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North Gorham Pond is a secret fishing spot …. The pond is created by the dam located on Gorham Road in North Gorham (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 D2). Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information. The “inlet” to this pond is the Presumpscot River, which serves as the outlet to Sebago Lake (actually, the Sebago Lake Basin, to be more precise). The one-mile stretch of the Presumpscot River flowing between the Sebago Lake Basin and the pond is the body of water most heavily stocked with landlocked salmon and trout in the whole state of Maine, bar none! So why bother with North Gorham Pond, which doesn’t even get stocked at all? Two reasons: the river above the falls is fly-fishing only and on a bad day, dozens of people will be fishing it shoulder-to-shoulder. I love fly fishing but hate crowd fishing. But here’s the secret: lots of salmon and trout drop down into the pond and hang around the current by the falls. And the restrictive terminal tackle rule for the Presumscot River upstream of the falls does not apply on the pond!
There’s a twist to this story, of course: North Gorham Pond does not have a public boat launch and the falls are only accessible by boat. A small craft can either be carried over the rocks to the water by the power station located at the end of the power canal next to the falls, or can be put in the water at the downstream end of the pond by Gorham Road. The latter requires working your way up for about a mile to reach the falls. Either way, it is problematic to launch anything bigger than a canoe or kayak on this body of water.
My son Joel and I arrive by the southern end of North Gorham Pond at about 9 am. We launch his big canoe and quickly motor our way up to the falls. Our strategy today is to “live-line” using live shiners attached to a sliding hook rig (i.e., a single hook through the mouth and small treble hook through the anal vent). The approach consists of placing the rigged bait in the moving water below the falls and sloooowly letting out line from the reel as the bait is carried downstream by the swift current. We let out about 150-200 ft of line, and then sloooowly retrieve the bait back upstream towards the boat. We have had tremendous luck in the past catching trout, salmon, and smallmouth bass using this tactic on this stretch of water.
My bait gets wedged in the rocks at some point in the retrieval process. I swing my rod up, down, left, and right, but to no avail. We remove the anchor and drift down to where I’m stuck. My rig finally gets dislodged after a bit of futsing around. I realize, to me great surprise, that I also hooked a 12” smallmouth! He must have grabbed the bait, dove right to the bottom, and got promptly stuck. We go back up to reposition the boat and start fishing again.
A little while later, I have my bait out and lay down my rod to take some pictures. Joel suddenly exclaims: “Dad, look at your rod tip; it’s twitching!” Sure enough, the tip insistently taps up and down. I fumble with my camera, pick up the rod, and set the hook. The response is a tremendous run. I can’t get the fish to the surface. Instead, it’s staying low and in the current. I’m hoping that I’ve hooked into one of the large brookies which I know haunt this spot, but instead am somewhat disappointed to discover that I caught a nice smallmouth bass. The water is still way too cold (47° F) for the fish to perform its usual aerial acrobatics, but not nearly cold enough to make it completely lethargic!!
This was the extent of our combined catch this morning after 3 hours of fishing. The results were disappointing but I’m happy nonetheless not to have been skunked. This spot is good into early June, after which the flow of the Presumpscot River drops and the current below the falls decreases to a point where the fish disperse throughout the rest of North Gorham Pond.
The results: I caught two smallmouth bass (12” and 16”) and Joel got skunked in 3 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 on this pond.