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.

 

 

 

I focus my attention this morning along the eastern shoreline of Crescent Lake which is still deep in the shadows of the rising sun.

I focus my attention this morning along the eastern shoreline of Crescent Lake which is still deep in the shadows of the rising sun.

 

 

Crescent Lake is one of many gorgeous ponds which make up the Lakes Region centered around Sebago Lake. It is moderately build up with homes but also contains large swaths of undeveloped shoreline along its western side associated with several childrens’ summer camps, such as Camp Nashoba, Camp Pinehurst, and Camp Agawam. The surrounding landscape is hilly and fully forested. The surface water is clean and transparent. The lake contains a smorgasbord of warm- and coldwater fish species. My target today is the abundant smallmouth population which makes this body of water a premier destination for bass fishing in southern Maine. The substrate along the (eastern) shoreline consists mostly of gravel interspersed with boulders. The aquatic vegetation is very sparse and concentrated mainly in the area where the unnamed outlet from Raymond Pond enters the lake. The amount of lay-down wood, such as fallen trees and branches, is also very limited. Overall, my impression is that this lake offers great smallmouth bass habitat, although the dozens upon dozens of docks lining the eastern shoreline would also provide great hiding spots for largemouth bass. Crescent Lake has a maximum and mean depth of 50 ft and 17 ft, respectively. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information.

 

The wacky worm is a simple and highly-effective lure for catching bass, but only in unobstructed habitat

The wacky worm is a simple and highly-effective lure for catching bass, but only in unobstructed habitat

I arrive at the boat launch off Route 85 at around 8:30 am. I’ll be fishing by myself this morning. I’m greeted by a courtesy boat inspector who ensures that my craft does not accidentally bring in fragments of Eurasian milfoil (an obnoxious invasive plant species) picked up elsewhere. My boat gets a clean bill of health. The weather forecast calls for a gorgeous summer day, with full sunshine and a light breeze from the northwest. I quickly motor all the way to the northern end of the lake. My plan is to fish the eastern side of the lake which will remain in the shadows for several more hours on account of the tall white pines that dot that shoreline and block the bright light from the rising sun. The lack of aquatic vegetation and lay-down wood also create the perfect conditions to fish with a soft stickbait rigged “wacky style”.  This method consists of squeezing a 4” stickbait through a small O-ring (available at your local hardware store) and then threading a little hook right behind the O-ring. This lure is fished as follows: cast it out, allow it sink for several seconds, retrieve several feet of fishing line, allow the lure to sink again, and repeat. I love this set-up because the stickbait will gently wiggle sideways as it drops through the water column but then make excessive, and enticing, contortions when line is brought in. The open hook increases the hooking rate but requires water with little or no obstructions. The bite on a wacky worm is always subtle and consists of suddenly feeling “weight” at the other end of the line as a bass gulps in the lure. Make sure to set the hook quickly because otherwise it will be embedded deep into the fish’s throat.

 

 

This 18-inch bronzeback fought long and hard!

This 18-inch bronzeback fought long and hard!

The spawn is largely over by now and I’m expecting the bass to be scattered and in remission mode following the arduous task of making the next generation. I start fishing along the shoreline in 3 to 10 ft of water and land my first smallmouth shortly afterwards. I catch a total of six bass (four smallmouths and two largemouths) over the next two hours. The largest one is a hard-fighting 18-inch bronzeback which gives me several strong runs. I hook but miss four additional smallmouth bass. The fish are definitely there but I find no particular pattern, as expected. I’ve now reached the open area where the unnamed stream from Raymond Pond enters Crescent Lake. The bright sun is beating down hard on me because I’m away from the wooded shoreline. I reach for the tube of sunscreen in my tackle box. Crap!! I left the sun blocker behind at home and I can’t afford to get burned. Besides, my trolling battery is also running low on power. It’s time to call it a morning. I enjoyed my visit and look forward to return at a later date to continue exploring this pretty lake.

 

 

 

The results: I caught four smallmouth bass (largest = 18”) and two largemouth bass (largest = 14”) in two 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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