Smallmouth bass fishing on the Androscoggin River in Auburn, Maine (July 10, 2016)

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The boat launch on the Auburn side of the river, with Longley Bridge in the background hiding the Great Falls

The boat launch on the Auburn side of the river, with Court Street Bridge in the background, hiding Great Falls

I discovered fishing for smallmouth bass on the Androscoggin River in Lewiston last week (click here for details). I decided that I need to continue exploring this section of the river further downstream of Great Falls to appreciate its full potential. So, this evening, I put my small motor boat in the water at the boat launch located off Main Street in Auburn, just below the Route 100/202 bridge (Court Street). The access to this launch is via an unnamed ally off Main Street (Route 136) right after the Festival Plaza, with its unique multi-colored, sail-like awning. The launch area, which is located next to the Auburn River Walk, can accommodate small trailered boats. What is bizarre, though, is the complete lack of public parking next to this hard boat launch. All parking in that general area is by permit only. One alternative is to drive back out onto Main Street and park in the municipal parking lot located directly across from the Festival Plaza. Since Main Street is one-way, it requires driving around the block. I easily find a double parking space (for my truck + trailer) because it’s early Sunday evening and the municipal parking lot is half empty. But I doubt that it would be easy to find space to park a vehicle and trailer at any other time during the week. I also notice lots of signs in that municipal parking lot stating that vehicles can only be parked for a maximum of 2 hours during the day. Keep these parking limitations in mind if you are planning on launching a motorized boat from this location.

 

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Smallmouth bass fishing on the Androscoggin River in Lewiston, Maine (July 2, 2015)

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I put in my canoe at the Simard-Payne Memorial Park. The Court Street bridge is in the background further upstream.

I put in my canoe at the Simard-Payne Memorial Park. The Court Street bridge is in the background further upstream.

I love fishing for smallmouth bass on the Androscoggin River (click here and here for examples)! This waterway provides a premier bronzeback fishery in southern Maine. I focus my attention this afternoon in the general area at and downstream of Great Falls, located just upstream of the Court Street bridge (routes 100/202) in downtown Lewiston. I haven’t fished this area before, so I’m on the look-out for an access point. I first park at Heritage Park next to the bridge but the rip-rap shoreline is just too steep to safely launch – or retrieve – my canoe. I cross Court Street, drive down Water Street (which runs behind the Hampton Inn Hotel) and park my car on the public parking lot behind the hotel. A quick walk across the pedestrian bridge and into Simard-Payne Memorial Park confirms easy access to the river. I note here that this park also allows for ample shore fishing opportunities. I strap my canoe onto my “canoe wheels”, place my fishing equipment inside, and wheel the whole kit and caboodle to the water’s edge. The wind is ripping down the river. Fortunately, the shoreline is full of boulders, some of which I stack in the front of my boat to provide much-needed counter weight. I’m on the water and ready to fish by 1:30 pm.

 

 

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Smallmouth bass fishing on Crescent Lake in Raymond, Maine (June 18, 2016)

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The Crescent Lake boat launch is wide and spacious but comes right off busy Route 85

The Crescent Lake boat launch is wide and spacious but comes right off busy Route 85

Crescent Lake is a 716-acre body of water located in Raymond, Maine (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 B2). It is part of an interconnected waterway consisting of four lakes (namely Raymond Pond, Crescent Lake, Panther Pond, and Sebago Lake) and three streams (namely an unnamed and non-navigable stream connecting Raymond Pond to Crescent Lake, the navigable Tenney River connecting Crescent Lake to Panther Pond, and the navigable Panther Run connecting Panther Pond to Jordan Bay in Sebago Lake). The public access point to Crescent Lake is located at its southern tip next to Route 85. The launch is hard-topped and can accommodate big boats. Parking is on the shoulder of Route 85. However, beware that maneuvering the boat to get it down the ramp occurs on busy Route 85 itself.

 

 

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Largemouth bass fishing on Mosher Pond, Fayette, Maine (September 26, 2015)

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View of Mosher Pond from the access point off Chesterville Ridge Road

View of Mosher Pond from the access point off Chesterville Ridge Road

Mosher Pond (a.k.a. Lane’s Pond) is a 76-acre body of water located in the town of Fayette (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 12 A1). One access point I found is located on Chesterville Ridge Road (also called Mosher Pond Road in Google Maps) at the very southern tip of the pond. Only small hand-carried craft can be launched from this point. Plenty of parking is available alongside the road.

 

 

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Largemouth bass fishing on Brainard Pond, Readfield, Maine (September 26, 2015)

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The access point to Brainard Pond. The fog on the water is so thick that the pond, located right behind Christian, is invisible!

The access point to Brainard Pond. The fog on the water is so thick that the pond, located right behind Christian, is invisible!

Brainard Pond is a 20-acre body of water located in the town of Readfield (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 12 B4). I found one access point as follows: turn on Plains Road from Route 17, drive north on Plains Road for just under 0.5 mile and look for an unnamed gravel road on the left. You’ve gone too far on Plains Road if you pass Brainard Road.  Turn left on the gravel road and go straight unto a forest path when the gravel road veers to the left after about 0.1 mile. The pond is located 0.3 miles further down this path. It looks rough and overgrown but my small front-wheel-drive car made it in and out fine. I did walk first all the way to the pond and back just to make sure that I wouldn’t get stuck! I’m assuming for the purpose of this blog that this access is legitimate because it was not posted anywhere along the way. You can leave your car in the woods about 200 ft from the pond. Only small hand-carried craft can be launched from this point.

