Largemouth bass fishing on Little Watchic Pond in Standish, Maine (August 5, 2016)

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The muddy access point at the southern end of the southern arm of Little Watchic Pond can only accommodate hand-carried craft

The muddy access point at the southern end of the southern arm of Little Watchic Pond can only accommodate hand-carried craft

Little Watchic Pond is a 55-acre body of water located in Standish, Maine (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 4 D5). Click here for directions on how to access this pond. I haven’t fished it for several years now and am eager to give it a try again. In the past, I rarely had to share this water with other anglers, which is surprising given its close proximity to several towns in the surrounding area. I guess that may be due to its hidden nature and its relative inaccessibility. However, the place can get noisy if people are target shooting in the nearby gravel pit. Also, years ago, two guys placed a long line of buoys to create a water skiing obstacle course in the southern arm. I’m actually surprised to observe upon arrival today that the buoys are still there! Given the small size of the pond, the water gets noisy and wavy when these two do their practice runs. Fortunately for me, no one is shooting or water skiing when I reach my destination.

 

 

 

 

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Smallmouth bass fishing on the Androscoggin River in Lewiston, Maine (July 31, 2016)

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The informal put-in off Switzerland Road In Lewiston

The informal put-in off Switzerland Road In Lewiston

This blog is the last in a series of four entries pertaining to smallmouth bass fishing on the Androscoggin River flowing through the Lewiston/Auburn metro area (click here, here, and here for the other three related blogs). Today, my focus is on the area right below the Gulf Island Hydropower Dam. This sizable structure is responsible for maintaining Gulf Island Pond, which is the largest reservoir on the Androscoggin River in Maine. I’m not aware of the presence of a public boat launch between the Gulf Island Hydropower Dam and the Deer Run Hydropower Dam located about a mile further downstream. So, I use Google Maps prior to my departure to locate a potential access point for my canoe. To reach this informal put-in, drive north through Lewiston on Routes 11/100/202 and turn left on Switzerland Road. Stay on this road for 1.2 miles (pass the Saint Peters Cemetery). The put-in is on the left across from the first house after the cemetery. You’ve gone too far if you drive underneath the high-voltage power lines or reach Gulf Island Avenue. Note that one cannot drive directly to the dam from this side of the river because Switzerland Avenue turns into a CMP Company private road, which is posted and gated. The put-in is located about 2000 ft downstream of the dam. Parking is along the road shoulder. Note that I did not check for an alternative access point on the other side of the river.

 

 

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Smallmouth bass fishing on the Androscoggin River in Auburn, Maine (July 22, 2016)

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The hard-top launch off North River Road in Auburn can accommodate big boats and provides lots of parking space

The hard-top launch off North River Road in Auburn can accommodate big boats and provides lots of parking space.

I discovered fishing for smallmouth bass on the Androscoggin River in the Lewiston/Auburn area over the last month (click here and here for details). I continue my investigation of this fascinating stretch of the river by exploring the section that flows between Great Falls in downtown Lewiston/Auburn and the Deer Rips Hydropower Dam located two miles further upstream. The public put-in is about one quarter mile down North River Road off Center Street in Auburn. This hard-top boat launch is clearly indicated from the road and can accommodate big boats. It also provides ample parking space for multiple vehicles and boat trailers.

 

 

 

 

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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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Trolling for brook trout on ponds and lakes: 14 tips to increase your catch

Brook trout are, by far, the most-popular salmonids caught in Maine waters. Many approaches are available to catch these beautiful fish during the open-water season, such as spinner fishing, worm fishing, or fly fishing. Trolling is an additional and highly-efficient way to target brookies on ponds and lakes because it, by definition, is an active approach that covers a lot of water in a relatively short amount of time. I highlight below 14 tips to increase your odds of catching more brook trout using this technique. The information is derived from my own personal experiences of trolling for brook trout in Maine waters over many years. Keep in mind that the general principles presented below are universal and will apply wherever this beautiful creature makes its home.

 

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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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Brook trout and landlocked Atlantic salmon fishing on Pierce Pond, Pierce Pond Township, Maine (May 27, 2016)

Click here for the story from the previous day.

 

Day 3: Friday May 27, 2016

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I'm trolling this morning under a leaden sky. Good! It keeps the light levels down.

I’m trolling this morning under a leaden sky. Good! It keeps the light levels down.

