Maine Striper Fishing

I love Maine striper fishing, and consider Maine to be my home waters. I caught my first striped bass in the Saco River on a chuck of mackerel many years ago, and my first fly fishing striper was also in Maine about 2 decades ago.

Maine has an enormous coastline and a wide mix of terrain, ranging
from rocky coasts, which I love fishing, both surf and protected
sandy beaches, big rivers down to small creeks, and everything in
between.

There are even some flats fishing for stripers, but due to the big tidal changes this is pretty limited. It's not unusual for the difference between high tide and low tide to be 12 feet during the new and full moons and even the wimpiest of tides during the half moon are usually 6+ feet.

Maine stripers show up in early May, usually around May 7th or 10th in the far southern part of the state, and always first in the rivers and streams. The mouths on an outgoing tide are good bets, and usually the last half of the tide is best. A sinking line and clouser minnow work well! In early June the fishing starts off the beaches and the bigger fish start showing up. If I were concentrating on big fish I'd wait until late June or early July when there are more of them around.

My Top Maine Striper Pick: The last two hours of the morning outgoing tide on a new or full moon at river mouths, especially when the low tide is negative (check your tide chart). This means early morning to dawn.

My Top Maine Striper Time of Year: Late Sept, early October, at least for Southern Maine. A few weeks earlier up north.

By May 20th a few striped bass have usually made it to Portland Maine, which is about an hours drive north from the New Hampshire border, but it's not really steady fishing until Memorial Day. Maine is a big state; I wouldn't consider going fishing much further north until June and of course the further north you go the later fish show up, but it's fair to say that in June stripers are everywhere.

The latest I've caught a striper in Maine is October 19th and I'm sure there are fish around longer, especially the years where there are no major fall storms to drive the fish away. With the alleged global warming and warm falls we've been experiencing, it's not uncommon to see people fishing after most if not all of the fish are gone! Stripers key their migrations not only off of water temperatures but also length of daylight and other factors.

Day fishing is particularly notable during May, June, Sept, and October, and sometimes may even be better than fishing at night. The water is cool in Maine as the fish are much more active during daylight hours than further south.

Some stripers are thought to winter in Maine and there are breeding populations as well. Although there are some stripers in southern Nova Scotia, and the water looks awesome there, most people consider Maine to be their northern limit (but I still want to fish Nova Scotia again!).

There are some big stripers in Maine, and I've met many of them personally. This will be controversial, but I honestly believe there are many more big fish further south, for example Cape Cod on down. That said, during the months of July and August Maine just may be the best place to take a big striper.

Other species the striper fly fisherman may encounter are mackerel, bluefish, shad, and pollack. I've seen mackerel as shockingly late as November 1st in Scarborough Maine, and even caught a bluefish as late as October 1st in Biddeford. Both Scarborough and Biddeford are slightly south of Portland.

Well known areas include the Kennebec River, Saco River and all of Casco Bay near Portland, but all of Maine is fishable and holds stripers! Just find a spot that looks good, whether anyone considers it a "fishing spot" or not, and give it a try. It would take a lifetime to explore all of Maine's striper fishing!

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