When do Stripers Arrive in Maine?

When do Stripers Arrive in Maine?

The question every saltwater angler in Maine has on their mind...

Each year, as April unfolds and freshwater anglers head back to the Maine’s rivers and lakes, saltwater anglers begin counting the days wondering when the Striped Bass will arrive in Maine waters.  Here’s the answer with a minor caveat.

Stripe Bass Arrival Timeline:

2nd Week of May: Generally, the first migrants show up in the southern Maine waters, south of Portland

3rd Week of May: Portland/Yarmouth/Freeport see their first arrivals

End of May: The Kennebec and nearby rivers often have stripers

July: Striped Bass can be found in large numbers all along the coast

These are general estimates and can vary from year to year. 

Fish Types:

Generally small fish, called scouts by the locals, are first, followed by midsized fish a week or two  later.

Variables in Arrival Time:

Though there are good natured disagreements, most anglers think their arrival is dictated by water temperatures, though there’s no doubt that the arrival of baitfish in local waters does not hurt. By early June, large numbers of striped bass will have moved into areas above the Kennebec. By July, they will be found in large numbers all along the coast. They will stay around until October.

Choosing an Early Season Lure

Choosing successful early season lures isnt complicated. Pack a lot of jigs, bucktails, plastic bodies with jigheads. Low and slow is key while the water is still cold. Same goes for flies. Weighted flies like clousers are the go to flies early in the season. Marshes, estuaries and mudflats where the water is warmed by the sun are good places to pick up your first fish of the season.

Know Before You Go

Familiarize yourself with local fishing regulations before heading out, and make sure you have all the equipment you need by shopping at an established Maine retailer like Maine Sport. See our fishing collection or shop at our Rockport store for full selection and expert advice.
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