Shoot, I “overslept”! I stumble out of my tent at 5 am and get ready for trolling. I don’t bother waking up Joel since he isn’t an early riser anyway. The conditions this morning are very different from the day before: a cold front moved through the region overnight, bringing in a heavy cloud deck, some rain, and lots of wind. What a difference from the perfect conditions we experienced yesterday evening, just a few hours earlier! The rain has stopped but everything is dripping wet. Fortunately, the air temperature is a comfortable 54°F. I start trolling with my usual arsenal: one spinning rod using two Mooselook Wobbler spoons with the monofilament line clipped to a 4-lb weight attached to a portable downrigger, and an 8-weight fly fishing rod paired up with lead core line fishing with a Grey Ghost and Governor Aiken streamer flies. That’s a total of four lures looking for fish 10 to 15 ft below the surface. I like using lead core line in the spring and fall when I don’t have to troll much deeper than two or three colors. In my experience, about 75% of the fish I’ve hooked while trolling over the years have been caught on streamer flies. The reason is that I make the effort of constantly “ripping” my line through the water, thereby causing the flies to make erratic and jerky movements which seem to attract the attention from the fish down below. Besides, by actively working the lead core line one can also experience first-hand the ferocious hits on the streamer flies, which is something which cannot be felt when the line is clipped to a downrigger trolling weight. I get one of those tremendous hits about one hour into my morning troll. But then the lead core line goes slack. Darn it, I missed the fish! I quickly spool in my line when suddenly a landlocked salmon announces itself by performing several crazy jumps out of the water and making two strong runs that rip line off my spool. It looks like it grabbed the Grey Ghost and just kept on swimming towards the boat until my quick spooling action caught up with it. I really like those surprises! The fish measures 18.5”, gets photographed and is released back into the water. I see no further action until I return to camp an hour later, but I’ve got my story to share with Joel over breakfast!

 

 

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Brook trout and landlocked Atlantic salmon fishing on Pierce Pond, Pierce Pond Township, Maine (May 28, 2016)

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Click here for the story from the previous day

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Day 4: Saturday May 28, 2016

 

I love the ambiance of a wind-still foggy morning on Pierce Pond!

I love the ambiance of a wind-still foggy morning on Pierce Pond!

 

Now that is one fat native wild brookie!

Now that is one fat native wild brookie!

Today is our last day at the Cobb’s camping site on the Upper Pond island before we move our operations to one of the cabins at Cobb’s Camp in Lower Pond. I once again crawl out of my sleeping bag at 4:30 am for my morning troll. It rained heavily last night but now it is wind still and the whole lake is covered by a heavy blanket of fog, which is very much to my liking! I’m fishing alone since Salvy needs to catch up on his sleep. I’m using my usual technique of two Mooselook Wobbler spoons on a down rigger, and two streamer flies on my lead core line fished 10 to 15 ft down. I’m on the water for no more than 15 minutes when my downrigger rod starts shaking. I put down my lead core line which I’m holding in my hands and quickly remove the downrigger rod from the rod holder to unclip the line and set the hook. Shoot, I’m pulling water… I bring in the spoons, cast them out, and start futsing with the downrigger clip when my lead core line suddenly begins shaking violently. Holy mackerel! It looks like the fish which missed hooking itself on the spoon subsequently bit one of the streamer flies when they both passed it by 30 seconds later! And this fish ain’t no minnow either!! I get several powerful runs but no acrobatics. It must be a large brook trout, which it is! The fish measures a relatively short 18.5” but has a hefty girth of 11.5” and weighs in at around 3.3 pounds! It gets carefully measured, photographed and released to grow bigger and be caught again at some future date. Now here’s a fish to brag about around the breakfast table! But I’m not done yet for this morning. Twenty minutes later, I hook but miss a 16” landlocked salmon on one of my streamer flies, and 30 minutes after that I land the smallest salmon (8”) I’ve ever caught on Pierce Pond over the last 15 years. It fell for the Grey Ghost. I’m experiencing a magic morning: the fish are active, the fog is slowly burning off by the rising sun, the water surface is calm, and I’m engaged in my favorite activity. It doesn’t get much better than this…

 

 

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Brook trout and landlocked Atlantic salmon fishing on Pierce Pond, Pierce Pond Township, Maine (May 26, 2016)

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Click here for the story from the previous day

 

Day 2: Thursday May 26, 2016

 

Good morning, Pierce Pond!

Good morning, Pierce Pond!

I drag myself out of my sleeping bag at 4:30 am for early-morning trolling. I like fishing at the crack of dawn because the bite can be quite good before the sun rises and drives the fish deeper. The weather is beautiful, with light wind, temps in the mid 50’s and full visibility. Regardless, I’m dressed like I’m going ice fishing. I know from experience that I feel cold this early in the day because I’m still half asleep, move little, and haven’t had breakfast or a hot beverage. All my efforts are for naught though because I do not get a single hit in the next two hours, either on the streamer flies or the Mooselook Wobbler spoons. Regardless, I deeply enjoy my “alone” time and like the experience of seeing a new day emerge from the night. I return to camp by 7 am. Joel and I prepare breakfast, which for me consists of a healthy portion of pancakes, scrambled eggs, and pork patties, washed down by two cups of hot tea. I’m fully awake now!

 

 

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