Aroostook County’s Outdoor Playground: Fish, Paddle, Hike & Bike

FISH

Fishing in Maine

1. Eagle Lake

Location:  Eagle Lake
Acres:  5,581
Max Depth:  136 feet
Access:  Trailered boat launch on Lower Main Street
Primary Fishery:  Brook Trout (wild), Landlocked Salmon (stocked & wild), Lake Trout, aka Togue (stocked & wild)

2. Long Lake

Location:  St. Agatha
Acres:  6,000
Max Depth:  163 feet
Access:  Trailered boat launches on Route 163, Cleveland Road, and Bam Brook Road
Primary Fishery:  Brook Trout (wild), Landlocked Salmon (stocked & wild)

3. St. Froid Lake

Location:  Winterville
Acres:  2,400
Max Depth:  114 feet
Access:  Trailered boat launches on Red River Road and South Shore Road
Primary Fishery:  Brook Trout (wild), Landlocked Salmon (wild), Lake Trout, aka Togue (stocked)

4. Aroostook River

Location:  Fort Fairfield to T9 R7 WELS
Access:  Trailered boat launches in Masardis, Ashland, Bugbee (Washburn), Presque Isle, Caribou (2), Grimes Mill, Maine (yes, the town name is Maine!), and Fort Fairfield
Primary Fishery:  Brook Trout (wild), Landlocked Salmon (wild)

5. Meduxnekeag River

Location: From Drews Lake (Meduxnekeg Lake) near New Limerick to Houlton
Access:  Trailered boat launches in Drews Lake and Houlton
Primary Fishery:  Brook Trout (wild), Brown Trout (wild)

6. Fish River

Location: From Fort Kent to Eagle Lake
Access:  Trailered boat launches in Eagle Lake, Sly Brook Road (on the east side of the river between Eagle Lake and Soldier Pond), Soldier Pond, and Fort Kent
Primary Fishery:  Landlocked Salmon (wild)

PADDLE

1. Fish River

Miles:  23
Difficulty:  Easy
Description:  Generally easy paddle although it can be windy on Portage Lake.  Take out at Portage (23 miles) or on the northwest end of Portage Lake (18 miles) to avoid the wind.

2. Little Black River

Miles:  27
Difficulty:  Easy
Description:  Mostly flatwater with a few small rapids.

3. Machias River

Miles:  32
Difficulty:  Moderate
Description:  Mostly class II and some class III rapids with a section of smooth water halfway through.  This river is best in spring, although depending on rainfall it can also be run in the summer or fall.

4. St. Francis River

Miles:  35
Difficulty:  Moderate to Challenging
Description:  This is the northernmost river you can paddle in Maine.  The run is a combination of lakes, fast water, and class I-II rapids.  Class III rapids are only encountered where the St. Francis River meets the St. John River.  Access is easiest from Route 289 in Canada.  Keep in mind the lakes can be very windy and challenging to paddle.  Be sure to report river travel to customs.

5. St. John River (West)

Miles:  110
Difficulty:  Moderate to Challenging
Description:  This river is almost continuous fastwater as you head toward the town of Allagash.  There is plenty of class I & II rapids with two class III rapids.  This river gets bony after mid-June.  Some sections of the river can be very windy.  Make sure you plan for a 5-7 day paddle and bring all the supplies you will need since there is no place along the river to restock.

HIKE

Hike Maine

Haystack Mountain

Location:  Castle Hill
Difficulty:  Moderate to Challenging
Distance: 0.5-mile round trip, out and back
Elevation Gain:  180 feet
Terrain:  Rocky, Forest Floor, Steep Sections, Ledge
Pets:  On a leash
Fee:  No
Facilities:  No
Description:  Although this hike is short it is well worth the views.  Some parts of the trail are steep ledge face and have loose rocks and gravel.  A memorial bench dedicated to CPL Dustin J. Libby, USMC, is located at the summit and a sheltered picnic area is in the parking lot.

Deboullie Public Lands

Location:  T15 R9 WELS, reached via dirt roads out of Portage Lake
Difficulty:  Moderate to Advanced
Distance: 25.8-mile network
Elevation Gain:  1,597 feet
Terrain:  Rocky, Forest Floor, Steep Sections, Rockslides, Boulder Fields
Pets:  On a leash
Fee:  Yes
Facilities:  Yes
Description:  This is a great loop trail that passes by a lake and offers beautiful views.  The lake is great for swimming or fishing and there are several small waterfalls.  There is a fire tower at the summit that can be climbed for incredible views of the surrounding area.  Many maintained campsites and picnic sites are on the shores of the ponds in the area.  Keep your eyes open for ice caves along the way!

