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Parks & Recreation Areas

Man fly fishing at Grand Falls on the Dead River.

Man fly fishing at Grand Falls on the Dead River.

Photo Credit: Garth McElroy


The Dead River and its North and South Branches in western Maine offer you a variety of environments in which to fish for wild and stocked brook trout, landlocked salmon, and the occasional wild rainbow trout.The river has an extended catch-and-release season that runs from Oct. 1 to Nov. 30.

The North Branch

The North Branch originates in the Chain of Ponds near the Canadian border and flows southeast to Eustis and Flagstaff Lake.Here you can fish for wild and stocked brook trout. Route 27 follows the river closely along much of its course, providing good access for fishing.You can canoe along the lower 10 miles of the North Branch.

The South Branch

The South Branch originates in Saddleback Lake near Rangeley and flows northeast to Stratton and Flagstaff Lake.Here you can also fish for wild and stocked brook trout. For about half its length,Route 16 provides convenient access where it follows the South Branch closely. You can take a day trip by canoe down the lower most seven miles above Stratton.

The Main Stem

The main stem of the Dead River flows from Flagstaff Lake north,then east for 24 miles to The Forks, where it enters the Kennebec River. Water stored in Flagstaff Lake provides season-long flows to the river downstream.

Downstream to Grand Falls

You can fish for stocked and wild brook trout,landlocked salmon, and wild rainbow trout in the stretch of river immediately downstream from Flagstaff Lake. Wading is possible in the upper reaches of this section, but the long deadwater above Grand Falls is most effectively fished from a boat or canoe.

Below Grand Falls

Below Grand Falls most of the Dead River is both wild and remote. Fishing is catch and release only from Grand Falls to Spencer Stream. The area immediately below the falls, accessible by vehicle after a long drive over a gravel road network, is a good spot to fish for wild brook trout and landlocked salmon. Below this section, access to all but the last few miles is limited and difficult. The pocket pools and runs that characterize the lowermost reaches of the Dead River can be accessed from Route 201 in The Forks.Here you can wade to fish for brook trout, landlocked salmon and wild rainbow trout.