Fishing Yarmouth, Maine
THE ROYAL RIVER HAS A LOT GOING FOR IT, ACCORDING TO LOCAL STRIPER GUIDE CAPT. ERIC WALLACE OF COASTAL FLY ANGLER, WHO SPLITS HIS FISHING YEAR BETWEEN CASCO BAY AND THE FLORIDA KEYS. “IT’S ONE OF THE BETTER RIVERS [TO FISH] IN CASCO BAY,” HE SAYS, POINTING OUT THAT THE ROYAL CAN PRODUCE SOLID ACTION WITH STRIPERS FROM JUNE THROUGH SEPTEMBER. WALLACE ADVISES ANGLERS TO FOCUS ON STRUCTURE IN AND AROUND THE ROYAL AND ITS SISTER RIVERS: THE COUSINS AND THE HARRASEEKET. ALL THREE HOLD GOOD NUMBERS OF FISH.
Early in the season, herring enter the river, and these big baits are best matched by large Deceiver flies, Clouser Minnows, Hallow flies and soft-plastic baits (i.e., large Slug-Go’s, Hogies. Swim Shads) fished near rocks and pilings. Wallace prefers an outgoing tide in the river, and says to concentrate on any type of structure that breaks the flow of current.
“The Royal is a dark-bottom river, so use dark lures, such as black or herring-pattern Slug-Gos,” he says. Naturally, early morning and dusk offer the best shot at finding fish near the surface.
A good all-tide ramp can be found at the head of tide on the Royal River.
When the river warms in August, Wallace targets the deeper, cooler water near the mouth of the Royal and other area rivers. Again, rocks, drop-offs, points and areas of good current flow tend to hold the most fish.
In late August and September, juvenile herring begin to collect in the upper tidal reaches of the rivers, often producing outstanding fishing. This is the time to downscale to smaller flies and soft-plastics, including shad-type swimbaits.
While fishing the rivers can be very fun, Wallace’s true passion is stalking bass on the flats of Casco Bay. The rising tide is best, he says, and a crab fly is the way to go. However, he cautions that it’s an extremely tricky fishery to figure out, and takes a good deal of experience to score consistently. Indeed, the novice fisherman is well advised to hire a local guide first—someone like Eric Wallace.
- Capt. Eric Wallace (207) 671-4330; coastalflyangler.com
BAIT & TACKLE
- You’re Hooked Bait & Tackle (Topsham) (207) 725-4665
- LL Bean (207) 552-7772; llbean.com
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.
SEASONS, CATCH & SIZE LIMITS
For information on Maine’s saltwater fishing regulations, by species, go to: Maine Department of Marine Resources.
Flats skiffs make it easy to spot tailing and waking fish in the shallows.