20 Great Economical Adventures

Maine: Allagash Brookies

Outdoor Life Online Editor

A fishing trip by canoe for brook trout is a delightful way to experience the Allagash Wilderness Waterway of Maine's Great North Woods. The waterway extends for 98 miles from Telos Landing, just west of Baxter State Park, due north to Allagash Village, near the Canadian border. With more than 10,000 canoers making all or part of the trip each year, "wilderness fishing" can seem overstated. While wild brookies do thrive in the lakes and runs of the waterway, the fishing and the feeling of wilderness can improve dramatically for those who wander off the main route.

In particular, a side trip to Allagash Lake, a six-mile-long haven for brook trout, is well worth the effort. Access to the lake is gained either by going six miles up fast-flowing Allagash Stream from Chamberlain Lake, or by canoeing four miles downstream across Johnson Pond and its outlet to upper Allagash Stream and on down to the lake. Either way, the difficulty of the access keeps the region remote (no floatplanes or outboard motors are allowed here) and the fishing is as good as it gets. Brookies in the 16- to 20-inch range are caught regularly throughout the open-water season.

The trip is ideal for the experienced canoe camper, who needs only to purchase an Allagash Wilderness Waterway permit ($5 per person per night) and pay a North Maine Woods gate entrance fee ($7 per person per day for nonresidents, $4 for residents; camping is an additional $5). Maine nonresident fishing licenses cost $34 for seven days or $50 for the season. You can hire a guided trip for relatively little money ($200 per person per day). Dan Legere, owner of the Maine Guide Fly Shop in Greenville, is the area's best-known guide, and he provides all- inclusive trips into Allagash country.