Largemouth bass fishing on Island Pond in Harrison, Maine (August 16, 2014)

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General view of Island Pond

General view of Island Pond

Island Pond is a 166-acre body of water which straddles the town lines of Harrison and Waterford, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 10 E5). The pond is located next to Temple Hill Road, off Route 117 (a.k.a. Norway Road). It has an unusually rectangular shape, with a long, narrow and rocky island at the southern end. Public access is available at a traditional carry-in situated on the western side of the pond after driving 0.5 miles on Island Pond Road. This access point is located right before the entrance to the Fernwood Cove Girl Summer Camp. Only hand-carried craft such as canoes or kayaks can be launched at this location due to the lack of a boat ramp. Several cars can park “rough” on the left-hand side of the road across from the access point.

 

 

 

 

The access point on Island Pond only accommodates hand-carried craft

The access point on Island Pond only accommodates hand-carried craft

 

Island Pond does not have fishing rules for bass. The pond is open year-round to bass fishing, with no size or bag limit.  Clearly, the State is trying to thin out the number of largemouth bass. Note that the pond also supports a brook trout population which is maintained via an annual stocking program. Beware that other rules apply to this specific fishery.  Click here for more details on the bass and trout regulations. The pond has a maximum depth of 48 ft and an average depth of 16 ft. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information.

 

View down the western shoreline of Island Pond

View down the western shoreline of Island Pond

The shoreline of Island Pond is only lightly build up with houses, mostly on the western side. The girls’ summer camp, with its beach, sail boats, open spaces, cabins, and other facilities represent the most prominent feature. The rest of the surrounding landscape is completely forested. The surface water is clean and clear. I arrive at the access point at 7:30 am. The camp is loud and buzzing with activity because it’s Parents’ Day! The weather is to my liking though: mostly overcast with a light southern breeze. The temperature is in the high 50’s but is expected to rise into the low 70’s later on in the day. I put in my canoe and paddle upwind about halfway down the western shoreline. I let the breeze push me back up so that I can focus on fishing. The western shoreline has the more interesting bass habitat, with depths ranging from 1 to 8 ft and much of the area covered by sparse small-leafed lily pads. The substrate consists mostly of a sandy bottom overlain by a thin layer of organic material.

 

 

 

photoview of girls campI use a loud white buzzbait with a black trailer to probe the shore line and the surrounding lily pads. A buzzbait is a great search lure which easily skips over and through lily pads because it stays right on the surface and has an upward-facing hook.  Suddenly, a largemouth bass blows to the surface and grabs my lure as it skitters by. Wow, this is a BIG one! The fish dives into the plant cover and tangles up with a bunch of lily pads stems. I horse it out of the tangle and start reeling it back to the canoe. I see the bass loading up to make a leap out of the water and immediately decrease the pressure on the line to prevent it from jumping; I don’t want it to throw off the lure when it shakes its head in the air.  That moment of slackness proves my undoing in this fight: the hook falls off and the fish is gone. Damn!! I estimate that this bass measures around 20” and weighs close to 4 lbs.  I spend a total of about 1 hour fishing this shoreline, which only yields one 17” pickerel, and another missed bass.

 

 

 

View down the eastern shoreline with the island in the background

View down the eastern shoreline with the island in the background

The sun has come out fully from behind the early-morning clouds and brightly illuminates the entire western shoreline. I paddle to the other side of Island Pond to fish in the shadow created by the tall trees along the eastern shoreline.  However, this area is much less enticing than the opposite side. It is relatively shallow (< 4 ft) and sandy but lacks the rich aquatic vegetation cover or other structure, besides occasional boulders and patches of plants. The shoreline is also devoid of much holding structure. Another hour of fishing in this general area results in one bass hookup but no fish in the boat. I wish I had more time to probe around the large island at the southern end but I need to move on. I reluctantly turn the canoe around and paddle back to the take-out point to continue my day.

 

 

 

 

The results: I caught one pickerel and missed three largemouth bass in two hours.

 

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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3 thoughts on “Largemouth bass fishing on Island Pond in Harrison, Maine (August 16, 2014)

  1. Hi Stan,I was just there this past Saturday,and boy I can tell you this pond has some giants.I only caught about 10 bass in 5hrs of fishing,but 5 of those Largemouth were 4-5 Lbs.I also hooked up with,but lost a couple that could have been bigger.I had similar success a couple of weeks earlier which prompted me to return.
    What was very interesting about this pond was the fact that although the perimeter of this pond is dotted with sparse vegetation I could not get bit in the shallows.I decided to think a little outside the box,and cast the opposite side of my kayak to deeper water,which I estimated to be in the 10-12 ft range.Suddenly I hit the jackpot,and both times all my big fish came in deeper water using a weightless Yum pumpkin candy senko.I had to be patient to give time for the lure to sink.Also the bites were very subtle,just a feeling of heavy weight as I began to reel in some slack line.I will e-mail you some of the fish I caught.

    -Tom.

    • Wow, Tom, it looks like you hit the jackpot on this pond!! Just catching one 4-5 lbs bass is a treat; five fish that size in one sitting is heaven! You seem to have done the right thing: cast offshore instead of inshore… Unfortunately, I tend to buzz in and out of ponds when I go “blog fishing”. But I’m glad that you had the patience to figure it out. Thanks for sharing. Island Pond is definitely worth returning to. Send those pictures. I’m curious now. Stan

      • Hi Stan,
        Sorry if I sent multiple e-mails with pics!I’ll be getting a new pc soon,and my current desktop is pretty old,and playing up.
        The first time I fished this pond a couple of weeks ago Stan I actually never caught a small fish,and I started to think this pond only had big bass lol.
        You are right in the fact that one fish of this size is a treat on most ponds or lakes.
        What I also witnessed both times,and I haven’t seen that often was huge bass breaking the surface feeding on schools of shad/baitfish etc.With that said,I’m thinking a minnow type lure would also work well on this fishery.
        I did in fact catch one nice Smallmouth too,so they are definitely there as well.
        This is certainly a very interesting pond which fishes a little different to what I’m used to,but with some time,and patience can yield some great results.
        I’m going to try Stearns Pond in Sweden this coming weekend if possible.I’ve never been there,and it also looks promising!
        -Tom

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