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A Bit of the History of the Upper Androscoggin River

Upper Andro-An Emerging Fishery

Fifty years ago the Androscoggin River from Berlin, NH to its confluence with the Kennebec was one of the top ten most polluted rivers in the United States. Today, thanks to environmental cleanup by federal, state and municipal agencies, the Upper Androscoggin River is an emerging angling destination. The clean up has allowed the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to implement an aggressive recovery program. Brown trout are liberally stocked-40,000 since 1998. To supplement recovering wild stocks of rainbow trout, the department has stocked an additional 8000 rainbows.

The “Upper Andro” is a large, scenic river with an excellent forage base for brown and rainbow trout. This river has the unique feature of providing fishing for smallmouth bass through the “dog days” of summer in the pools from Bear River to Rumford. Landowners have provided excellent access points to the river and several canoe launches have been built along the 26 mile stretch of river. Says Bill Pierce, Public Relations Representative of the Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, “The Upper Andro has it all-especially for families-beauty, abundant brownies and the vacation activities and hospitality services of Bethel.”

This is from the Bethel Historical Society.

Historic Log Drives On the Androscoggin River in MaineOne of the largest rivers in northern New England, the Androscoggin drains an area of over 3,400 square miles in New Hampshire and Maine. The 170-mile waterway begins its journey near Errol, New Hampshire, at the outlet to the Rangeley Lakes and, punctuated with numerous rapids and falls, eventually mingles with the waters of the Kennebec River in Merrymeeting Bay below Brunswick, Maine. One of the most polluted rivers in the country by the 1960s, the Androscoggin has made a comeback thanks to more stringent rules governing industrial waste and municipal sewage, and is today a significant recreational resource for many communities situated along its banks This exhibition—through the use of selected images, artifacts and text—presents a vivid picture of the Androscoggin’s past as a transportation route (especially for logs during the 19th and 20th centuries), a source of nutrients for agricultural production and waterpower for industry, a subject for artists and photographers, and a destination for fishermen, canoeists and nature enthusiasts.

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