The Rangeley Lakes Region is an accessible wilderness as vast as it is beautiful. It is the home of world-class brook trout and landlocked salmon fishing in sparkling lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers surrounded by forest-clad mountains, a place of such extraordinary beauty that the angler does well to attend to his fishing. The pristine Rangeley Lakes are known as the birthplace of contemporary fly-fishing, a place where some of the most famous flies originated.
Years ago this Region was noted strictly for its excellent trout fishing. Later, salmon were introduced to many waters so that now it affords fishing for both popular species. The ice usually leaves the lakes and ponds early to mid-May. Most waters close to fishing on September 30th, although recent changes in fishing laws now allow some catch-and-release fishing on limited waters in October.
Fly hatches afford some of the finest fishing available. The first hatches come off approximately late May and early June, depending on weather conditions. This hatch is flying ants, reddish-brown in color. Second, the Caddis, happens about mid-June. The third, Mayflies, start in mid-June and go to about July 10th.
LAKE FISHING: A few of the waters are Rangeley Lake, Mooselookmeguntic Lake, Cupsuptic Lake, Dodge Pond, Tim Pond, Little and Big Kennebago (the largest fly-fishing-only body of water in the Northeast,) the Richardsons, and Aziscoos Lake. There are Lake Trout in the Richardson Lakes, Lincoln Pond, and a few other ponds and are growing larger every year (well over 10lbs.)
Spring is normally the fastest action with the salmon and trout feeding near the surface. Trolling streamer flies, smelts, crawlers, plus lures seems to bring the best results. Very popular fly patterns are the Grey Ghost, Black Ghost, Mickey Finn, and the Kennebago Smelt plus many others. Lures such as the Mooselook Warbler, Flash King Warbler, Sutton spoons, Rapala's and many more are the lures of choice. Tying smelts (not live) on leaders is also very popular along with trolling worms and crawlers. Weight on your line or the use of downriggers is not normally needed at this time of year as the fish are feeding between 1' and 10' below the surface.
Summer fishing in the lakes is different as the fish are in deeper depths seeking cooler temperatures. You would normally use lead core line or downriggers to get your bait down to the fish. The fish still feed on the same bait as in the Spring season, just somewhat deeper, normally 20' to 50' down from the top and in deeper sections of the lakes. Fall fishing in the lakes is a combination of summer and spring fishing depending on whether the water has cooled off to bring the fish back up toward the surface.
POND, RIVER AND STREAM FISHING: Fly-fishing on ponds and streams is just as popular as lake fishing. Many waters in the Rangeley area are fly-fishing only (consult your law book). The two most popular spots for casting are the Kennebago River and the Upper Dam on Mooselookmeguntic Lake. Many other streams and ponds are popular.
Spring fly-fishing is mostly done using casting streamers on floating or sinking lines as well as nymphs, wets, and a few dry flies. Summer fly-casting is matching the hatches with the above-mentioned flies.
Fall brings the spawning when salmon and trout run up the rivers…Kennebago, Rangeley, Cupsuptic, and the others. The larger fish are normally taken by the fly fisherman at this time using a wide variety of flies. One section of Kennebago is catch-and-release from August 15th to September 30th, and the Rangeley River will remain open in October for catch-and-release.
Boat Ramps are at most public waters. Maps on depth and lake and pond sizes are available at shops and the Chamber of Commerce. License cost is reasonable with one, three, seven, fifteen-day and seasonal licenses offered. Registered Maine guide service and boat rentals are available. Flight services fly sportsmen to back country waters. Here is fishing that sportsmen dream about, especially when the rod is a two or three-ounce wand, the lure is a dry fly, and the quarry is a fighting game fish.