Junior Lake

Key Species: landlocked salmon, lake trout, smallmouth bass, white perch, whitefish Best Way to Fish: boat, canoe

Best Time to Fish: May and June, January through March MAG: 35, A-1

Description: This 3,866-acre, 70-foot-deep lake is part of a large chain of wilderness lakes. It is possible to go by boat from Junior Lake all the way to the village of Grand Lake Stream on West Grand Lake. Until recent years, Junior Lake had few cottages, but progress has taken its toll as lakeside lots have been sold off. However, the lake still retains its wilderness aspect in spite of the recent development. It is almost impossible to fish this semi-remote lake without a boat. Special fishing regulations permit the taking of cusk at night while ice fishing with no more than 5 lines. Junior Lake offers island campsites, and lodging is available in Lincoln.

Fishing index: Junior Lake is known primarily for its excellent early-season landlocked salmon fishing. May is the top month for landlocks here, and anglers take fish by trolling tandem streamer flies from 10 to 100 feet out from the rocky shorelines and off the group of islands known as the Big Islands. Any pattern that imitates a smelt will do. The author has had good luck with the nine-three, gray ghost, and Jerry’s smelt. Orange and gold

Flash Kings, fished on a sinking line with a 20-foot leader of 6-pound test, are another favorite.

The occasional whitefish will sometimes hit a Flash King, a dividend for salmon anglers. The southeastern and southwestern shorelines are not as heavily fished and are good salmon spots. Landlocked salmon fishing picks up again in September, but fall is not as productive as spring.

Smallmouth bass fishing is excellent all through the open water season, and September is a top month. Look for smallmouths close to the rocky shores. You can take smallmouths by trolling with diving minnow imitations, or casting Dardevles, Mepps spinners, woolly buggers, black leech patterns, or topwater lures and poppers.

Ice fishers reach Junior Lake on snowmobiles and take lake trout, landlocked salmon, and cusk. Whitefish can be taken through the ice with a small hook and a tiny bit of cut-up minnow or a worm. The area between Bottle Island and the south end of the lake near the outlet of Junior Stream is a popular ice fishing spot. Lake trout and salmon are taken here on minnows and live smelt fished with tip-ups. You might want to set at least one tip-up near the shore. A friend of the author’s once caught a 5-pound lake trout in 5 feet of water, just a few feet from shore. Cusk fishing through the ice at night can be productive. Using tip-ups baited with dead minnows, set the bait on the bottom. Stay near your tip-ups and have a flashlight ready at all times, to warn away snowmobiles that might not see the tip-ups.

Directions: From Lincoln, take Maine Route 6 east to Springfield, a distance of 20 miles. Continue east on Maine Route 6, and at 0.4 mile past Springfield, look for South Springfield Road on the right. Take South Springfield Road for 6 miles to its end at a gravel boat landing at Bottle Lake. Park off the road and take your boat across Bottle Lake to Bottle Lake Stream, the wide, slow-mov-

Junior Lake is famous for its rocky shores and fighting smallmouth bass. Here, an angler holds tight as an angry smallmouth makes a last-ditch attempt at freedoming outlet. Follow Bottle Lake Stream to Junior Lake. If you have a deep-draft boat, be careful about hitting dead snags with your propeller. The stream is wide, but very shallow, except for the channel. You will enter Junior Lake near Bottle Island, a rocky island on the southwest end of the lake.

For more information: Call the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife Regional Fish and Wildlife Headquarters in Bangor.

Junior Lake Photo Gallery

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