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_togue_19.66.jpg (10120 bytes)Review of  the Sebago Region Ice Fishing Season

1999-2000 - Taken from Dick Pinney's weekly fishing reports.

Compiled by Mike Christy


January 3rd, 2000

Both Carroll Cutting of Jordan’s Store in East Sebago and Dave Garcia at Naples Bait on Long Lake at Naples were enthused by the good fishing in the Sebago Lake Region: "Long Lake was on fire," laughed Garcia, who had fishermen running out of bait and coming back for more within an hour’s time! "Most of the action was on salmon that were running from 14 to 19 inches, but we saw a lot of nice browns taken. There were some salmon and brook trout taken from Trickey Pond (Naples) but nothing like the action on Long. One angler showed up here with a five gallon bucket full to the top with perch and pickerel he’d caught from Little Kezar Lake in Fryeburg, so I guess you’d have to say the fishing was super," Dave noted.

Cutting was quick to say that, of course, the big Lake Sebago hadn’t begun to freeze and hoped it wouldn’t be another year like last when it really never did set up in the middle. "I’d have to urge people to try some of the smaller ponds in our area where panfish and pickerel fishing have been superb. There are also plenty of small ponds where both panfish and trout are caught. Coldrain Pond in Naples has nice brookies and pickerel. Then there’s the chain of ponds that include Sand, Middle, Hancock and Barker that have some great brown trout fishing as well as panfish. The lower pond in the chain, Southeast, has mostly panfish," Carroll said, noting also that these ponds have a fine forage base, including landlocked alewives that IF&W fisheries managers had introduced

 

_pickerel_5.30.jpg (8096 bytes)January 17th, 2000

Jeff Cutting at Jordan’s store on Sebago Lake warns that no ice on the big lake is safe to walk or ride. "There’s plenty of action on the surrounding ponds," says Jeff, but stay away from Big Sebago until this cold snap produces safer ice." Long Pond in Naples, in particular, remains the hotspot, followed by Trickey Pond, in sight of Sebago’s western shore. Fishermen have been landing some fine brookies, right close to the shoreline.

Dave Garcia of Naples Bait on Long Lake reports the salmon fishing is holding up. Most of the catches have been on small smelts or shiners. The salmon have been in the 14-18 inch range with a couple of larger brown trout."

The white perch fishing has been hot on Brandy Pond, in Jackson Cove and between the marina and Songo Locks. The fish have been holding at all depths in around 30 feet of water. Some of the smaller local ponds have yielded fine catches of crappie.

_brown_5.56.jpg (7329 bytes)January 24, 2000

Although there’s hardly any snow in the Sebago Lake Region, there’s plenty of ice, and the fish are hitting. Dave Garcia at Naples Bait on Long Lake says the lake continues to produce the best fishing in the area. "We’ve had some outstanding brown trout taken this week. A 28-inch fish that weighed seven pounds and a five-pounder my son Chris caught were good expamples. The landlocked salmon are running average size, from below the keeper size of 14 inches to three pounds, but there are lots of them. Sebago Lake has plenty of ice fishing areas now safe, but the Big Bay continues to blow open each time the ice catches. Behind the Dingley Islands, Kettle Cove, some of Jordan Bay and at Sebago Station, there’s some good ice and it’s expanding out into the lake. There’s some good cusk fishing, and they are starting to pick up some togue (lake trout). Trickey Pond in Naples has been producing some pan-sized brookies and Thomas Pond in Casco has been hot for brookies from 12 to 14 inches and salmon up to 18 inches," Dave reported.

Biologist John Boland’s recommendations were Kezar Lake (Lovell) for togue and some salmon, Moose Pond (Bridgeton) for salmon, Crystal Lake (Harrison) for salmon in the 2 to 4 pound range, Tricky Pond (Naples) for salmon to five or six pounds as well as the brookies Dave Garcia had mentioned, Little Ossipee Lake (Waterboro) for salmon and smelt and Thompson Lake (Oxford) for fast togue fishing.

January 31st, 2000

_togue_feb.jpg (8547 bytes)Today’s glowing reports about the unbelievable togue (lake trout) fishing that came with the new ice on Sebago Lake overshadows most of the other information that we’ve received.

"It’s just great, the best I’ve ever seen," enthused John Boland, Regional Senior Biologist who covers the Sebago area. "When the good ice finally came at the end of last week, the fishermen started to straggle out. What they found was world-class lake trout fishing. We started checking the fishermen on Saturday. Every single person we checked over a six square mile area either had caught their limit of five togue or were well on their way to catching them. Some individual fishermen reported catching and releasing up to 30 togue. We’ve been encouraging the fishermen to keep their limits to help reduce what we feel is an overpopulation of togue. Most of them are doing it, often catching and releasing while selecting their five fish," John noted.

"There are so many fish stories that I can’t pick one, but I can tell you that when we were done with our fishermen census, I took a few minutes to fish for myself. In 20 minutes I had five togue on the ice, and in the process I’d released another six," he laughed.

_salmon_4.0.jpg (15243 bytes)Boland said that the best areas so far were Jordan and Lower Bays and points in between. Some fishermen were well offshore onto the Great Shoals, but John did recommend caution when that far out, as ice depths go from ten inches inshore to just three and a half out over the Shoals. Thompson Lake in Oxford was also on his list of places-to-fish. "Thompson is hot! Some people there have caught as many as 20 fish a day. The fish aren’t quite as big as the Sebago fish, which are averaging from two and a half to four pounds, but they are fat. Trickey Pond in Naples continues to produce the largest landlocks in the area, with fish to six pounds reported. So we’ve got it all," John boasted.

