Fishing season in the Moosehead Region opens on May 1st. Most of the lakes and ponds are free of ice by then, but the Big Lake is often not open until well into the first week. The best fishing of the year on Moosehead is often shortly after ice out. Trolling with the traditional Maine Streamer Fly is often the best bet for Salmon. Brook Trout can be found near the rocky shorelines of many islands. Experienced anglers know that trolling near the surface at the a pace slightly faster than a brisk walk will often bring those Silversided Beauties up to do their tail dance above the water. Nearly nothing else in Maine fishing equals the thrill of seeing a spring Salmon rise above the water and try his best to shake your fly. Favorite patterns are the Nine-Three, the Black Ghost, and of course, the famed Grey Ghost, for Salmon. Brookies can often be fooled with the venerable Mickey Finn or for the non-flyfishermen, the Mooseleuk Wobbler in Copper, 1/4 ounce, is usually a good offering. Fly fishing also begins in earnest during May on the rivers and streams of the region. Early season anglers will still find many fish until the waters calm down and warm a bit but they are there and they are hungry. Nymph patterns are the best bet early in the season but as the air and waters warm, the hatches will begin. The East Outlet of the Kennebec and the Roach River are often some of the best early season fly fishing waters. As always, be mindful of water levels and beware of rapid changes as both are dam-controlled flows.
Early season hikers should be prepared for wet conditions, and high water in the woods and on the streams. However, for those interested is seeing nature revive from the long Maine Winters, this is a wonderful time to hike. As the snows recede, Spring Freshets raise the levels of the smallest streams well over their normal depths, providing welcome, nutrient rich water to struggling plant life along the banks. The ferns will start first, and by late May the Fiddleheads (Ostrich Fern) will be ready for hungry hikers. Well steamed and served hot with butter or vinegar, they are a delicacy of the North Woods. Nothing beats a pan full of fresh Brook Trout, served with hot Fiddleheads. The highest peaks should be avoided during the early season, as snow can be expected any time throughout the Spring well into June. Plan hiking ventures for the lower terrain, and watch for young moose to be out for their first foraging with Mom. Be wary of any young wildlife: bear, moose and deer abound in the area, and all new mothers are highly protective of their young. Due to the altitude, you won't find many berries until early summer, when raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and, of course, blueberries will delight hikers along their routes through the forest.
Spring can offer some of the best mountain biking of the year in the Moosehead Region. As many of the logging roads are closed to vehicle traffic until the mud recedes, you can often travel for miles on these roads without fear of meeting a loaded truck heading out. As with hiking, spring conditions are wet and muddy, but early season mountain bikers seem to love the challenge of muddy trails and roads and can access many of the high mountain ponds in the area. The ambitious will carry a fishing outfit as well, as you may be the first to make it into many of the stream crossings and remote ponds. An extensive network of marked mountain biking trails traverse the region thanks to the efforts of local biking enthusiasts and the generosity of local landowners. Rental equipment and trail advice are available at Northwoods Outfitters in Greenville.
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