Aroostook State Park

Location:  Presque Isle
Difficulty:  Easy, Moderate, Advanced
Distance: 2.8-mile network
Elevation Gain:  836 feet
Terrain:  Forest Floor, Loose Gravel and Rocks, Ledge, Boardwalks
Pets:  On a leash
Fee:  Yes
Facilities:  Yes
Description
:  Aroostook State Park is Maine’s first state park.  There are several trails that are around and up Quaggy Jo Mountain, ranging in difficulty levels.  Steep grades make some trails challenging.  A loop can be made by hiking up the South Peak Trail to the North Peak Trail.  Picnic areas are located at the peaks, with the North Peak offering the best views.  There are also several places to camp within the park.  A tent platform is at the summit of South Peak, and a leanto is located near the summit of the North Peak.  A small campground is located at the base which can accommodate tents to campers of all size.  Visitors can also swim, fish for brook trout, and go boating in Echo Lake.

BIKE

bike Maine

This information was gathered from the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, including route maps.  Check out their website for other great bike rides in Maine!

1. St. John Valley Heritage Trail

Distance:   13 miles
Difficulty:  Easy
Surface:  Mainly paved roads, a few short hard-packed gravel sections
Route Attractions:  America’s First Mile, Fort Kent Historical Society Gardens
Description:  Located in Fort Kent, a region with deep French Acadian history, this short loop route begins near the shore of the St. John River.  It passes mainly through farmland and fields and alongside rivers and streams.

2. Potato Country- Aroostook River Ride

Distance:  28 miles
Difficulty:  Moderate
Surface:  Paved Roads
Description:  This loop takes cyclists on a tour through Maine’s farmlands in “Potato Country.”  Fields of potato blossoms can be seen late June through mid-July and range in color from white to pink and even pale purple.

3.  Katahdin Views Loop- Patten to Smyrna Mills to Island Falls

Distance:  47 miles
Difficulty:  Moderate to Difficult
Surface:  Paved Roads
Route Attractions:  Lumberman’s Museum, Views of Mt. Katahdin
Description:  While the entire route is paved the terrain is challenging as cyclists wind through woodlands, farmland, over hills and past historic communities built from the lumber industry.  Mt. Katahdin looms in the distance and sections of the route offer views of Maine’s largest peak.

4. Penobscot River and Forest – Sherman Mills Loop

Distance:  68 miles
Difficulty:  Difficult
Surface:  Paved Roads
Route Attractions:  Views of Mt. Katahdin
Description:  The challenging terrain of this ride follows along the West Branch of the Penobscot River then through forests, working farmlands, and logging communities.  The scenery and views of Mt. Katahdin make this challenging ride worthwhile.

Mountain Bike

This information was gathered from Maine Trail Finder, including route maps.  Check out their website for other great mountain bike rides in Maine!

1. Trafton Lake

Location:  Limestone
Distance
: 4.5-mile network
Difficulty:  Easy to Moderate
Surface:  Dirt, Forest Floor, Gravel, Crushed Stone, Grass
Pets:  No
Description:  This is a network of loop trails that pass through forests and follow along the edges of potato fields.  There are two categories of loop trails, easy and moderate.  Trails are open year-round and offer RV campsites in the summer months.

2. Salmon Brook Lake Bog Public Reserved Land

Location:  Perham
Distance
: 4.7-mile network
Difficulty:  Moderate
Surface:  Dirt, Forest Floor, Gravel, Crushed Stone, Boardwalk, Bog Bridging
Pets:  Yes
Description:  The first 1.25 miles of this trail is on the Bangor and Aroostook Multi-Use Rail Trail, then it follows a spur to a day-use picnic shelter.  The network of trails passes through forests, over bogs and along the shore of Salmon Brook Lake.  Follow the Bangor and Aroostook Multi-Use Rail Trail for even more miles.  The property consists of 1,857 acres and features northern white cedar swamps and several species of rare plants.  The maximum depth of Salmon Brook Lake is 5 feet.

3. Split Cedar Trails

Location:  Van Buren
Distance
: 11.3-mile network
Difficulty:  Easy, Moderate
Surface:  Gravel, Crushed Stone, Grass
Pets:  Yes
Description:  These are very scenic trails which pass by a small pond and through the woods.  You can park at the trailhead or in town and follow the connector trail to the trailhead.  There are some picnic areas on the property.

4. Nordic Heritage Center

Location:  Fort Fairfield and Presque Isle
Distance
: 16.1-mile network
Difficulty:  Easy, Moderate, Advanced
Surface:  Dirt, Forest Floor, Rock, Ledge
Pets:  Yes
Description:  Trails are color-marked by difficulty level.  Trails on the Presque Isle end are mainly smooth and easy, while trails on the Fort Fairfield end have more technical, challenging features.  There are several picnic areas on the property.  Mt. Katahdin can be seen from some sections of the trail.  There are 17 different marked and named trails with varying degrees of difficulty.

 

Stay Untamed

Angela Quintal-Snowman

Adventurer at Untamed Mainer
Angela enjoys exploring the many beautiful and unique natural places in Maine and sharing her outdoor experiences with others.When not out exploring Maine woods, trails, mountains and waterways Angela can be found plotting and planning her next adventure or buying another backpack.(Because you can never have too many).
Angela Quintal-Snowman
Stay Untamed

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