View from the public access point of Hutchinson Pond with the mountains in the background. She is pretty!
Hutchinson Pond is a 93-acre body of water located in Albany Township, Oxford County (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 10 C4). The pond can easily be accessed by driving down Hutchinson Pond Road (off Hunts Corner Road) for exactly 1.4 miles. The state-leased public access point is marked on the left of the road by a small Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife sign. The pond is reachable via a rough 150-ft tote trail which can only accommodate small hand-carried craft, such as a canoe or kayak. A few cars can be parked along the shoulder of the road next to the access point. Hutchinson Pond is quite a beauty! It is framed along the northeastern horizon by three tall hills, namely Lovejoy Mountain (1792 ft), Peabody Mountain (1575 ft), and Patch Mountain (1565 ft). The watershed is completely forested. Parts of the shoreline are moderately developed, supporting less than two dozen houses and summer cottages. One thing strikes me immediately upon arrival: none of the docks jutting out into the water display power boats, jet skis or pontoon boats! I assume that’s due to a lack of a boat launch, which limits the release and retrieval of these larger craft. It also means guaranteed peaceful quietness for property owners and fishermen alike.
General view of the upper half of Marshall Pond looking north
Marshall Pond (a.k.a. Matthews Pond) is a 142-acre body of water located in the towns of Hebron and Oxford, Oxford County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 11 D2&3). The pond is situated at the end of Marshall Pond Road, off Merrill Hill Road. Public access is available at an unimproved boat launch found right next to the cement dam at the end of Marshall Pond Road. This sandy launch can accommodate small trailered boats. A handful of cars can be parked on a small grassy clearing next to the launch. The pond is an impoundment of Dunham Brook which has its source at Hall Pond further upstream. Marshall Pond is another one of those gorgeous little gems that few people know about, even though it is located no more than a dozen miles west of the Lewiston-Auburn area. About two dozen houses are scattered along its shoreline. Most are discreetly tucked into the surrounding woods and are barely visible from the water. A number of unobtrusive docks jut into the pond, but none of them displays large power boats or jet skis, providing a sense of quietness and peace. The surrounding landscape is completely forested and green.
Your blog author with a small lake trout caught in Sebago Lake in late-April trolling 10 ft deep in 25 ft of water
Trolling refers to a fishing technique where a lure or live/dead bait is positioned in the water column behind a boat and pulled forward by the movement of that boat. It is a highly-efficient approach to target certain fish species and cover a lot of water in ponds and lakes during the open-water period. One common question I get from novice trollers pertains to how deep they should place their lure or bait. The answer hinges on two key variables, namely: (a) the time of the year, and (b) the target species.
Largemouth bass fishing is a favorite pastime for many people in the summer. The tackle industry has eagerly responded to this pent-up demand by developing a bewildering variety of lures to catch these fish. Anyone who has ever visited a ProBass or Cabela’s store knows what I’m talking about. If we multiply the several dozen bass lure types by their hundreds of variations, one ends up with many thousands of different kinds of lures!! That is enough to give anyone an instant head ache. I also suspect that more than a few of these lures are designed to hook fishermen more than the fish they seek to catch…
Yet, out of all this clutter emerge five proven lures which have worked time and time again for me. Keep in mind that most largemouth bass fishing occurs in relatively shallow water (say, less than 10 ft) rich with structure, such as aquatic vegetation, submerged wood, boulders, sunken reefs, and/or docks. Most of the lures discussed below are designed to operate in such an environment. What follows is a summary overview of these basic lures and how best to use them. I’ve arranged the presentation in the order in which I spend my time fishing with these lures. Keep in mind that this information is based largely on personal experiences. I do most of my bass fishing on relatively small ponds and lakes which experience low fishing pressure. So I can get away with using bolder lures that might scare away wearier bass in more heavily-fished areas. Regardless, don’t be shy and try different variations on a lure until you find the one that works for you. Keep in mind that more often than not, whether a particular lure “works” often depends on the confidence the fisherman has in that lure. And that confidence can only be gained by going out on the water, wetting the line, and letting the fish tell you what works best!
Splashing in the water at one of the beaches at Sebago Lake State Park
The glorious July 4th weekend is once again upon us all. My family is spending the long weekend camping at Sebago Lake State Park, located at the north end of Sebago Lake (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 4 C5). Things are quite hectic at camp, with the grandchildren running around, and the grilling, swimming, and socializing. My son Joel and I decide to get up at 5:30 am and sneak out for a couple of hours of lake trout fishing before the bulk of the family wakes up and gets ready for breakfast. At this time of the year, the lake trout have abandoned the warm shallow waters (click here for details) and seek refuge in the ice-cold waters (< 50°F) found below the thermocline. This layer represents the sharp temperature boundary between the less-dense warmer surface waters and the denser and much colder water in the deep zone. I do not know exactly how far down the Sebago Lake thermocline is located. A high-quality fish finder should show a faint line on the screen representing the boundary where the change in water density is most abrupt; my fish finder mustn’t be sensitive enough because I can’t pick up the thermocline…. Based on the presence of numerous fish marked in 40 to 80+ ft of water this morning, I’m guessing that the thermocline is around 30-40 ft deep, which makes sense based on a review of historic summer water-column temperature data for Sebago Lake published online. Note that the thermocline, once it is fully established in early summer, might move deeper by a few feet but is otherwise extremely stable and constant until late fall (with a few limnological exceptions, which I will not bore you with…).