South Branch Lake

Key Species: smallmouth bass, white perch, pickerel Best Way to Fish: boat, canoe Best Time to Fish: May through September MAG: 43, E-4

Description: This 2,035-acre, semi-remote lake is known for its warmwater species. It is a prime destination for the serious smallmouth bass angler because the lake contains no coldwater game fish. Many Maine anglers prefer to fish for trout, landlocked salmon, or lake trout, and regard smallmouth bass as trash fish. Consequently, fishing pressure is light, except for local anglers in search of white perch for the frying pan. South Branch Lake has a special fall fishing season from October 1 through November 30, during which all trout, landlocked salmon, and lake trout must be released alive (but note that the lake actually contains no trout, salmon, or lake trout). The largest island in the center of the lake offers a primitive campsite.

Fishing index: Concentrate on the middle and southwest sections of the lake, which are dotted with islands. Using small casting spoons, black plastic worms, lead-head jigs, muddler minnows, small poppers, woolly buggers, or leech patterns, fish around the islands. The areas between the islands offer varying depths, so by fishing the drop-offs, you can easily locate where smallmouth bass are holding.

For white perch, try the 28-foot-deep hole north of the largest island, slightly above the lake’s center. Local anglers take good catches of perch by fishing with worms on the bottom. Small minnows or night crawlers will also take perch, as will small lead-head jigs with plastic bodies. On calm days, drift along with your bait or jig bouncing bottom; when you locate a school of perch, keep drifting over it. On windy days, you might need to anchor your boat in order to maintain contact with the perch.

For pickerel, try the mouths of the small streams at the north and south ends of the lake. Try still-fishing with a minnow and bobber, or cast Mepps spinners, Dardevles, or yellow bucktails.

Directions: From Bangor, take Interstate 95 north to Howland, and get off at exit 54.

Head east toward West Enfield and turn left on Maine Route 116, also called the Edinburg Road. Heading north on 116, turn left on the North Howland Road. Follow the North Howland Road over the Interstate 95 overpass and turn right on the Seboeis Road. Follow the Seboeis Road to Seboeis Village, where you will find a boat ramp at the end of the main street.

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

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