Carroll Cutting, at Jordan’s Store in East Sebago, has the privilege of being able to watch the fishery out his front window. His son Greg is also an avid fisherman. "Greg went out with two of his buddies on Friday. They were back in the store in less than three hours. They had 14 togue with them. They had lost an equal amount. Greg had one fish break off on 20-pound line. So they all aren’t in the four-pound range. There’s some real lunkers out there. Two fishermen were out on the lake and caught two limits in no time, but one had lost his dad’s cell phone down the hole. He wasn’t too happy when I asked him for the phone number so I could talk to the togue! But he was a good sport." Cutting joked.

"Most of the fish are being taken on three lures, Swedish Pimple, Airplane Jigs, or the Stinger Jig. The Stinger is a lead head bucktail that has a small "stinger" treble hook hung behind the main jig hook. All of the fishermen are using some kind of bait, cut fresh dead or live, as hook bait. Everyone is catching the five fish limit," Carroll noted.

Cutting’s other pick in the region was Hancock Pond (Denmark/Sebago) for the best fishing for outsized brown trout. "This pond has a great bait resource--it’s full of landlocked alewife. The big browns being caught are just full of them."

_salmon_5.71.jpg (8515 bytes)February 7th, 2000

Carroll Cutting, at Jordan’s Store in East Sebago, said that the unbelievable togue fishing of last week had slowed, but at its slowest point, was still better than any of the other lakes. "It’s been mostly a thing of--is the weather good enough to get out and fish? On Sunday here, the wind and cold were intolerable! But the fish are there. And the cusk fishermen have started to get in some good fishing. The Camel’s Pasture (stop at Cutting’s and get directions) is probably the best-known cusk bottom here. They’ll get ‘em up to seven or eight pounds, but they mostly average a couple of pounds," Carroll said.

"I usually get the job of dressing the cusk that my sons Jeff and Greg bring back. I’ve got a tip for easier cusk skinning and gutting. Do it while they are still partially frozen. They usually end up in a great chowder here, but the larger cusk are often cut into boneless cubes and deep fried. They are incredibly good eating fish," he enthused.

Cutting reported that Hancock Pond in Sebago/Denmark continued to be the best producer of large brown trout and that the nicest landlocked salmon were coming from Trickey Pond in Naples, where splake and brook trout may also be caught.

_bass_4.90.jpg (8887 bytes)February 14th, 2000

Maine’s Sebago Lake continues to be the state’s shining star! "Although the good togue fishing that was concentrated over the Great Shoals (off Jordan’s Store) has slowed, fishermen that have fanned out and found some humps and bars that are surrounded by deep water, have been catching limits of five fish each with no problem," reports John Boland, Senior Regional Fisheries Biologist. "On Saturday, during our regular survey, we checked several togue limits, with one group of four fishermen having 19 togue on the ice and only one to go. The average togue being caught is between two and four pounds. These are the fish that we want removed from this overpopulation to protect the smelt resource. There’s been a few togue up to ten pounds reported, although the largest we’ve seen were seven to eight pounds," John noted.

"We’ve also had some fantastic cusk fishing here. And it seems the average fish is getting larger. We’ve had some over five pounds with one that was 37 inches long weighing about 12 pounds. This is mostly night fishing on the shallow, rocky bars. The Camel’s Pasture is one very good cusk ground, and there’s plenty of other spots that do well," he said.

_brookie_4.10.jpg (8948 bytes)February 21th, 2000

Carroll Cutting at Jordan’s Store in East Sebago, had weighed-in a 19.5 pound togue and gave us the name of the lucky angler, Ernest Bisco from Raymond, Maine. He said the fish was caught on a Stinger jig tipped with cut bait. He’d also had a 18 inch brown trout brought in to be weighed that went over three pounds--that’s a very fat fish!

"Those serious togue fishermen on Sebago have worked out a system that is pretty effective," relayed Cal Robinson at Saco Bay Tackle. "They have their four wheeler ATVs rigged with color depth sounders. A short, very stiff rod using big guides to reduce icing is used with 35 or 40 pound test Spider Wire type line. They tie on a six-foot section of 20-pound fluorocarbon leader to the line. Most of them are using Stinger or Airplane jigs. When they hook a fish, they jump up and back away from their hole while reeling like crazy. This method takes the slack out of the line. Slack line accounts for many lost fish when using a heavy jig," he instructed. Cal also said it was fun to watch these guys.

_brookie_4.18.jpg (9004 bytes)March 1st, 2000

Both Carroll Cutting of Jordan’s Store in East Sebago and Dave Garcia at Naples Bait on Long Lake at Naples were enthused by the good fishing in the Sebago Lake Region: "Long Lake was on fire," laughed Garcia, who had fishermen running out of bait and coming back for more within an hour’s time! "Most of the action was on salmon that were running from 14 to 19 inches, but we saw a lot of nice browns taken. There were some salmon and brook trout taken from Trickey Pond (Naples) but nothing like the action on Long. One angler showed up here with a five gallon bucket full to the top with perch and pickerel he’d caught from Little Kezar Lake in Fryeburg, so I guess you’d have to say the fishing was super," Dave noted.

A Special thanks to Carroll Cutting, owner of Jordan's Store located on RT144 in Sebago for loaning New England Sportsman these photographs. Jordan's stocks a complete supply of fishing tackle including togue killer flatfish, hand tied salmon flys and many types of lures, not to mention live bait. Please visit them on your next trip to the big water.

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