By Matt LaRoche
It is that time of year again. Time to tie a few new trolling flies, put some new line on that spinning reel and plan a fishing adventure. A spring fishing trip to Allagash Lake is a real wilderness expedition that you will remember for a lifetime!
Allagash Lake is the gem of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway headwater lakes. It has special regulations in place to help ensure visitors have a true wilderness experience. There is no vehicle access within a mile of the lake, no power equipment of any kind allowed, canoes and kayaks without motors are the only watercraft allowed and special fishing regulations apply to this lake. This all adds up to excellent fishing and a remote camping experience unique to the Maine Woods.
There are three access points to Allagash Lake. You can park at the gate and portage a mile to the lake on the old road/trail that leads to the ranger station in the southwest corner of the lake. You can drive close to Johnson Pond, put in at Johnson Pond, paddle across the pond, paddle/wade down Johnson Stream to Allagash Stream and paddle downstream to Allagash Lake. Or you can put in at Upper Allagash Stream and paddle three miles to Allagash Lake.
My personal favorite in the spring is the Johnson Pond route. There is a big shallow cove where the brook leaves the pond. In the summer, this cove can be a challenge to get across but in the spring the water is usually high enough to float right to the outlet. When you float down the small stream, it is like going through a cave of alder bushes. There are a couple of old beaver dams to carry over and I’m sure a few other obstacles to navigate around before you get to Allagash Stream. It is easy paddling all the way to the lake once you hit the stream. This three-mile trip is not for the faint of heart or the physically challenged but the reward you will feel when you get to the lake makes it all worth it.
The Upper Allagash Stream access is the easier water route and about the same distance by canoe as the Johnson Pond route, but the last time I drove to this put-in point the last couple miles of road were very rough and had culverts that were washed out.
Upper Allagash Stream is the main tributary to Allagash Lake and primary spawning area for the rainbow smelt. The larger predator fish in the lake follow the smelt to the inlet and gorge themselves for a few weeks every spring.
If you hit it right, the fishing at the inlet of Allagash lake can be nothing short of fantastic– so good that you may actually get tired of catching beautiful 16-inch native brook trout. You might get a few trout larger than 16 inches but that size seems to be the norm. You will probably catch a few togue at the inlet as well. If you do, the state fisheries biologist would like these fish removed so that the other fish in the lake can attain a larger size. See www.maine.gov/ifw for limits and special regulations.
If you do get tired of fishing and you want to do something else you can visit the ice caves or climb Allagash Mountain and go up into the recently rebuilt fire tower on top of the mountain.
If you are interested in a spring fishing trip to Allagash Lake but don’t feel like you have the experience to pull it off, I would be happy to guide you or recommend another guide to you. See www.mainewoodsguide.com if you would like to book a trip with me.
If you would like to organize your own Allagash Lake fishing adventure and need some advice, give me a call or drop me an email. I would be happy to give you a few tips on where to go and how to get there.
For more articles about hunting, fishing and the great outdoors, be sure to subscribe to the Northwoods Sporting Journal.