Aroostook County's long winters require fishermen to expand their skills to include ice fishing. The beauty is that the same fertile lakes that attract anglers all summer long are open in the winter for more sport fishing.
A Must-Try Tradition:
The County has a long, rich tradition of winter fishing that is woven into our local culture as much as farming and forestry. For decades now, hearty County residents have taken to frozen lakes with fishing lines as a means to break up the long northern Maine winter in hopes to catch a fresh meal of smelt, trout, salmon or lake trout (locally called togue). Many of us long-time residents remember trudging through deep snow and slush with “tip-ups” and an ice chisel in hand (younger generations now have the advantage of power augers) to spend a long weekend day on one of the famous Fish River Chain of Lakes. The major lakes of the Chain - Long, Cross, Square, Eagle, Portage and St. Froid – all hold fond memories of setting up the ice shack before January 15, the historic opening day, and catching the first smelt through the ice in the first minutes of the new season.
Today, ice fishing is one of several popular winter sports for residents and visitors alike. The County has vast opportunities for winter fishing that can accommodate skill levels from novice to expert.
Quite the Catch:
State of Maine stocking programs in recent years have been expanded to provide relatively easy access to catchable trout, most notable of these are in the Houlton and Presque Isle areas and Madawaska Lake in northern Aroostook. The major lakes of the Fish River provide everything from fast action for smelt, trout, and salmon to trophy opportunities for trout, salmon, and togue. Ice anglers seeking remote adventures, can head west into the North Maine Woods where some waters of the Allagash River are open and provide great action for wild, native brook trout and togue.
Whether you are a new guest or the one-time resident now living elsewhere, Aroostook County anxiously awaits your visit. Come join us!