Fifty-six percent of the state is experiencing “severe drought,” at the moment, according to the National Weather Service. But while that’s not good news for anglers who prefer to fish at this time of year, it doesn’t mean there’s no good fishing.
Many free-flowing rivers and streams are showing the signs of that drought, but some of the rivers in the Moosehead Region are doing okay because they have more controllable flows due to the presence of dams, according to Tim Obrey, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s fisheries resource supervisor for the Moosehead Region.
Those dams create “tailwater fisheries” below them, and the river’s flow is often managed not only to produce hydroelectric power, but to provide fishing opportunities.
Obrey recently sent out an email report updating anglers on some conditions in the region. That report includes some good news, along with some not-so-good.
Let’s start with the not-so-good.
“[On the] West Branch [of the Penobscot] below Seboomook, [there is] insufficient storage in the lake, so there will be no flow release for fishing this year,” Obrey said. “The flow is around 100 [cubic feet per second] now, which is very low. It is basically inflow equals outflow for the upper West Branch drainage.”
But on some other rivers, the news is far better.
“The flow [on the Roach River] remains around 175 cfs (up from the summer minimum flow of 75 cfs),” Obrey said. “We will have to keep it there for now, but this is a good fishing flow. We may have enough [water] for a bump around Sept. 25.”
Over on the west side of Moosehead, the news from the Moose River is also encouraging.
“[Dam owner] Brookfield increased the flow on Sept. 15 to 800 cfs from around 250 cfs,” Obrey said. “This increase and the cooling water temps should produce some good fishing.”
Also on the west side of Maine’s largest lake, dams control the flow at the East Outlet and West Outlet of the Kennebec River.
“Brookfield increased the flow to 1500 cfs [on the East Outlet] last week as they begin to draw Moosehead Lake down,” Obrey said. “Again, this should be good fishing. The hatchery truck will be dropping off some very nice brook trout at the East and West Outlets in the coming few days to spice up the catch.”