start your trip. You could fish Roach River and then camp at Sugar Island on Moosehead or somewhere out of sight on the river. I’ll try to find the schedule for the dam. I haven’t caught a salmon in Maine yet although not for lack of trying.

Roach R. is an enjoyable river…however don’t expect any prime activity for hours after any dam release, but don’t sell either the EO or W.Branch short, there is a lot of river in both with many nice stretches…also below is a link to USGS data(can get what you want by choosing a button or two for Maine realtime data).


Thanks for the info. I’ll find the data somewhere online but it is probably irrelevant anyway since my work schedule will dictate my trip timing. I can always hope that everything lines up just right. I’ll probably be out there in the second week of August.

I like your own picks 18rabbit. Jo Mary Lake and Flagstaff area both great for the paddling and the hiking. One of my favorite combo trips was an East Branch paddle combined with a North Traveler bushwack. East Branch demands ww skills, and portaging, best done with a group. Another idea is the Katahdin Lake area- I guess it’s part of Baxter now as well, so that complicates things a bit but its handy for both hiking and paddling and is as purty as a picture.

I’ve seen Katahdin Lake from a distance on a hike but never actually been there. Seems like a possibility. This year with work pressures keeping my time limited I’ll probably stick to something I know to avoid the all too familiar experience of getting out in the middle of nowhere only to realize “you can’t get there from here” or some other pitfall that aborts your trip early. Looks like I’ll be out on the water sometime between 8/20-8/27 for not more than 4 days. Hoping the weather remains warm. Last year a Late August trip got a bit chilly.