Key Species: landlocked salmon, brook trout Best Way to Fish: boat, bank Best Time to Fish: May through September MAG: 28, E-4
Description: Rangeley Lake was a popular fishing destination even during the Victorian era. Nineteenth-century anglers reached the lake’s hotels and sporting camps after a lengthy stage ride from Portland and a short steamboat trip. Brook trout weighing up to 10 pounds were the ultimate goal. Today, this 6,000-acre lake set amidst magnificent mountain scenery is still a popular destination for anglers. Camping is available at Rangeley Lake State Park.
Rangeley Lake is heavily stocked. In 1995 alone, 3,132 landlocked salmon and 9,216 brook trout were stocked here. Boats and canoes are useful, and some bank fishing is available. The lake is subject to special fishing regulations, including a ban on live fish as bait (the use of dead fish, salmon eggs, and worms is permitted), a ban on taking smelt except by hook and line, a slot limit on brook trout, and a daily bag limit on landlocked salmon of one fish. Read the open water fishing regulations carefully before fishing.
Fishing index: The average ice-out date is May 9. For the next four weeks, anglers descend on Rangeley Lake to take landlocked salmon by early-season trolling methods (see the section on landlocked salmon in this book).
If you launch your boat at Rangeley Lake State Park, you can begin trolling immediately. Use streamer flies such as gray ghost, black ghost, nine-three, and Jerry’s smelt. Mooselook Wobblers in copper or chrome finish and orange and gold Flash Kings are also effective. A 9-foot, 6-weight fly rod with a fast-sinking fly line is ideal for trolling here. If you elect to troll with spinning gear, be sure to use a rudder ahead of your lure to prevent line twist. The section of lake bordering the park, as well as the area to the west near South Bog Islands, is a prime place for landlocked salmon. To the east of the state park, try trolling between Doctors Island and Haines Point.
If you lack a boat, try taking brook trout from the town ramp in Rangeley Village. Earthworms are the most widely used bait. Later in the summer, you can take brook trout by trolling with a streamer fly and a dodger. Use a sinking fly line or lead-core line. A small gray ghost is as good a choice as any for a fly.
Directions: To reach Rangeley Lake State Park and its campsites and boat ramp, head south from Rangeley Village on Maine Route 4. At the end of Rangeley Lake, about 3.5 miles from the village, look for South Shore Drive on the right. Follow signs on South Shore Drive to Rangeley Lake State Park. You can also launch your boat at the town ramp in Rangeley Village.
For more information: Contact the Rangeley Region Chamber of Commerce, or for more information about Rangeley Lake State Park, contact the Maine Bureau of Parks and Recreation.