Without a doubt, the Kennebago River is considered to be one of the top landlocked salmon and wild brook trout rivers in Maine. While most serious anglers target landlocked salmon from just after ice-out in May through the end of June, and again in September, the river gives up brook trout all summer long.
The majority of the Kennebago is situated behind private, gated access, but the lower section from Cupsuptic Lake in the town of Oquossoc, just west of the town of Rangeley, to the gated access at what is known as “Steep Bank Pool” is open to the public and is particularly productive in September.
The length of the river requires only moderate wading skills and features long, flat pools. The river cuts through dense wilderness so anglers will need to bone up on their roll casting skills. Most anglers prefer a light #5 or #6 weight fly rod, loaded with double-taper line and tapered leaders in the 5x to 7x diameter. The entire length of the river is designated as “Fly fishing only” waters. See Maine Fishing Laws and Rules.
Wet flies and streamers are the most commonly used offerings early in the year supplemented by terrestrials in late summer and early fall. Mayfly emergers, especially that of the Green Drake are productive during the height of the early summer hatches. By far the most popular of the streamers, in sizes 8-14, are the Gray Ghost and Black Ghost, followed by the Nine-Three in early June and the Mickey Finn in September.
The entire length of the Kennebago River is closed to fishing from September 30 until April 1.