Bass fishing on the Tenny River, Raymond, Maine (June 22, 2013)

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General view of the Tenny River: broad and very shallow.

General view of the Tenny River: broad and very shallow.

The Tenny River connects Crescent Lake to Panther Pond in Raymond, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 B2). Calling this body of water a “river” is somewhat of a misnomer. It is essentially a 1.5-mile long, shallow thoroughfare. However, the current definitely flows in a southerly direction, from Crescent Lake into Panther Pond. The Tenny River is wide (60 to > 100 ft) but very shallow (1 to 3 ft for the most part). Both banks of the river are lined with trees and woods, providing a nice and “remote” feel. The substrate consists mainly of coarse sand and gravel/pebbles, interspersed with larger rocks. The bottom is either bare or covered with aquatic submerged plants. The water is crystal clear. The limited bass habitat, consisting of weedy shallows and submerged wood, is all congregated along the shoreline. The rest of the river is otherwise pretty featureless and does not provide attractive habitat.



Another general view of the Tenny River. Notice how shallow the water is.

Another general view of the Tenny River. Notice how shallow the water is.


Access to the Tenny River is via an hard boat launch at the very southern tip of Crescent Lake. The launch is located right on Route 85 just past Plains Road. It can accommodate substantial boats. Parking is allowed on the shoulder of Route 85. I arrive at this boat launch at 6 pm with Christian, my 10-year old nephew. We quickly put my boat in the water and motor into the Tenny River. The evening is absolutely gorgeous: the sky is blue, the sun is slowly setting behind the tree line, the breeze is warm and gentle, the air temperature is in the upper 70’s, and the stinging critters are mostly absent. Crap!! My trolling battery, which was already well past its last leg, has definitely given up the ghost. It has hardly enough power to let me guide the boat. But it will have to do until I buy a new one later on this evening on my way home. We’re both fishing with 5”-long soft stick baits, which we’re tossing along the shallows by the shoreline. My second cast of the evening yields a 14” largemouth bass, which is always promising.


The large culvert running underneath Route 85

The large culvert running underneath Route 85

We slowly float downstream towards the large culvert that runs underneath Route 85. I cast my stick bait next to some submerged wood along the shoreline. Something sucks in my lure and quickly swims sideways. I set the hook and am rewarded with a tremendous run. Holy mackerel; this is not your average largemouth!! The fish bulldozes away from the boat, ripping line off my reel. For a moment, it feels like I have a huge brookie on the other end, but that can’t be: the water is just too warm. And then it becomes clear what is responsible for all this beautiful commotion: a big, angry 18” smallmouth bass!





The blog author with a beautiful 18" smallmouth bass from the Tenney River

The blog author with a beautiful 18″ smallmouth bass from the Tenney River

Unfortunately, that is the extent of our success this evening. We slowly motor through the culvert running underneath Route 85 and fish the shoreline further downstream for another 2 hours, without eliciting a single bite. Besides different-colored soft stick baits, I also try spinner baits, a surface plug, and a plastic crayfish. Nothing works, which is quite discouraging. I’m starting to suspect that the Tenny River may be a better place to fish about one month earlier in the spring when the bass move in to spawn. The fish move out by late spring and stay closer to the inlet by Crescent Lake (where I caught my two fish this evening) and the outlet by Panther Pond. I’ve experienced this pattern before in similar situations and it may well be at play here. I’ll have to come back at some other time to try this theory out!



The result: I landed one largemouth bass (14”) and one smallmouth bass (18”) in 2.5 hours of fishing. Christian was skunked.


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