Largemouth bass fishing on Hutchinson Pond in Albany Township, Maine (July 25, 2015)

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View from the launch of Hutchinson Pond with the mountains in the background

View from the public access point of Hutchinson Pond with the mountains in the background. She is pretty!

Hutchinson Pond is a 93-acre body of water located in Albany Township, Oxford County (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 10 C4). The pond can easily be accessed by driving down Hutchinson Pond Road (off Hunts Corner Road) for exactly 1.4 miles. The state-leased public access point is marked on the left of the road by a small Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife sign.  The pond is reachable via a rough 150-ft tote trail which can only accommodate small hand-carried craft, such as a canoe or kayak. A few cars can be parked along the shoulder of the road next to the access point. Hutchinson Pond is quite a beauty! It is framed along the northeastern horizon by three tall hills, namely Lovejoy Mountain (1792 ft), Peabody Mountain (1575 ft), and Patch Mountain (1565 ft). The watershed is completely forested. Parts of the shoreline are moderately developed, supporting less than two dozen houses and summer cottages. One thing strikes me immediately upon arrival: none of the docks jutting out into the water display power boats, jet skis or pontoon boats! I assume that’s due to a lack of a boat launch, which limits the release and retrieval of these larger craft. It also means guaranteed peaceful quietness for property owners and fishermen alike.

 

 

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Largemouth bass fishing on Marshall Pond in Hebron, Maine (July 18, 2015)

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General view of Marshall Pond

General view of the upper half of Marshall Pond looking north

Marshall Pond (a.k.a. Matthews Pond) is a 142-acre body of water located in the towns of Hebron and Oxford, Oxford County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 11 D2&3). The pond is situated at the end of Marshall Pond Road, off Merrill Hill Road. Public access is available at an unimproved boat launch found right next to the cement dam at the end of Marshall Pond Road. This sandy launch can accommodate small trailered boats. A handful of cars can be parked on a small grassy clearing next to the launch. The pond is an impoundment of Dunham Brook which has its source at Hall Pond further upstream. Marshall Pond is another one of those gorgeous little gems that few people know about, even though it is located no more than a dozen miles west of the Lewiston-Auburn area. About two dozen houses are scattered along its shoreline. Most are discreetly tucked into the surrounding woods and are barely visible from the water. A number of unobtrusive docks jut into the pond, but none of them displays large power boats or jet skis, providing a sense of quietness and peace. The surrounding landscape is completely forested and green.

 

 

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Basic lures for largemouth bass fishing

Largemouth bass fishing is a favorite pastime for many people in the summer. The tackle industry has eagerly responded to this pent-up demand by developing a bewildering variety of lures to catch these fish. Anyone who has ever visited a ProBass or Cabela’s store knows what I’m talking about. If we multiply the several dozen bass lure types by their hundreds of variations, one ends up with many thousands of different kinds of lures!! That is enough to give anyone an instant head ache. I also suspect that more than a few of these lures are designed to hook fishermen more than the fish they seek to catch…

Yet, out of all this clutter emerge five proven lures which have worked time and time again for me. Keep in mind that most largemouth bass fishing occurs in relatively shallow water (say, less than 10 ft) rich with structure, such as aquatic vegetation, submerged wood, boulders, sunken reefs, and/or docks. Most of the lures discussed below are designed to operate in such an environment. What follows is a summary overview of these basic lures and how best to use them. I’ve arranged the presentation in the order in which I spend my time fishing with these lures. Keep in mind that this information is based largely on personal experiences. I do most of my bass fishing on relatively small ponds and lakes which experience low fishing pressure. So I can get away with using bolder lures that might scare away wearier bass in more heavily-fished areas. Regardless, don’t be shy and try different variations on a lure until you find the one that works for you. Keep in mind that more often than not, whether a particular lure “works” often depends on the confidence the fisherman has in that lure. And that confidence can only be gained by going out on the water, wetting the line, and letting the fish tell you what works best!

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Smallmouth bass fishing on the Androscoggin River, Lisbon Falls, Maine (June 13, 2015)

General view of the Androscoggin River below the Pejepscott boat launch

General view of the Androscoggin River below the Pejepscott boat launch

I’m taking my 12-year old nephew Christian fishing on the Androscoggin River today. One of my preferred spots on this delightful water body is the stretch that runs from the Lisbon Falls Hydrodam, located just upstream of the bridge that carries Route 125 over the river, down to the Pejepscot Hydrodam located about 3 miles further downstream (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 6 B2). The Pejepscot hard-top boat launch right before the entrance to Lisbon Falls off Route 196 (driving north) provides easy access to the river with plenty of parking. This strectch of river is also a favorite of canoeists and kayakers because the current is relatively slow, except for about 1000 ft or so below the Lisbon Falls Hydrodam. The setting downstream of the boat launch is also gorgeous, with nothing but trees lining both banks of the river. The stretch upstream of the boat launch is more build-up but represents prime smallmouth habitat (more about that later). We start with focusing our attention further downstream in the hope of catching northern pike.

