Striped bass, bluefish and mackerel are the major saltwater game species available in the Bath area, although numbers of the first 2 have been somewhat lacking in recent years. Although all 3 species can sometimes be taken directly off Bath, the action tends to be better downriver.
The greatest number of trophy fish congregate near the river mouth. The waters off Popham Beach and Fort Popham have produced some very large fish (up to 40 pounds) in past years, but again, not so many in the last 4 seasons. Fishing live mackerel or mackerel chunks can be the ticket to success along the beaches. Working upriver, stripers can be taken by casting poppers, swimming plugs and flies alongside shoreline structure and in the rips. Fiddler Reach, a bit below Bath, can be a very productive area, as are the 2 bridges and many docks and pilings along the Bath shoreline. (Note: do not fish within 400’ of the Bath Iron Works.)
The macks are a blast on light tackle and fly-fishing gear, and will aggressively smack anything silver.
Many of the fish you’ll encounter in the Kennebec will be schoolies, best handled with light to medium-light spinning outfit and 12-pound line. Atom Poppers, Zara Spooks, bucktail jigs tipped with porkrind, swim shads and Rapala swimmers will all take fish.
If you like fly-fish, white and white/chartreuse are the most productive colors for stripers, with Lefty’s Deceivers, Clouser Minnows, bunker flies and sliders the most popular patterns. Of course, always try to match the prevailing forage if you can figure it out.
It’s important to note that between November 30 and July 1, fishing for stripers in the Kennebec is catch-and-release, artificial-lures only. At other times, you can keep 1 striper per day, but it has to measure between 20” and 26” or over 40”.
If you want to catch some bait for stripers, or just have some fun with the kids, mackerel ranging from “tinkers” up to 20-inchers arrive in mid- to late June. The macks are a blast on light tackle and fly-fishing gear, and will aggressively smack anything silver. You can fish for them one at a time with 4-pound-class spinning gear.
As mentioned, bluefish are another local favorite. However, the past few seasons have seen only a trickle of big blues in the area. If they show, try working poppers on the surface, or casting shiny metal spoons like the 1-ounce Hopkins Shorty, KastMaster or a tube-tailed diamond jig. Blues can be found feeding under brids in open water near the river mouth, but also cruise the beachfronts and the waters off Fort Popham. Trolling a Bomber Long-A plug in these areas or inside the river is a good way to score.
Bait & Tackle:
- Capt. Dave Pecci, Obsession Charters (207 841-1444)
- Gillies & Fallon Guide Service (207-389-2300)
- Kennebec Tidewater Charters (207-737-4695)
Anglers over the age of 16 who wish to fish in Maine’s marine waters out to 3 miles from shore, including the waters surrounding its offshore islands, must register annually with the state. There is a $1 to $2 service fee to register. The permit expires on December 31.
The following individuals do not need to register:
- Persons under the age of 16.
- Persons fishing aboard a charter or partyboat.
- Persons renting a smelt shack from an individual who holds a commercial operator’s permit.
- Persons with a disability.
- Disabled veterans.
- Persons holding a saltwater recreational fishing license from another state.
- Maine residents who purchased a freshwater fishing license and who checked a box indicating that they intend to fish in saltwater.
- Maine residents fishing on July 4, Memorial Day weekend, or Labor Day weekend.
To register online, go to:
Seasons, Catch & Size Limits
For information on Maine’s saltwater fishing regulations, by species, go to: Maine Department of Marine Resources.