Down River Camps has been in operation for around 75 years. Our family has owned and operated it for the past 38 years. Owned and Operated by Carl and Nannette Romanelli. We are NOT the new kids on the block. Anyone who is serious about Smallmouth bass fishing has to end up in Washington County Maine at some point. Washington County is the easternmost county in Maine and we are in the easternmost part of The County. Our waters abut Canada. Our remoteness keeps us under fished and with very little population. This ensures you have what you came looking for, a sense of pristine wilderness and hardly any boat traffic. A typical 8 hour day of fishing, you "might" see 6 boats, there's about 10,000 acres just in "our" water alone.
If that's not enough for you (and it will be), you can boat to the west and you have another 15,000 acres to poke around in.
Around the turn of the last century when a train was the only way to get here, progress set in. They tore up the railroad tracks and Canada/America decided to flood the west branch of the St Croix River and put in a Hydro Dam. They flooded 10,000 acres of forest and thus created the Grand Falls Flowage. No, they never cut the trees down, they just flooded the woods. Now, a hundred years later, this is what you’re fishing in and over. The trees above the water line are for the most part, gone. The stumps of those trees, however are not. Whether you're fishing in 2 feet of water or 17 feet, the stumps are still there and right up to or near the surface.
It's not exactly a place you want to speed around for fear of ruining your lower units or props. There's very little rock and much wood. It's unusual because it looks like the best "Large-mouth" water you've ever seen, but it's 90% Smallmouth. Don't let the stumps scare you, we have large bass boats here all the time. You have to be careful and take it easy until you get comfortable with the place. If you're not a speed freak and have an ounce of sense, you'll have no problem. If you do like going fast in your boat, be prepared to put on an extra prop or ruin your trip as your boat will more than likely not be able to be fixed quickly up here. If you want to water ski or zip around at 5O mph, this is NOT the place for you.
The "Flowage" consists of many coves, peninsulas and some islands. It's not like fishing in one big bathtub. A lot of places to nook into corners. Just because a windy day comes up doesn't mean you have to go out and get tossed all over the place. Many hiding places. We do have our deep spots but for the most part, you'll be fishing in 3-8 ft of water, even on the hottest days. There is no "best" time to come. It's different here than it is in the southern areas of New England. The fishing starts around the 2nd week of May, stays consistent all summer, then starts to peter out sometime in late September. It's not the normal-start out good--die off when it gets hot---come back later in the year. For equipment, just bring what you're comfortable with back home and bring a little extra because you tend to lose a little more in this water (Between the stumps and the fish). There are just too many variables to tell you a number of how many fish you'll catch in a day. A bad fisherman on a bad day will get 2. A good fisherman on a good day will get a 100. Let's put it this way, you're not going to find an area of the country where you're going to get much better smallmouth fishing. If you don't do well here, I don't know what I can tell you. We do have other species of fish here. Everyone comes for smallmouth but for your info, we have loads of good size pickerel, from there it’s yellow perch, white perch, catfish, eels and an occasional salmon. The primary baitfish are golden shiners. I CAN come close to telling you what sizes of bass you'll catch. For the most part the bass will be in the 13 to 18 inch range. You will get a few smaller than that and you should get a few bigger than that too. Catching a 2 to 2 and a half pound bass is a most common event.
We've been here 38 years and believe it or not, we have a few guests who have been here longer than us. We are busy from when we open for the season until we close. Our guests know us and we know them. We are 90% full all season long from regular customers. This website is here to fill in the remaining 10%. I love to see one new guest a week. Everyone here is friendly and very helpful to new people who are "good eggs". You can be a hermit if you want, or you can join everyone at the "liar fire" on the waterfront at night. Most come on down and others want to be by themselves. Nobody really cares what you do. Do what you're comfortable with. Social butterfly or hermit, it's up to you.