Tuesday, June 18, 2013
By JOHN CHRISTIE
Although the preponderance of my kayaking is done in the enticing ocean waters along the coast and among the myriad of islands that dot Maine’s bays, principally because of the sheer beauty and variety that the coastline has to offer, I harbor a special fetish for the quiet lakes and ponds that I’ve explored both by canoe and kayak.
Dyer Long Pond in Jefferson is a great place for kayaking in placid conditions, especially early in the day.
John Christie photo
I restrict my inland kayaking now not only to a few special bodies of water, but I always plan my excursions in the very early morning or late evening, when the water is a perfect mirror, there’s seldom anyone else out, and the light changes subtly to reveal captivating vistas.
I’ll usually prevail on my wife to let me take her handy little (and lighter) Old Town Dirigo 120, as it provides a slightly more stable fly fishing platform in the event I decide to do any casting, and my sea kayak is more than I need on the placid waters of the places I frequent.
At this time of year, when the suns rises right around 5 a.m. and sets at about 8:30 p.m., I’m up well before sunrise and out of the kayak shortly after sunset.
My favorite paddles, for a variety of reasons, are of a sufficient number to start and end those summer days that I’m not off on some other recreational diversion.
Not far from my midcoast home, Lake St. George and Stevens Pond in Liberty, and Sheepscot Pond in Palermo (which flows into Long Pond in Somerville) are special dawn and dusk favorites, as are, without question, Lake Megunticook outside Camden and its neighboring Norton Pond in Lincolnville. I hasten to add that Pitcher Pond and Knight Pond in Northport are especially pleasant and quiet paddles early and late in the day.
Even closer to home, Washington Pond, a few hundred yards away for me, and its neighbor, Crystal Pond, both offer placid paddling.
I also have a few lakes I visit every summer for sentimental reasons.
Long Pond (also known as Beaver Mountain Lake) in Sandy River Plantation just south of Rangeley is a small and especially scenic paddle, made more meaningful to me because I once had a log cabin on its westerly shore under the mountain of the same name.
And the lakes and ponds that dot the landscape in the Deboullie Preserve north of Portage are always on my mind as I plan my trips each summer, but that represents a long trek for most of us.
Now I’ll share a little secret with you about an easily accessible, seldom-visited and especially charming little pond that is close enough to my house so I don’t have to arise too much before the sun peeks over the easterly horizon, and which I’ll never miss visiting a couple times a summer.
It’s called Dyer Long Pond just off Route 126 about three miles west of Jefferson and about a dozen miles east of Gardiner/Randolph. You can also get there heading north out of Damariscotta on Route 215 through Damariscotta Mills (a wonderfully scenic trip in its own right).
On either of those routes, look for Hinks Road, which runs by the west shore of the pond, and you’ll spy a well-marked public launch site (hand-carry only) maintained by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
If you’re a fly fisherman, don’t expect any cold-water species, as the 423-acre pond is only 16 feet deep at its deepest spot and the surface water can reach 70 degrees at the surface and only a couple degrees cooler at the bottom. So there’s no trout, but an abundance of smallmouth bass and even more largemouth bass, along with the customary perch (white and yellow), suckers, hornpout, sunfish and eels.
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