Many outdoor enthusiasts think of deer and ruffed grouse hunting when considering possibilities for the month of November.
However, anglers still have plenty of opportunities to set a line and can often have the waters to themselves when fishing during the fall season.
Late season stocking by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife can help provide plenty of chances to enjoy productive days on the water.
Anglers should note that special regulations are in place when certain fish spawn, so it’s always a good idea to check the fishing laws for the area you are targeting. Remember that air and water are much colder, so wearing a life jacket is always the smart choice.
Check out these regional fishing reports prepared by biologists and DIF&W staff members:
Great Lake region
From Fisheries Resource Technician Jake Scoville
Where to fish: November is not generally revered by Mainers as a month to go fishing, but deer hunting is instead the choice of most outdoor men and women. If you’re leaving early or just fancy getting your rods out, there are some hidden gems in the East that you should try. If you find yourself looking for a place to fish, I highly suggest looking for a place to catch brown trout. Brown trout may be overlooked by anglers because they are found in fewer waters than salmon and brook trout, and may be slower to fish. In the fall, browns increase their activity and if the water temperature stays in the 50s, these fish can be easily targeted by trolling. With a little effort and patience, anglers can catch some impressive fish.
A few waters I suggest trolling for browns in Washington County include Pennamaquan Lake and Round Lake, both located in Charlotte. Round and Pennamaquan are medium sized waters that can produce 2-3 pound browns. For Hancock County anglers, I suggest fishing Walker Pond in Brooksville. Walker can hold browns that average 15 to 18 inches, but larger fish are also present.
Fishing tip: When going for fall browns, use bold colors like orange, white, and yellow paired with a good amount of flash. Fish can become lethargic and shiny lures and flies will attract their attention and make them more likely to strike. Browns will also be attracted to the movement of your lure, so using a fly or articulated lure is a great place to start. Also be sure to check the water temperature. If the water temperatures are in the low 50s you can get by with a little faster trolling speed, but if they start to drop into the lower 50s slower speeds may be needed to make your more appetizing lure for lethargic fish. My biggest tip for catching browns is to use lures that mimic 2-3 inch brown trout!
Recall: Be sure to check the law book before you go. Most waters open to fall fishing have catch-and-release regulations while coupled with artificial lure-only regulations.
From Fisheries Resources Technician Brian Campbell
Where to fish: As fall approaches winter and we prepare for ice fishing, there are still opportunities in Region F for excellent fishing. One such Southern Zone water that remains open to common law fishing in Region F is Flatiron Pond in T3 R9 NWP (it was recently stocked with brook trout). Waters in the North Zone that remain open by special regulation include Millinocket Creek from Millinocket Lake downstream to the Highway 11 bridge at Millinocket; Pond Davis (Wapiti) in T5 R7 WELS; and Norton (Peters) Pond in Brownville. These four waters offer a great chance for fall fishing, and you can keep two trout to eat. Region F also has many open waters in the fall for catch and release, please see mefishwildlife.com/laws for special regulations for these waters.
Fishing tip: Remember that you are sharing the woods with hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts. Be sure to wear bright colors for increased visibility.
Recall: Remember to always let people know where you are going and when you plan to return. This way, if something unfortunate should happen, people will know where you were going and can come find you and help you.
From Fisheries Resource Supervisor Tim Obrey
Where to fish: Fishing opportunities in the Moosehead Lake area are limited at this time of year. The weather will turn cold and many small ponds will have ice before the end of the month. Some seasoned anglers can try their luck at the East Outlet or the West Outlet. Remember that the only section of the East Outlet that is open for fishing after November 1 is from the dam to the yellow beach pool poles.
Fishing tip: Just like October, anglers can find success using flashy flies or lures at this time of year. The fish don’t really feed much, but instead focus on spawning. They tend to be aggressive and usually strike at anything that crosses their path.
Recall: Check the flow rates on the Brookfield website (safewaters.com) before venturing out. We’ve had a lot of rain lately which has kept reservoirs, including Moosehead Lake, unusually high. You may find above average river flows until we return to more normal lake levels. Higher water levels and flows, combined with cooler temperatures, can mean potentially dangerous conditions for you and those who may accompany you on your next outing. Please ensure you take the necessary precautions. Also, just another reminder that you’ll likely be sharing the woods with hunters this time of year as well. Please be courteous and consider wearing brightly colored clothing for better visibility.
Fish River Lakes Region
From fisheries biologist Jeremiah Wood
Where to fish: November tends to be a slow fishing month in northern Maine, with most outdoorsmen focusing on hunting deer and upland birds, but that doesn’t mean the chance to set a line n ‘does not exist. Waters that support wild populations of trout and salmon have traditionally been closed to fishing in October and November in an effort to protect spawning fish, but fisheries supported by hatchery fish are generally open.
Daigle Pond (Fort Kent area), Hanson Brook Lake (Presque Isle area) and Nickerson Lake (Houlton area) are all good bets at this time of year.
Fishing tip: Check the updated stocking report on our website to find out when fish were stocked in the water you fish. Often, trout congregate along the shore near stocking sites and are easy to catch within days of being stocked. Later they will be more scattered and it may take a bit more effort to find the fish.
Recall: Most of our waters that have fall opportunities are open for fishing in October and November, but anglers are restricted to the use of artificial lures and all fish must be immediately released alive. In some cases, such as when fetching bass or muskellunge, however, the fish may be kept. Be sure to consult the regulations to avoid confusion.