 

 

 

 

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Smallmouth bass fishing on Panther Pond, Raymond, Maine (May 8, 2015)

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The eastern shoreline of Panther Pond, with Betty's Neck in the left background.

The eastern shoreline of Panther Pond, with Betty’s Neck in the left background.

Some of the best smallmouth bass fishing on Maine lakes occurs in mid-spring when the fish are moving in-shore to prepare to lay their eggs. Typical smallmouth bass spawning habitat consists of a clean, rocky and bouldery shoreline in 2 to 10 ft of water, with easy access to nearby deeper water. The fish start moving in these shallows when the water temperature reaches the low 50’s in early May. Actual spawning typically starts towards the end of May when the water temperature hovers between the high 50’s and mid 60’s. The smallmouths feed aggressively in May in order to fatten up in preparation for the spawn. The goal, therefore, is to position oneself at the right place and the right time, using the right lure and the right fishing technique, in order to take advantage of this short window of opportunity.

 

 

 

 

 

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Ice fishing for splake and smallmouth bass on Trickey Pond in Naples, Maine (March 29, 2015)

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Trickey Pond is a 311 acre pristine body of water located next to Route 114 in Naples, Cumberland County (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 4 B5). I have fished this pond numerous times in the past (for recent examples, click here and here) and have invariably found it … trickey and unpredictable! The fishing can be really slow but also rewarding for those who are willing to put in the time and learn its secrets. Today is my last day of the 2015 hard water season. The past winter was long, cold, brutal, and snowy. We experienced what folks around here call a good ole Maine winta! I’m fishing this morning for a couple of hours but have also organized a picnic for later on today on this pond with about 25 friends and family members. The purpose of our get-together is to shake off “cabin fever”, celebrate the end of the cold season and welcome in the start of spring.

 

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Ice fishing for largemouth bass on Island Pond in Waterford, Maine (March 14, 2015)

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Island Pond is a 166 acre body of water located in Waterford, Oxford County (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 10 E5). The focus of my attention this morning is the long but narrow island found in the southern half of the pond. My aim is to put into practice some of the techniques discussed here in order to catch late-winter, pre-spawning largemouth bass. I’m particularly interested in the larger females which are heavy and bloated with eggs this time of the year. I surmise that the shoreline of the island, particularly the half facing west towards the deeper water, represents bass spawning habitat. If I’m correct, then the bass should be congregating along the drop-offs in front of those shallows like they typically do in late winter to prepare for the spring spawn. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information. Note that the State has no size or bag limit for bass on this pond. I release all my bass but know from experience that this water body supports a serious largemouth bass population.

 

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Largemouth bass fishing on Bickford Pond in Porter, Maine (September 6, 2014)

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The access point is located at the southern end of Bickford Pond

The access point is located at the southern end of Bickford Pond

Bickford Pond is a 237-acre body of water nestled in southern Oxford County next to the New Hampshire border in Porter, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 4 C1). A sandy boat launch is located at the southern tip of the pond, next to the dam by the outlet. This rough launch can accommodate small trailered boats. It is accessible via Dam Road, which connects Bickford Pond Road with Colcord Pond Road. Both of these roads run along the western and eastern shores Bickford Pond, respectively.  Several cars can be parked in the boat launch area. Note that the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer does not identify this access point using its iconic boat symbol.

 

 

 

 

 

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Largemouth bass fishing on Granger Pond in Denmark, Maine (September 6, 2014)

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The access point to Granger Pond is sandy and steek

The access point to Granger Pond is sandy and steep

Granger Pond is a 125-acre body of water located in Denmark, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 4 B3). A rough town access point is located at the very southern tip of the pond, off Bushrow Road. Beware that the path connecting the road to the pond is quite steep and consists of a loose, sandy material full of small washout gullies. I do not dare drive my front wheel-drive car down to the pond because I’d get stuck in this loose material on my way back up. With the benefit of a 4X4, the launch could accommodate a small trailered boat in a pinch, but in my estimation should only be used to launch car-top craft, like canoes or kayaks. Cars can be parked on the shoulder of Bushrow Road.

 

 

 

 

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Largemouth bass fishing on Ingalls Pond in Baldwin, Maine (August 30, 2014)

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View of Ingalls Pond from the access point

View of Ingalls Pond from the access point

Ingalls Pond is a 25-acre body of water located in Baldwin, Maine (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 4 C3). The pond is located immediately to the left of Route 113 (looking north). A smaller lobe of the pond, which I did not visit, is located to the right of this road (again, looking north). A traditional access point is situated off Route 113. This launch can only accommodate hand-carried craft. Parking is either in the woods right next to the access point or on the shoulder by the road.

 

 

 

 

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