Smallmouth bass fishing on South Branch Lake, Seboeis Plantation, Maine (September 9, 2017)

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South Branch Lake is accessible via this nice hard-top boat launch

South Branch Lake is a 2,035 acre body of water located in Seboeis Plantation, Penobscot County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 43 E3). The lake can be accessed from an excellent hard-top public boat launch located at the end of Lake Road (off Seboeis Road) at the southern end of the lake. Plenty of parking is available by this access point.

 

The weather is unsettled and thunder storms are moving in…

South Branch Lake is quite a beauty! It is a natural glacial body of water fed mainly by springs and mountain runoff. Over a dozen wooded islands of various sizes are sprinkled around the lake, providing a gorgeous scenic backdrop. Several mountains dot the northern horizon. The rocky shoreline is very lightly developed, supporting only a scattering of summer camps. The entire eastern shore abuts Penobscot Indian territory. The lake is semi-remote and only experiences relatively light fishing pressure. It is also remarkably shallow (maximum depth of 23 ft; mean depth of 11 ft!) despite its large surface area. As a result, the water does not stratify in the summer and only supports a warm-water fishery focused on smallmouth bass, largemouth bass (the result of an unfortunate recent illegal introduction), white perch, and chain pickerel. Of note, the smallmouth  bass fishery is robust and known to produce some real porkers! Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information. The bass fishing rules fall under the general fishing laws for inland Maine waters.

 

I only caught one smallmouth bass this afternoon, but boy was she a beauty!

My buddy Tim and I meet at the boat launch in late afternoon and look forward to spending a couple of hours together fishing for smallmouth bass. He also brought a dozen shiners with him which we’ll use as live bait to catch white perch later on this evening. The weather is unsettled with the air temperature hovering in the mid 60’s. We start by trolling a floating Rapala in and around the bay in front of the outlet of South Branch Lake. The weather quickly turns for the worse, with menacing thunderclouds moving overhead which cause strong wind gusts and generate lightening flashing around the region. But fortunately no rain… We troll for about 45 minutes without a hit, when suddenly my lure gets pounded by what seems like a freight train. Yes Siree, we’ve made contact! The fish at the other end is obviously a bruiser which stays down low and rips line off my reel. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that I caught myself a monster brook trout. This one finally breaches the surface and turns out to be an enormous smallmouth bass! I carefully control the pressure on my line to limit the jumping and decrease the chances of this fish throwing off the lure. I succeed in slowly bringing it next to the boat. We take a couple of bragging pictures before I release this beautiful creature back to its home. We continue trolling with a renewed sense of anticipation and hope but do not generate another hit.

 

These little guys are coming home for the frying pan!

We grab a bite to eat and are back on the water in the bay by the outlet at 6:30 pm to try to catch white perch. We have about 45 minutes of daylight left before we have to head back home. We experience an odd sight when hundreds of 1” baby fish continuously jump out of the water after sunset, dimpling the entire water surface. Tim surmises that they are baby alewives that were produced this spring when their parents were trucked in from the nearby Penobscot River and released to South Branch Lake earlier in the year to spawn. We don’t see any rises nor do I have any luck catching anything with a #2 Mepps spinner, suggesting that the bass and white perch are not surface feeding this evening. But the white perch are definitely down at the bottom where we catch four of them for the frying pan.

 

The results: I landed one huge smallmouth bass (21.5” and 5.0 pounds) and two small white perch; Tim got skunked on the bass but also caught two small white perch.

 

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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