The lake is accessed via permissive trespass through this open gate.
Panther Pond is a 1,439-acre body of water located in Raymond, Cumberland County, Maine (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 B2). Access to the main basin of the lake during the ice-fishing season is via permissive trespass through a small private beach associated with Slovenski Camp. To gain access via this entry point, drive north on Route 121 (Meadow Road) towards the town of Casco and turn right on David Plummer Road (look for the discrete Slovenski Camp sign). Drive down that road for about 600 ft. Beware that this road may be slippery in the winter. The open gate to the beach will be on your left. Drive up further for another 50-100 ft. and park your car in the available open space.
It’s crisp and cold this morning. Time to rise and start ice fishing!
It’s the annual winter school vacation, so it’s high time to go camping and fishing with the kids… on the ice! My son Joel and I are eager to make it a success because this will be a new experience for his two boys. The goal is to find a spot on a local lake where we can drive up, pitch the family tent, and be reasonably assured of catching quality fish to keep the two boys engaged and entertained. Previous fishing experiences on Panther Pond in Raymond, Maine (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 B2) has shown us that this body of water supports a serious smallmouth and largemouth bass population of braggin’-size fish (click here, here, and here for examples). My son Joel and I are putting that information to good use.
Panther Pond is a 1,439 acre body of water located in Raymond, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 B2). One way to reach the ice is to turn right on Meadow Road (Route 121) from Main Street in Raymond (off Route 302, a.k.a. Roosevelt Trail), drive north for 0.5 miles before turning right unto Giselle Lane. Park your vehicle on the side of this road. A short snowmobile trail leads directly to the pond.
Panther Pond is filled with large schools of voracious white perch
The sun is setting and the surface commotion is gone. It’s time for the smallmouth bass to grab dinner before dark!
Catching smallmouth bass in ponds or lakes during high summer in Maine can be a real challenge, even for the experienced angler. The surface water is warm (75° to 80°F), the sun is bright, and the human activity levels can be intense as a result of water skiing, jet skiing, pontoon boating, or power boating. The fish seek shelter 15 to 25 ft below the surface to locate cooler water, hide from the sun, and find respite from all the human commotion above. Unlike the nippier and less hectic spring months, when the smallmouth bass congregate and concentrate in large numbers along bouldery shorelines for the annual spawn, the summer bronzebacks are scattered over a much larger area and in deeper water. That makes them intrinsically more difficult to find and catch.
The boy scout troop to which my nephew Christian belongs is having a winter camp-out at Camp Hinds located on beautiful Panther Pond in Raymond, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 B2). The boys are sleeping two nights in cabins and spending part of Saturday ice fishing. Previously, the leaders asked for volunteers to bring tip-ups, power augers, baitfish, and other gear to share with the kids. I can’t think of a better way of spending my Saturday morning than to express my love for hard-water angling and help kids get hooked on fishing!
The fog over Panther Pond is being burned off by the rising sun
Panther Pond is a 1,439-acre body of water located in Raymond, Maine (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 C2). Access is via an unimproved dirt launch located right before the outlet dam on Mill Street. This launch, which can accommodate larger power boats, is rather steep with a surface consisting of sand and rocks. It can be useful to use a 4X4 vehicle to launch and retrieve motored vessels from this location. Parking for trailered vehicles is “rough” on the side of the road; space is available for only a handful of cars or trucks. A small parking area is located on the opposite side of the dam but can only hold vehicles without trailers. An alternative access option is to release a boat at the official hard-top launch on the southern tip of Crescent Lake (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 B2) and navigate into Panther Pond via the Tenney River.
The eastern shoreline of Panther Pond, with Betty’s Neck in the left background.
Some of the best smallmouth bass fishing on Maine lakes occurs in mid-spring when the fish are moving in-shore to prepare to lay their eggs. Typical smallmouth bass spawning habitat consists of a clean, rocky and bouldery shoreline in 2 to 10 ft of water, with easy access to nearby deeper water. The fish start moving in these shallows when the water temperature reaches the low 50’s in early May. Actual spawning typically starts towards the end of May when the water temperature hovers between the high 50’s and mid 60’s. The smallmouths feed aggressively in May in order to fatten up in preparation for the spawn. The goal, therefore, is to position oneself at the right place and the right time, using the right lure and the right fishing technique, in order to take advantage of this short window of opportunity.
Panther Pond covers 1,439 acres and is located in Raymond, Cumberland County (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 B2). Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information. My 11-year old nephew Christian calls me up in the late morning to ask if I want to go ice fishing with him. I wasn’t planning on it because I’ve been toiling since 6 am to complete a project for work. On the other hand, I’ve been locked up for too long and need to breathe in some fresh air. I tell him that I can spare a few hours to go pickerel fishing with him on Panther Pond. Our target is the large shallow bay just south of the peninsula called Betty’s Neck. The bay, which has a maximum depth of about 4 ft, is a reliable area for catching pickerel, yellow perch, and even an occasional largemouth bass through the ice. Access to the bay is via a snowmobile trail which starts at Giselle Lane, located off Route 121 just before the pond appears on the right (going north).