Baxter SP - Fishing

Millinockett, Maine

The South-Western corner of Baxter is chock full of ponds and streams that carry small, wild, native brook trout. Most (nearly all) of the water in the park is Fly Fishing only. The regulations limit the number and size of trout that can be harvested, thereby allowing more and bigger fish to live there. While you'll be hard-pressed to catch a football sized brookies out of any of the water there, your chances of catching fish, and a lot of 'em, are pretty good.

When I get to Baxter, I usually can't wait to start fishing. The first water I come to is Katahdin Stream. This small stream has lot's of little brookies zipping around from rock to rock, darting after food carried down by the cold mountain run-off.

Jeff works near the bank on Katahdin Stream

The trail to grassy pond has signage saying it being reclaimedd, but you may still be able to use the first few hundered feet to get to an opening to the stream. If not, the stream is likely to be wet-wadable anyway. Fish nymphs close to the bank and at the mouth of pools with a swing and a slight lift at the end of the swing. I almost always get a strike on the lift part of the swing here. These little brookies are active and colorful, even if they are only as long as your hand. You can work you way downstream past logs jams and deadfalls for quite a way. I find this to be a refreshing reward after the long drive to the park.

The rest of my time in Baxter, I spend divided between fishing around Kidney Pond and Nesowadnehunk River. I found the ponds to be more active around early morning and evening, but the river can stay active all day. The trout I have caught in the pond tend to be larger but I catch less of them.

To fish Nesowadnehunk, I start down the Appalachian Trail at the Daicey Pond trailhead. There are other places to fish the river, but accessibility tends to mean less fish here. Hiking a mile or so down the AT, while not particularly grueling on this stretch, tends to minimized the pressure.

My first stop is the Toll Dam. This is a short dam in the river located about 150' off of the AT. There is a deep pool below the Toll Dam sign on the Appalachian Trail dam that stretches out into some smaller pools and then into riffles and pockets of shallow water. Fish do hang under the dam, but it can be tough to get down to them. I have managed to entice a couple of brookies out of there though. As you move farther downstream, the water widens and picks up speed. Lot's of little brookies are just hanging in that water for a streamer with a little red and/or yellow on it.

Jeff rigging up at the Toll Dam on Nesowadnehunk River

Then I head back out to the AT and hike down to Little Niagara Falls. At the foot of the falls, looking down stream, there are two eddies. The bigger left eddy swirls counter-clockwise and the right eddy swirls clockwise. You can see trout attempting to make it up the main flow of water with their natural urge to spawn upstream. While I stood on the rock face on the Eastern side of the falls, a poor trout came flopping down a tiny trickling rivulet from above, slapping once into a small cup in the rock before flopping out and down into the pool below the falls. The poor little guy must have got too close to the edge of the pool above and got sucked down!

Little Niagara Falls on Nesowadnehunk River

I caught several fair sized trout on muddlers, casting up into the current and letting it swing with the eddy before retrieving it against the current.

After having our fun there, I like to work my way downstream for a while before returning to to the Trail. This stretch is some of the best fishing I have had in the park. From here to Big Niagara there are lots of freestone holes for trout to lay in. Streamers work well. Better than nymphs in my experience. Again, I like to use something with a little yellow or red on it. That really se to get them going. The water is clear enough that you can often see the fish rising or darting after your fly. Sometimes just banging into it and other times just taking a look.

Fishing on Kidney Pond requires a boat. The ranger at the Kidney Pond cabins can rent canoes, or you could bring your own canoe or kayak. Usually around dusk, several people will be on the pond in canoes and fish will be rising all over. Hatches have been sporadic and tough to read when I have been there.

Tom brings a brookie to the canoe

I usually go with a caddis pattern, but only with limited results. Muddler minnows may also work well.

Related Books
The Great Mountain
The Great Mountain

Flyfisher's Guide to Northern New England: Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine
Flyfisher's Guide to Northern New England

Falcon Guide to Fishing Maine
Falcon Guide to Fishing Maine

AMC Guide to Freshwater Fishing in New England
AMC Guide to Freshwater Fishing in New England

Maine Atlas & Gazetteer
Maine Atlas & Gazetteer

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