The Allagash River is part of northern Maine’s 100-mile Allagash Wilderness Waterway. This Waterway was established in 1966 by the Maine Legislature to preserve, protect, and enhance its natural beauty, character, and habitats. In 1970 it became part of the National Wild and Scenic River system. Telos, Chamberlain, Big Eagle, and Churchill lakes comprise the upper 34 miles of the Allagash Waterway. The river itself begins at Churchill Dam on the outlet of Churchill Lake and flows north through undeveloped forest for 60 miles before entering the St. John River at Allagash Village. Along its course it flows through Umsaskis Lake, Long Lake, and Round Pond.
The Allagash River is especially noted for the wild, native brook trout which thrive there in the absence of competition from warmwater species. The Allagash drainage is one of Maine’s few remaining river drainages that has not been significantly altered by introductions of non-native fish species. Allagash Falls, 14 miles upriver from its confluence with the St. John, prevents undesirable fish species present downstream from moving further up the Allagash.
Although wading is possible in some stretches of the river, most anglers prefer to fish from a canoe. Trout fishing is best when water temperatures are cool — in May and June, and again in September. During July and August trout are normally confined to areas around the mouths of the river’s many cool tributaries, where fishing is best early in the morning or in the evening.
Access to the Allagash River is limited to only a few locations along its entire length. Due its remote location, fishing trips for only a day are difficult. Most anglers make fishing the Allagash a multi-day experience. Water stored in Big Eagle and Churchill Lakes provides season-long flows that make river travel possible from May through September.