What you need to know about Fishing & Ice Fishing on Moosehead Lake

Get ready to reel in tonight’s dinner! Moosehead Lake, the centerpiece of our region, is nearly forty miles long and twelve miles wide and covers 75,000 acres with breathtaking scenery of undeveloped shoreline and mountains.  The biggest Maine lake naturally houses the biggest Maine fish! Spring fishing on Moosehead Lake can produce catches that inspire legendary stories. Mount Kineo rises over 1,798 feet straight above the surface of the lake. There are endless opportunities for every big lake fishermen. Moosehead Lake is famous for its landlocked salmon, brook trout, and lake trout fishery. Smallmouth bass in the Lily Bay and Spencer Bay areas provide good shallow water fishing for the whole family throughout the summer months.

In addition to Moosehead Lake, there are more than forty ponds and lakes that provide even more opportunities for fishermen to explore. Many of them are roadside providing easy access by canoe, kayak or you may choose to hike into the many backcountry ponds where your only visitor may be one of the many moose and deer that call this region home.

Fly Fishing

Fly fishermen will find plenty of pools, pocket waters, and rapids to dangle your fly over while visiting the Moosehead Lake Region. We have many ponds full of feisty Brook Trout that it would literally take years to fish them all! Moosehead Lake is producing many massive Brook Trout, Landlocked Salmon, and Smallmouth Bass.

The Moose River, found on the western shore of Moosehead in the quaint village of Rockwood, is a tailwater tributary to Moosehead Lake offering great spring and fall fishing for Salmon and Brook Trout. This River will show you the very best early season fishing in the Region. It can be accessed by canoe, from the shore, or by wading.

The East Outlet of the Kennebec River, the largest river in the Moosehead Region, offers cold, clean water from Moosehead well into the summer. It is fly fishing only and parts are open year round. Voted “1 of 100 places in America you need to fly fish before you die”, this amazing fishery produces Brook Trout and Salmon all year long. Of course spring and fall are the prime times. You will probably see many Drift Boats running this beautiful Class III River. There is plenty of room to fish this 3 ½ mile long river.

The Roach River, on the eastern side of Moosehead, is also a tributary to Moosehead Lake. Don’t let its small size fool you! This fly fishing only, catch and release, rather remote fishery, produces amazing fish from a streamlike long River. Neither the smelt run/sucker spawn in the spring, or the fall spawning run should be missed.

Be sure that you have a fishing license and an up-to-date fishing regulation book from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife. Our local bait shops have you covered if you lose or forget your favorite flies.

Ice Fishing

Fishing doesn’t have to stop when the weather turns cold. Fishermen continue to pursue brook trout, cusk, salmon and togue all winter long on Moosehead Lake, ponds and other lakes in our region.

Avid ice fishermen in search of Cusk for chowder do best setting their traps out long after the sun sets and pulling an all-nighter. Salmon are known to be caught right under the ice.

Oftentimes the bait of choice for ice fisherman is smelt. Cut bait also works well for togue and cusk.

Behind Mt. Kineo is a popular place for rough weather ice fishing in the wintertime. This is also where you will find some of the deepest water on Moosehead Lake.

Many fishermen utilize snowmobiles or ATVs with tracks in the winter months due to the size of Moosehead Lake and the numerous other ponds and lakes open to ice fishing.


Be sure to pack a portable ice shack or rent one before your arrival. The temperatures and wind in the North Woods are unpredictable and you will be thankful for a warm place while waiting for a flag. Many groups enjoy bringing their cooking gear, food and chairs out on the ice to spend a full day enjoying time together.

It is important to remember when ice fishing on Moosehead Lake that before February 15th salmon must be released without removing them from the water.

There are numerous property rentals available on the shores of Moosehead Lake to make your ice fishing trips comfortable.

If you have never been fishing at Moosehead, be sure to ask locals where those special fishing spots on the lake are to help you catch the fish you want to keep.

Our Registered Maine Guides love what they do and would be happy to take you out on a guided fishing trip where you will learn from the best. If you’re new to fishing in the area, or just want to learn a few new tricks, we recommend the use of a Registered Maine Guide.

Be sure to have a valid fishing license before you head out on Maine’s beautiful waters. You can buy a license online or from one of our local vendors. Visit Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife for more information!

Photos provided by Mary Sue Henszey, Misty Morning Cottages, Corey Cain Photography, Wilsons on Moosehead, and The Beard and the Blonde.

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