Popham Beach

Key Species: striped bass, bluefish Best Way to Fish: surf casting Best Time to Fish: July through September MAG: 6, E-5

Description: This sand beach is located at the mouth of the Kennebec River on the Gulf of Maine. Historic Forts Baldwin and Popham are located on the point of land just north of the beach. Popham Beach State Park offers parking, swimming, surfing, and picnicking.

Fishing index: Striped bass fishing is good from late June through September. Surf casters line Popham Beach when the fish are in. Although most anglers use bait, such as sandworms and live eels, Popham Beach is an excellent spot for fly fishers. Striped bass are often found near shore, just outside the breakers. The water is so clear that you can often see stripers as they chase your fly or lure. Use a 9- or 10-foot, 9- or 10-weight rod. Large streamer flies such as Lefty’s deceiver are effective, as are various squid imitations such as Page’s Simple Squid. Whitlock’s Sand Eels and Tabory’s Sand Eels are good choices as well. Cast your fly and retrieve by quickly hand-stripping the line. A wading line basket can be a great help. The author has found that a heavy-duty plastic storage container can easily be converted into a line basket by simply cutting two holes on either side and attaching a belt or rope. You can often take bluefish as well as stripers, especially during July and August. Because of the presence of bluefish, you should use a shock tippet of 40-pound test mono. Bluefish will hit the same flies and lures used for stripers. Because this beach is popular with swimmers, it is best to time your visits at dawn and dusk during July or August.

Directions: From Bath, head south on Maine Route 209, which ends at Popham Beach.

For more information: Contact the Maine Bureau of Parks and Recreation, Department of Conservation. Fly fishers might want to call the L.L. Bean fly fishing hot line.

Popham Beach as seen from a boat in the mouth of the Kennebec River. Striped bass and bluefish come close to this sandy beach, offering great sport for surf casters. Boaters take fish here by trolling with large diving plugs.

HEW HAMPSHIRE

Western Mountains

Maine’s western mountain region is a place of breathtaking beauty. Mountains, lakes, and fast-moving rivers offer something for everyone. The freestone rivers of Maine’s western mountains are a trout fisher’s paradise. Brook trout are the most common species found in this part of the state. Rainbow trout can also be taken in a few spots.

This region is famous for its gemstones, including the famous Maine tourmaline. Feldspar was once mined here in great quantities, and rock hounds can search for gems at the abandoned pits.

Maine’s western mountains are also famous for their grand old resorts. Visitors can stay in Victorian splendor at many inns and hotels. Most of these businesses are open year-round because of the great downhill skiing in this region.

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