Fishing Castine, Maine

Mackerel provide fairly dependable sport for light-tackle anglers off Castine. Courtesy Wikimeda Commons.

Castine does not rank high on the list of fishing hot spots, although the waters off the mouth of the Bagaduce River can hold stripers (sometimes), mackerel (usually) and (if you’re lucky) bluefish. On the plus side, what the area lacks in action it more than makes up for in scenic surroundings.

You can often score by working rocky points and humps between Castine and Harborside on Cape Rosier.

Mackerel are the closest thing to a sure bet here, usually making their appearance in late May and early July. You can find the 1- to 2-pound macks working close to shore early and late in the day through the summer and into September. You can even catch them right in front of the Castine town dock. Many anglers use mackerel trees to catch the speedy torpedoes in quantity. For more sport, however, you can toss a small jig or tin with a 6- to 8-pound-test spinning outfit and have a blast battling these fish one at a time. Fly-fishermen can also catch them on epoxy minnows retrieved with rapid twitches on a 5- to 7-weight outfit.

As the mackerel begin to settle down in June, stripers arrive at the mouth of the Bagaduce and move upriver to chase herring and alewives that are leaving their upstream spawning grounds. These early-run stripers can be large, with many topping out at between 20 and 30 pounds, and a few even cracking the 40-pound mark.

By early July, most of the stripers have eased their way back downriver, where they splinter into smaller pods and mix with schoolies. You can often score by working rocky points and humps between Castine and Harborside on Cape Rosier. Drifting live eels, mackerel fillets and mackerel chunks on the bottom is a popular method off Dice Head, at the mouth of Castine Harbor. Novice anglers should avoid trolling for the stripers in the Bagaduce, as the bottom is very rocky and snags are a problem.

Bluefish also visit the Bagaduce some years, but are unreliable targets. If they show, it’s usually at the mouth of the river between the Maritime Academy and Harborside, where you may be able to catch them on diamond jigs, topwaters, swimming plugs or spoons.

Bait & Tackle

  • Down East Fishing Gear (207-348-6800)
  • Mike’s Bait (207-348-2478)

Charters

License Requirements

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.

Exemptions:

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:

(MOSES) Maine Online Sportsman Electronic System

Seasons, Catch & Size Limits

For information on Maine’s saltwater fishing regulations, by species, go to: Maine Department of Marine Resources.

Mackerel provide fairly dependable sport for light-tackle anglers off Castine. Courtesy Wikimeda Commons.

Castine does not rank high on the list of fishing hot spots, although the waters off the mouth of the Bagaduce River can hold stripers (sometimes), mackerel (usually) and (if you’re lucky) bluefish. On the plus side, what the area lacks in action it more than makes up for in scenic surroundings.

You can often score by working rocky points and humps between Castine and Harborside on Cape Rosier.

Mackerel are the closest thing to a sure bet here, usually making their appearance in late May and early July. You can find the 1- to 2-pound macks working close to shore early and late in the day through the summer and into September. You can even catch them right in front of the Castine town dock. Many anglers use mackerel trees to catch the speedy torpedoes in quantity. For more sport, however, you can toss a small jig or tin with a 6- to 8-pound-test spinning outfit and have a blast battling these fish one at a time. Fly-fishermen can also catch them on epoxy minnows retrieved with rapid twitches on a 5- to 7-weight outfit.

As the mackerel begin to settle down in June, stripers arrive at the mouth of the Bagaduce and move upriver to chase herring and alewives that are leaving their upstream spawning grounds. These early-run stripers can be large, with many topping out at between 20 and 30 pounds, and a few even cracking the 40-pound mark.

By early July, most of the stripers have eased their way back downriver, where they splinter into smaller pods and mix with schoolies. You can often score by working rocky points and humps between Castine and Harborside on Cape Rosier. Drifting live eels, mackerel fillets and mackerel chunks on the bottom is a popular method off Dice Head, at the mouth of Castine Harbor. Novice anglers should avoid trolling for the stripers in the Bagaduce, as the bottom is very rocky and snags are a problem.

Bluefish also visit the Bagaduce some years, but are unreliable targets. If they show, it’s usually at the mouth of the river between the Maritime Academy and Harborside, where you may be able to catch them on diamond jigs, topwaters, swimming plugs or spoons.

Bait & Tackle

  • Down East Fishing Gear (207-348-6800)
  • Mike’s Bait (207-348-2478)

Charters

License Requirements

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.

Exemptions:

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:

(MOSES) Maine Online Sportsman Electronic System

Seasons, Catch & Size Limits

For information on Maine’s saltwater fishing regulations, by species, go to: Maine Department of Marine Resources.