Top Places for Bass Fishing in Maine

Top Places for Bass Fishing in Maine

Bass, Bass Fishing, Lunkers, Trophy Bass

Here's what to expect for bass fishing in Maine.

The majority of fishermen release nearly every bass they catch, tossing the smaller ones back to "grow up" and letting the big ones go after a quick photo session. When you use a resource but don't abuse it, the results are predictable: Plenty of big bass to go around and more on the way.

With all this in mind, here's a look at bass management strategies in New England and where avid bass anglers can find the best fishing in their state:

Once a prime destination for trout and salmon anglers, Maine is now a leader in bass fishing adventures in the Northeast. With healthy populations of largemouth and smallmouth bass in rivers, streams, lakes and ponds, the Pine Tree State offers some of the best two-species fishing in the East.

Duo Realis Crankbait M65-8A

Length: 2 1/2 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 8 feet

A highly detailed crankbait, the M65 confronts bass with a realistic baitfish appearance plus sound generated by a metal plate and steel ball. Available in two models and a variety of colors, this crankbait is effective in both stained and clear water.

Price: $12.99

Sebile Action First Bull Crank

Length: 2 1/2 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 4-7 feet

Patrick Sebile's Bull Crank is an excellent lure, especially at that low price point of $6.95. The Xternal weight system helps to keep a low center of gravity, dig deep, and stay on track, reducing the need to tune. It features a wide body to increase visual presence.

Price: $6.95

Storm Arashi Silent Square Bill

Length: 2 1/8 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 3 feet

The Square Bill\'s self-tuning line tie lets you burn it and still have it track straight. The circuit board lip provides strong vibration up the line and helps the lure deflect well in cover, especially downed trees.

Price: $8.99

Gary Yamamoto Chikara

Length: 2 1/2 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 2-4 feet

This popularly-priced, rattle-equipped crankbait is designed to be worked through heavy cover and still get the job done. The Chikara features internal 3D holographic foiling that provides flash and cannot be chipped. The lure's value is enhanced by Mustad Triple Grip treble hooks.

Price: $7.99

Strike King KVD-1-5-Flat Side

Length: 2 ¼ inches
Weight: 3/8 ounce
Depth: 8-10 feet

This flat-side crankbait has a good thumping action and a tight wobble, and that means it's a great crankbait for cooler months or highly pressured lakes. Adding some weight to the hooks helps to cast the relatively light Flat Side on baitcasting gear, especially in windy situations.

Price: $5.79

Rapala Scatter Rap Crank

Length: 2 inches
Weight: 5/16 ounce
Depth: 6-8 feet

On a medium or slow retrieve, the Rap Crank is amazing: it tracks straight, then pops laterally and juts back onto the original track, ready for the waiting strike.

Price: $8.99

Spro Baby Fat John 50

Length: 2 inches
Weight: 3/8 ounce
Depth: 0-2 feet
Spro Baby Fat John 50

This smaller version of the established Fat John effectively imitates smaller forage, and works on spotted and smallmouth bass as well as largemouth. It runs shallow at any speed, and its fiberglass lip makes it kick out and 'œhunt' frequently before returning to true.

Price: $12.03

Bass Pro Shops XPS Square Bill

Length: 2 1/2 inches
Weight: 3/8 ounce
Depth: 5 feet

It's a good-looking lure, and fine quality for a hard-to-beat price. The XPS rattle is subdued, which is nice for spooky bass. The oval split on the line tie helps it run straight and avoid line slipping between rings.

Price: $4.29

Megabass Knuckle Jr

Length: 2.2 inches
Weight: 3/8 ounce
Depth: 1-3 feet

You\'ll be a megafan of Megabass lures because of their innovation and uncanny attention to detail. The Knuckle Jr.\'s two-position adjustable bill really gives you two lures in one, making it easier to swallow the premium price.

Price: $4.29

Livetarget Bait Ball Square Bill

Length: 2 3/8 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Depth: 3-4 feet

The Bait Ball is a crankbait with realistic 3D baitfish bodies inside the main body. The smaller lures inside cleverly mimic a school of shad. This crankbait casts very well and has a tighter wobble than most square bills, making it a perfect crank for clear water.

Price: $14.99

Generally, the best largemouth fishing is in the southern half of the state, while smallmouths abound in the northern portions. Due in part to the recent, unexpected surge in interest in bass fishing in the state, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has been quick to protect the resource. The spring bass fishing season is open from April 1 to June 30 using artificial lures only. There is a one-fish daily bag limit and a minimum length of 10 inches during the spring spawning period. These regulations are designed to protect breeding fish while they are on their nests. The MDIFW does very little stocking of black bass and makes every effort to encourage natural reproduction where these fish exist.

Maine's "regular" bass fishing season opens July 1 and closes Sept. 30, with a three fish daily bag limit. All three fish must be over 10 inches but only one may exceed 14 inches. There are no tackle restrictions during this period.

The fall bass fishing season runs from Oct. 1 through March 31 with a one-fish daily bag limit and a 10-inch minimum size restriction. There are some restrictions and limitations on individual waters throughout the state, so anglers are advised to study a copy of the most current open water fishing regulations.

Excellent largemouth bass fishing may be found in southern Maine's warmwater lakes and ponds. The Cobboseecontee lake-and-stream complex south of Augusta off Interstate Route 95 is a good place to start. Great largemouth bass fishing may be had as far north as Stetson Pond in Stetson, where specimens reaching 10 pounds have been reported.

Maine's smallmouth bass fishing is the stuff of legends, with 3- to 5-pound fish being the norm, especially in May, June and early July. All of the state's largest rivers and streams contain populations of smallmouths, but the perennial leaders include the Penobscot, Pleasant and lower Kennebec rivers. Anglers should consider fishing some of the smaller trout streams after they warm up at the end of June because some lunker bronzebacks may be found in the deeper holes and bridge pools throughout the summer.

For more information on Maine's black bass fishery, log onto www.mefishwildlife.com.

Don't forget to share your best bass photos with us on Camera Corner for your chance to win free gear!

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