Crawford Lake

Key Species: smallmouth bass, white and yellow perch, pickerel, brook trout possible

Best Way to Fish: boat, canoe

Best Time to Fish: May through September

MAG: 36, D-1

Description: This relatively shallow, 1,677-acre pond is set in a semi-remote part of Washington County. The East Machias River exits Crawford Lake at its south end. This lake sees little fishing pressure and fishing for the above-listed species is excellent. You will need a boat or canoe, since little opportunity exists for fishing from shore. Crawford Lake has a special fall fishing season from October 1 to November 30, during which all trout, landlocked salmon, lake trout, and bass must be released alive at once. Primitive campsites are located on an island in the northeast section of the lake and at the south end of the lake by the mouth of the Machias River. There is also a private campground in nearby Alexander. Motels are available in Baring.

Fishing index: Local anglers come to Crawford Lake for its exceptional pickerel fishing. Although you can take pickerel here throughout the season if you stick to the weedy areas, early spring is the best time to take large fish, those weighing 3 pounds or more. Why the biggest pickerel in the lake are on the prowl at this time is something of a mystery. Perhaps the sunlight is welcome after a long winter spent in diffused light under snow-covered ice. Interestingly, small pickerel are scarce at this time. Maybe because aquatic weeds have not yet begun to grow, the small fish have a difficult time finding cover and feel threatened. Old-timers used to take pickerel in the early season with a simple night crawler behind a Colorado spinner. You can have good luck with live minnows, spinners, and Dardevles.

White and yellow perch fishing is excellent. You can take these species all summer with ultralight spinning tackle and small jigs, live minnows, or earthworms. Drift about with your bait touching bottom, and when you find a concentration of fish, set your anchor. It is best to use bait to locate the fish, and cast spinners and small lead-head jigs after you have anchored.

Crawford Lake is dotted with islands, both large and small. The shorelines of these islands are prime places to cast for smallmouth bass. Use small lead-head jigs with plastic bodies, spinnerbaits, Dardevles, and Mepps spinners. Fly casters can take fish on woolly buggers, leech patterns, and small poppers.

Directions: From Wesley, head north on Maine Route 9, also called the Airline. After going by an extremely sharp curve in the town of Crawford, look for the first gravel road on the left. This road leads to the boat ramp. A hand-carry ramp is located just north of Great Pine Point, two roads up on the left from the first gravel road mentioned.

For more information: Call the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife in Machias.

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Crawford Lake

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