The main part of the Penobscot is by far one of the best small mouth bass rivers in the country. It is big and beautiful with many islands and bald eagles. It is not uncommon to catch 50 or more fish in one day of fishing.
There are a few options when boating on the Penobscot. If you really want to explore the river you need a jet boat because the river can go from fifteen feet deep to only inches of water. Another way to fish the river is by canoe or drift boat. If you put in at one boat ramp and float to the other boat ramp down river, you can fish a lot of water. There is no major white water to speak of but, use caution because the flows can change without notice.
The Penobscot is known for its logging history. Many logs were run down this river and there are still remnants of them. You will see the heads of old logs sticking out of the water and small gravel islands where they would tie up the logs. Therefore, you need to navigate carefully when traveling its waters.
The fish range from 10 inches to five pounds but, one thing you will notice is that they feel a lot bigger than they are. They spend their days fighting the mighty current and become very powerful. So a 12 inch small mouth will feel more like a 15 inch fish found in most lakes.
I use 6 to 8 weight rods depending on the size of flies I am throwing but, mostly I use a 6 weight and you can fish all day. You don’t have the big hatches like up on the west branch but, you will see some stone flies, caddis and damsel fly hatches.
A nice selection of flies would be, clousers in different colors and sizes, big and small poppers, buggers in all sizes and colors and terrestrial pattern. Some say the Penobscot River is one of the best small mouth rivers in the country. It is not uncommon to catch 40 or more fish in a day of fishing. Don’t be afraid to fish the side channels and small islands. The river is big and wide and you will have a ball exploring every inch of it.
By Kevin McKay