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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
Panther Pond is a 1,439-acre body of water located in Raymond, Maine (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 C2). Access is via an unimproved dirt launch located right before the outlet dam on Mill Street. This launch, which can accommodate larger power boats, is rather steep with a surface consisting of sand and rocks. It can be useful to use a 4X4 vehicle to launch and retrieve motored vessels from this location. Parking for trailered vehicles is “rough” on the side of the road; space is available for only a handful of cars or trucks. A small parking area is located on the opposite side of the dam but can only hold vehicles without trailers. An alternative access option is to release a boat at the official hard-top launch on the southern tip of Crescent Lake (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 B2) and navigate into Panther Pond via the Tenney River.
Jimmy Pond is a 40-acre body of water located in Litchfield, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 12 E3). It is the most-upgradient pond in the Tacoma Lakes chain. This pond should not be confused with Jimmie Pond (a.k.a. Jamies Pond) which is located in the Jamies Pond Wildlife Management Area in Manchester (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 12 C4). Jimmy Pond cannot be accessed directly. Instead, it is reached via a wide weedy stream which connects it to Buker Pond located further downstream. The launch on Buker Pond is off Buker Street, which runs between Buker Pond and Sand Pond. Beware that Buker Street is completely hemmed in by road safety barriers for 1000+ ft on either side of the launch. A small parking area is located next to the launch, but can accommodate no more than 3 small cars. Extra parking is available on the road shoulder, but only passed the road safety barriers.
No Name Pond is a 143-acre body of water located in Lewiston, Androscoggin County (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 12 E1). This pond, which is located just west of Sabattus Pond, can be accessed at its northern end via No Name Pond Road. The access point is rather puzzling. The No Name Pond Association prominently displays several large “Private Property” signs along the shoreline. Yet, an obvious access point connects the road to the lake. A second access point less than 100 ft from the first one has large boulders in front of it. A road sign next to the first access point displays information about removing milfoil from boats before launching, strongly suggesting that this is indeed a public launch. But it also states that parking is prohibited alongside the road between April 15 and November 15 and that violators will be towed… The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer displays a symbol indicating a hand-carry boat launch site at this location. I was unable to find more information on the Internet to clarify this rather perplexing situation. My assessment is that this launch is a legitimate public access point, although I don’t understand the no parking rule (my car was not towed…). Keep in mind that the unimproved launch can only accommodate hand-carried craft.
Heald Pond is an 80-acre body of water located in Lovell, Oxford County (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 10 D2). The unimproved public boat launch is found on Slab City Road (off Route 5) at the southern tip of the pond in the narrow and shallow outlet by the dam. It can accommodate small trailered boats with outboard engines. Keep in mind though that the State of Maine fishing regulations prohibit the use of engines over 6 horsepower on this pond. Also, beware that the boat launch is rather steep and gravelly. Ample parking is available next to the launch. A nice bonus of the engine size restriction is that the pond lacks power boats and jet skis, and that the fishermen largely have the place to themselves.
Travel Pond is a 102-acre body of water located in Jefferson, Lincoln County (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 13 C3). The pond can be accessed via an unimproved and muddy launch right off Rockland Road (Route 17). This launch can only accommodate hand-carried craft. Cars can be parked “rough” along the shoulder of Route 17. The pond is surprisingly shallow given its sizeable surface area, with a maximum and mean depth of 6 ft and 5 ft, respectively. The substrate is mostly sandy with a thin layer of organic muck on top. The surface water is rather cloudy and tea colored. The bottom, at least along the western shoreline, is carpeted with aquatic plants which, to my great surprise, do not breach the surface of the water. In fact, given the extreme shallowness of this pond, one would expect it to be covered with stands of lily pads and other emergent vegetation. Yet, none are visible in the lake, except for relatively sparse aquatic vegetation along the shoreline. Besides the luxuriant submerged plant life, the other structural habitat present in this pond is quite limited, consisting of a handful of lay-down trees that poke into the water from the shoreline.