Maine’s third largest lake, Chesuncook Lake is best known as a starting point for whitewater rafting on the Penobscot River and for the famed landlocked salmon fishery in the West Branch of the Penobscot, below Ripogenus Dam. However, Chesuncook Lake itself offers outstanding landlocked salmon angling in a wilderness setting characteristic of northern Maine. While brook trout and lake trout are present, landlocked salmon and white perch are the most often sought-after fish species.
The lake occupies 26,200 acres and was originally formed by the construction of Ripogenus Dam which was built primarily for water storage and hydro power and as a means to send pulp wood to downstream paper mills. With maximum water depths of 150 feet, it remains today as an important salmon fishery and one of the The Maine Highlands Region’s primary wilderness vacation destinations.
The southwestern portion of the lake is also known as Caribou Lake which is one of the most popular portions of the lake for landlocked salmon anglers. The main body of water is large and anglers should consider larger boats rather than canoes or kayaks.
Primary public boat access is located off the Golden Road that connects Greenville and Moosehead Lake to Ripogenus Dam. Numerous wilderness campsites are located throughout the lakeshores. Those not familiar with wilderness angling or camping may wish to acquire the services of a Registered Maine Guide.
The extreme northeastern portion of the lake where Umbazooksus Stream enters Chesuncook is noted for huge white perch. Anglers may choose to reach this portion of the lake via the Chamberlain Bridge at the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.