Fly fishing can seem a little confusing for beginners, as it is very different from other methods of traditional fishing. Luckily the state of Maine has plenty of great places to go in order to practice and catch a lot of fish. If you are just starting out or want to experience some of the best fly fishing waters in Maine, then you have come to the right place!
One of the first things you will need to do is gather up all of the right equipment to get started on your fly fishing adventure. A good pair of waders, a fly rod, fly line, a catch net, a tool kit, and of course, some flies and lures. Once you have the basics covered, you can start to assemble your gear kit and start familiarizing yourself with everything. This will also give you a good opportunity to get some practice in before heading out!
Learning to tie some basic knots will also go a long way to help you catch fish. Some popular knots that are important to know include the surgeon’s knot, clinch, and the improved clinch knot. You should also learn the difference between these knots and what each one works best for.
Once you have assembled and prepared your gear, you are probably ready to hit the water! Maine is a beautiful state with many places to fish. There are excellent lakes, rivers, and streams in nearly every corner of the state that you could head to, but there are a few that seem to stand out when it comes to fly fishing. These are all great options, especially when it comes to beginners!
The first is the Kennebec River. This river is a fly fishing hotspot thanks to its very consistent flows and the many dams across the state. You will find almost 170 miles of water along this river, but the upper portion tends to be the best for fly fishing. In this river, you can find some amazing brook trout fishing, as well as salmon, rainbow trout, and brown trout. For a real treat, head to the Moosehead Lake area. Not only is it beautiful and a great place for beginner fly anglers to fish, but you will find big landlocked salmon, brook trout, and lake trout.
Another great area is the Penobscot River. This is Maine’s largest river and runs about 370 miles long. In these waters, fly anglers can expect to find brook trout, salmon, warm water species like bass, and even some stripers. While it can be a difficult river to wade in if you have a kayak or a boat you can be in some of the best fishing waters in the state. Finding the deeper pools and holes will lead you to bigger fish, and generally less competition from other anglers as well.
If you are looking for a river with a little more access and easier wading, then the Roach River is also a great choice. This river starts at First Roach Pond and flows into Spencer Bay on Moosehead Lake. The 6.5-mile stretch is fly fishing only, making it a great place for anglers of any skill level. You will find plenty of salmon and brook trout, and beginner fly anglers should have no problem increasing their skills in this river.
Once you find where you want to go fishing, you must then find the right locations to start throwing your line. Specific locations on the river will be home to certain types and sizes of fish. Where and how you cast will determine your success while fly fishing, so some care must be taken to your approach. Walk slowly and quietly along the river while searching for potential areas, so as to not spook the fish.
Look for different riffles and rapids in the water. Fish will often be in groups in areas just below these sped-up sections of water as they lie in wait for the water to bring them food. You should also look for rocks, logs, and other obstructions in the water, especially if they are surrounded by fast-moving currents. Fish will hide behind these objects to stay out of the faster water and conserve their energy while still waiting for the currents to bring them food as it drifts down. Lastly, deep pools can also be productive, especially in warmer weather.
Finding the right fishing spot is only half of the battle, however. Choosing the right fly or streamer can make or break your fishing trip. As a general rule of thumb, try to match your fly to whatever food sources you are seeing in the area. This method of “matching the hatch” will imitate the fish’s natural food and will increase your odds of getting a good strike. Cast these flies upstream of where you suspect the fish are hiding, and allow them to gently float down to the fish that are waiting. If you do not get a strike, try again at a slightly different angle.
As you fish, remember to remain aware of your surroundings. It is easy to get lost in the amazing beauty of the outdoors or caught up in the excitement of catching a fish. Safety is always a priority when in the outdoors. The last thing that you want to do is slip and fall in slippery conditions or be caught in fluctuating water levels. Remain cautious of the river or water where you are fishing and remind yourself to stay aware of your surroundings. But, when all is said and done, just remember to have fun and be patient with yourself.
Fly fishing can be a little challenging at first, but with enough practice and patience, anyone can become a pro. Maine is an amazing state with so many great opportunities to go fly fishing. Even as a beginner, you are sure to have some success and at the very least will enjoy your time while out in the outdoors!