Best Way to Fish: canoe, boat
Best Time to Fish: May through September
MAG: 36, E-4
Description: Easy access and a good boat ramp make 2,905-acre Cathance (pronounced Cat-hance) Lake a popular spot for Washington County anglers. For the most part, the shoreline is wild, but the western shoreline does have some camps. Lots of islands, an irregular shoreline, and a long peninsula jutting out into the center of the lake make Cathance a favorite spot for trolling for landlocked salmon in early spring. The ice usually leaves by the first of May, and local anglers flock here for their first taste of open water fishing. Even then, you will not encounter long lines at the boat ramp and there is always plenty of open water for everyone to fish. Cathance Lake has a slot limit on bass and brook trout and a no-kill, artificial-lures-only season lasting from October 1 through October 31.
Fishing index: Most Maine anglers come here for the often fantastic, often slow landlocked salmon fishing. May is the best month for salmon. Try Gray Cove on the south end of the lake, and Sand Cove on the north end. Tandem streamer flies that imitate smelt are the preferred artificial lures. Using a sinking fly line and a 20-foot leader of 6-pound test, try gray ghost, supervisor, nine-three, pink lady, and red gray ghost. Jerry’s smelt is also productive. Hardware addicts use Mooselook Wobblers and Flash Kings, fished on the same tackle used for streamer flies. Troll at a fast clip and you will get more hits. If you are going just a bit faster than other anglers, you should be just about right.
Come June, the smallmouth bass are so active that they interfere with the salmon fishing. While local anglers view the bass with scorn, you may feel differently. Fish the rocky shorelines, casting lead-head jigs trimmed with white or yellow bucktail, or lead-head jigs with plastic bodies. Mepps spinners are effective here too. Pickerel fishing is excellent as well, with plenty of larger-than-average individuals. Fish the shallow water near the shorelines, using large golden or silver shiners, orange Flash Kings, and brightly colored bucktails. Toward evening, you can take pickerel on fly-rod poppers.
Directions: From East Machias, take Maine Route 191 north toward Cooper. Just before the Cooper town line, look for a state boat ramp on the right side of the road.
For more information: Contact the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife in Bangor or Machias.