Allagash Wilderness Waterway - Allagash River

Churchill Depot was once a thriving logging village with families, homes, and a school. The remnants of the old boarding house still stand at the depot, along with a small logging museum with tools and artifacts from the logging boom, including a 20′ wooden bateau. This is also another popular access spot for the waterway as there are improved gravel roads that lead directly to the dam. There is also a ranger station and several campsites for canoeists to utilize on their journey. The headwater of the Allagash River boasts some of the best native brook trout fishing in the entire state, and it represents a spot I have been fishing since I was three years old (1988). The water level of the river is controlled by the dam which increases the flow daily around 10am for canoers to continue their journey downriver, actually north. There are about three miles of class II rapids immediately after the dam that are a bit technical, but loads of fun to canoe through. The ranger at the dam will portage all gear down to the old Bissonnette Bridge where it can be reloaded after running the rapids. 

From the old bridge, it is six miles down to the delta-like entrance of Umsaskis Lake. A popular spot to camp for the night as the slow meandering river has many back channels where an abundance of wildlife resides, especially in the evening; a great place to get up close and personal with moose! This area is also great dry fly fishing for brook trout in the spring. From here it is an 11 mile paddle across Umsaskis, past another ranger station and gravel road access point, across Long Lake to Long Lake dam. Through this stretch there are numerous springs and stream inlets where native brook trout reside. Across from the ranger station at the north end of Umsaskis is a nice ledge hole that holds big lake trout.

Long Lake dam is a tricky spot to navigate as the old dam cribworks still remain just under the surface and can give a false sense of being able to canoe over them safely. There are large metal spikes scattered through the cribworks that can easily tear through a canoe if not navigated properly. Inexperienced canoers are strongly recommended to portage the dam on the east side of the river. The large pool below the old cribworks holds very nice brook trout, as well as the numerous stream inlets just below the old dam.

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