 

 

 

 

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Largemouth bass fishing on Little Cobbosseecontee Lake, Winthrop, Maine (September 19, 2015)

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The access point along Route 202 is a challenge to get in and out of.

The access point along Route 202 is a challenge to get in and out of.

Little Cobbosseecontee Lake is a 75-acre body of water located in the town of Winthrop, Maine (see The Atlas and Gazetteer map 12 C4). Public access to this pond is a real problem. The “boat launch” is situated by the outlet which flows underneath Route 202. This road is a major motorway into and out of Augusta located less than five miles away. The traffic is incessant and flying by at 55+ MPH. The boat and all the fishing equipment needs to be heaved over the road safety railing and down the rip-rap boulders towards the three large culverts. Needless to say, only hand-carried craft can be launched from this point. There’s ample parking on the road shoulder. Please keep in mind that this access is NOT kid-friendly!

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Largemouth bass fishing on Jimmie Pond, Manchester and Farmingdale, Maine (September 19, 2015)

The public access point to Jimmie Pond can only accommodate hand-carried craft

The public access point to Jimmie Pond can only accommodate hand-carried craft

Jimmie Pond (a.k.a. Jamie’s Pond) is a 107-acre body of water located in the towns of Manchester and Farmingdale, Maine (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 12 C4). This pond is at the core of the 915-acre Jamie’s Pond Wildlife Management Area, which is owned and operated by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (click here for details).  The pond and its surrounding land was formerly the property of the Hallowell Water District which supplied drinking water for the nearby town of Hallowell. As a result of this historic use, the pond’s shoreline has remained largely undeveloped, thereby providing an unusually unspoiled setting within a stone’s throw of downtown Augusta. The land surrounding the pond supports various outdoors activities throughout the four seasons (click here for details). The public access to this pond is located by the former pump house at the end of Jamies Pond Road (off Outlet Road). The access point consists of a hard launch but only hand-carried craft can be released because the launch is blocked by two massive boulders. A review of the fishing rules, and searching on the internet, does not suggest that gasoline-powered engines are forbidden on the pond.

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Largemouth bass fishing on Little Purgatory Pond, Litchfield, Maine (September 4, 2015)

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The access point from Whippoorwill Road to Little Purgatory Pond is just a hole through bushes...

The access point from Whippoorwill Road to Little Purgatory Pond is just a hole through bushes…

Little Purgatory Pond is a 44-acre body of water located in Litchfield, Maine (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 12 D3). It is situated just north of Whippoorwill Road and is linked by a short culvert to Woodbury Pond on the opposite side of this road. The access point is quite rough and consists simply of an opening through bushes between the road and the pond. Only hand-carried craft can be launched from this location. The lack of a public boat launch means that fishermen will most likely be fishing this pond pretty much by themselves. Cars can be parked “rough” on the shoulders of Whippoorwill Road. Beware that this road is a surprisingly busy thoroughfare. The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer is actually confusing, because it shows that a substantial spit of land separates these two ponds, even though they are parted only by the width of the road. That baffles the hell out of me because I reach Whippoorwill Road using my GPS, meaning that I’m not paying any attention as to the direction I take to get there. So, I get confused and unknowingly launch my canoe in what turns out to be Woodbury Pond. It takes me a good hour before I realize my error and turn around so that I can finally fish the “right” pond!

 

 

 

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Largemouth bass fishing on Dexter Pond, Wayne and Winthrop, Maine (September 7, 2015)

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The entrance to Dexter Pond passes underneath this low bridge

The entrance to Dexter Pond passes underneath this low bridge

Dexter Pond is a 120-acre body of water located in the towns of Wayne and Winthrop, Maine (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 12 C2). The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer does not show a public boat launch on this pond. Instead, I reach it via Berry Pond. Click here for details on how to access Berry Pond. I note that Google Maps seems to show an access point for hand-carried craft at the extreme southern tip of Dexter Pond off Mount Pisgah Road, but I cannot confirm this fact. Berry and Dexter ponds are separated by a narrow bridge. Beware that the bridge sits quite low over the water. I have less than 2 ft of clearance when I pass underneath it with my canoe. In fact, I have to lay flat on my back on the bottom of the canoe and use my arms to grab the underside of the bridge and push myself forward. I suspect that this passageway might be problematic when the water level is higher in the spring or fall. It is clear that no motor boats could pass between the two ponds regardless of the season.

 

 

 

 

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Largemouth bass fishing on Berry Pond, Wayne and Winthrop, Maine (September 7, 2015)

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The public access point is rather messy...

The public access point is rather messy…

Berry Pond is a 170-acre body of water located in the towns of Wayne and Winthrop, Maine (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 12 C2). The public access point is found at the northern end of the pond, next to Route 133. Only hand-carried crafts can be released from this point. Beware that the launch itself is a muddy mess consisting of a wobbly gang plank and a couple of broken wooden pallets floating on the mud. These conditions may not be as bad in the spring and fall when the water levels are higher. The parking area is extensive and can accommodate many cars. The lack of a hard-top boat launch means that the pond is lightly fished. I also notice only a handful of pontoon boats on the water, indicating that motorized boat traffic is minimal. There’s one fly in this sweet ointment, though… The traffic on Route 133 is incessant. It generates intrusive road noise which impinges on the otherwise peaceful setting.

 

 

 

 

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