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kennebeck4.gif (32656 bytes)Kennebec River Striped Bass

By Mike Christy

Maine's Kennebec River is a tidal tributary which connects Merrymeeting Bay with the Atlantic Ocean. It is a resource abundant with natural beauty; bald eagles, ospreys, heron and seals are commonly sighted throughout many of it's stretches.

The numerous tidal flats are still the source of much of the region's soft shell clams.

The region of Phippsburg (ME A&G #6, D5) and Parker Head, named after Captain John Parker,  is characteristically charming Down East Maine. Narrow windy roads are dotted with  quaint summer cottages dating back to the 1800s. It has been a summer retreat  for poets and artists for over a century, but also a destination for those seeking striped bass.


kennebeck3.gif (42809 bytes)Like the scenery, striped bass fishing in this water shed is nothing short of spectacular. Fly fishermen can enjoy the open spaces of Popham State Beach, while boat fishermen can run the river looking for schools of bait and bass. Once you locate them, you'll never know what size bass will make up a school. The double shown to the right was obviously caught from a mixed school of large and small fish.

Top water plugs are the lure of choice during the month of June, although checking with local tackle shops will help you with what lure may be hot at the moment. The town of Bath has a number of great tackle shops with Kennebec Angler being one of them. Contact owner Chris Grill at
(207) 442-8239 for an up to date fishing report.

kenn1.gif (29539 bytes)The tide plays a large part in the movement and location of bass in the Kennebec. An area may be completely void of fish, except for an occasional jumping sturgeon, and a hour later be a hot spot boiling with stripers. It pays off to return and fish an area several times within the same tide. Fishing tide lines and drop offs from flats have proven to be successful tactics. Some areas to try are near Bald Head, Up the Back River, Wyman Bay and Fort Popham.

Practice good catch and release techniques by bending your barbs down and using tackle that will land the fish quickly so not to exhaust them.When using live bait, consider using bronze circle hooks.

kenn4.gif (47507 bytes)Regulations
The Kennebec River is under special regulations from mid October to July 1st. Anglers may not take or retain striped bass from the Kennebec or any of its tributaries. From May 1st to June 30th a special hook and release season is open  for striped bass. Anglers are allowed to use single hooked artificial lures as long as bass are immediately released and returned alive to the water. The use of live or dead bait is not allowed during this special season. Please read the official regulations as this is only a summary of the law.

kennebeck2.gif (41760 bytes)Access
There are two boat ramps readily accessible from RT209. A brand new ramp as of 1999 is located just south of Bath. Another is located at the end of Fiddlers Reach Road also off of RT209. Both have ample parking and are excellent ramps accessible at all tides. Popham Beach State Park is a prime location for those without boats, or on those foggy days. There is a fee charged.

Seguin Island located two miles off the mouth of the Kennebec has more fog than any other location in Maine. Often that fog ventures up into the mouth of the river, making navigation perilous at times. A knowledgeable guide is mandatory the first time out on the river. Even experienced boaters use LoranC or GPS to chart a safe course through the channel. Deep water of 30 feet is often just a few yards away from sloping mud flats, so watch your sounder closely, even in good weather.

 kennebeck5.gif (41240 bytes)

Check out more Kennebec Stripers:



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