Largemouth bass fishing on Heald Pond in Lovell, Maine (August 1, 2015)

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Heald Pond is gorgeous and quiet

Heald Pond is gorgeous and quiet

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.

 

 

 

 

 

The aquatic vegetation around the island on the eastern shoreline is quite luxurious!

The aquatic vegetation around the island on the eastern shoreline is quite luxurious!

 

 

Heald Pond is surprisingly shallow for its size, with a maximum and mean depth of just 17 ft and 10 ft, respectively (click here for a depth map and more fisheries information). It provides a pleasant and quiet setting, with Amos Mountain presiding at the northern end. The surrounding watershed is completely forested. The pond is moderately developed with about 20 houses strung along its eastern shoreline. The western shoreline, on the other hand, is completely undeveloped. It belongs to the Greater Lovell Land Trust and is part of the Heald and Bradley Ponds Preserve which, with its 9+ miles of trails, is open to the public for hiking and sightseeing. The surface water is clean and clear. An aerial overview of the pond via Google Maps (always a good idea when exploring new fishing spots!) shows that the largemouth bass habitat is concentrated in three general areas: (a) upgradient from the boat launch in the outlet, (b) on the eastern side of the pond surrounding a small island, and (c) by the inlet located at the northern tip of the pond.

 

This guy had to be dragged kicking and screaming through the aquatic vegetation

This guy had to be dragged kicking and screaming through the aquatic vegetation

I arrive at Heald Pond around noon with my 12-year old nephew Christian. Four guys are pulling out a big 18-ft canoe from which they all fished in the late morning. They report catching four largemouth bass. We launch my canoe and are soon on our way. It’s obvious that the outlet area by the boat launch is prime habitat. It is shallow, and richly supplied with aquatic vegetation and some sunken wood. Christian wants to start fishing it right away but I tell him that we’ll focus on it on our way back. The bottom line is that I’m eager to explore the rest of the pond first… It’s hot and the sun shines brightly in the sky above. A gently breeze wafts in from the southwest. We aim straight for the extensive shallows around the island along the eastern shoreline. The depth in that general area varies from 1 to 6 ft, and the aquatic plant growth is luxurious. We start probing the outer edges of the vegetation using buzzbaits but without any success. I slowly push the canoe further into the shallows and switch to a weedless soft plastic frog, whereas Christian changes to a 5” soft stickbait. The frog, though fun to fish with, is a “last resort” lure for me due to its dismal hooking rate (click here for details). The bass are not playing nice with us today. It takes close to half-an-hour before I finally get a hit, but it’s a good one! Atypically, the bass has fully swallowed the frog and is nicely hooked. However, the fight is only so-so because I have to horse the fish through the vegetation in which it is trying to bury itself. It’s not pretty but it’s a fish!

 

 

general view #4 (publish)We move on to the northern end of Heald Pond and switch back to buzzbaits. We have barely started exploring that area when we hear thunder in the far distance. I’m not too concerned at first because I checked the radar on Weather.com before I left home and it didn’t show storm activity in our area. But the ever thickening cloud deck emphatically tells a different story… We play it safe and slowly start paddling back to the launch, all the while fishing woody structure along the undeveloped western shoreline. We can’t do it real justice, though, because the wind has turned and is now pushing us forward. Due to the gathering storm, I simply don’t want to take the time to set the anchor and position the canoe properly. Both Christian and I get hits on our stickbaits but land no fish. The flood gates open up as we enter the outlet on our way to the boat launch. Darn it, I mis-calculated by 5 minutes. Christian, who has been complaining about his tired arms ever since we started paddling back, finds a reserve of strength and digs in so that we can get out of this wet mess ASAP. Who said fishing can’t mold a character!

 

 

 

Overall, Heald Pond is a keeper and well worth the effort to explore and appreciate.

 

The results: I caught 1 largemouth bass and Christian got skunked in 1.5 hours of fishing.

 

Was the information in this blog useful? I invite you to share your thoughts and opinions. Also, feel free to discuss your fishing experiences at this location.

 

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