Black bass spawn in June, creating superb angling, and what better places can we fish than in central Maine’s small, semi-remote bass ponds? These jewels dot this vast region everywhere.

In a nutshell, bassers can find classic bassing hot spots to meet their every whim, often near home, and half the fun begins with the search for the perfect one.

Granted, “classic” is subjective to the core, but these ponds have their own personalities and features, offering something for each of us.

We can find clear water or dark, mucky shallows or gravel bottoms, weed beds or boulders and more. You can add to the list.

A personal favorite highlights my definition of classic — Turner Pond in Somerville and Palermo.

This molasses-colored, weed-choked pond, a surprisingly remote place 30 minutes from downtown Augusta, shouts “bass.”

But Turner offers much more than relative solitude and bass.

This narrow, forest-lined pond stretches north for two-plus miles from a hand-carry boat launch off Colby Road.

Islands and peninsulas make it look even more narrow, so anglers seldom see more than 10 acres at a time, giving this pond an intimate, river feel in a wilderness-like setting.

Turner Pond lies near my boyhood home, and in my youth, it had earned a solid reputation as a pickerel producer, a hot spot for ice anglers back in the day.

Then, about three decades ago, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife stocked Turner Pond with largemouth bass, and within 10 years, it produced a documented, 6-pound-plus largemouth, proof the habitat suited the species.

Meanwhile, the pickerel population lost out to the newcomers.

It would be easy to skip naming Turner Pond because it possesses similar qualities to many semi-remote, central-Maine bass ponds, particularly in one respect. It has no trailer-able boat launch, which keeps lots of serious bass anglers away.

This group often enjoys fishing with a heavy, high-powered boat — an advantage should they fish in tournaments.

Racing around from one hot spot to another adds to their pleasure, so they need an adequate launch to handle a trailer large enough for hauling their boat and huge outboard.

In short, ponds with hand-carry launches for car-top boats, canoes or kayaks guarantee light bass-fishing pressure.

Many of these places may not see an angler from one week to the next.

Many bass ponds fish no better or worse than one a handful of miles away, but the presence of smallmouths gives the bronzeback waters the edge.

We love our smallmouths here, so largemouths may produce yawns.

Whether we’re talking smallmouths or largemouths, though, Maine bass ponds that attract me have similar qualities — big bass, undeveloped shorelines, drop-offs, lots of islands and peninsulas and shallow, weed-filled coves.

I too prefer bronzebacks but am not snobby about it.

There’s more to fishing than just fishing, and another favorite bass pond offers an excellent example — Stevens Pond in Liberty. This water has floating sphagnum islands that grow carnivorous plants, exciting for an amateur botanist. I can cast a fly close to the edge of these islands while gawking at pitcher plants, growing a couple feet away.

When a good-sized man gets onto one of these floating masses for a closer look, the ground sinks around the feet ever so slowly. If folks aren’t paying attention, water eventually rises over shoes or even 10-inch boots.

Stevens does have a trailer-able boat launch, a poor one but trailer-able nonetheless, but the pond’s shallow coves, stumps and so forth help keep lots of big bass boats away — a general rule with exceptions.

Fisheries biologists at the IFW Region B office in Sidney can direct anglers to bass waters, and without doubt, few people in central Maine know more about where to go bassing. The telephone number is 547-5300.

I cannot leave this topic without mentioning Ed Gray, the first publisher and editor of the prestigious Gray’s Sporting Journal.

In the late 1970s, he wrote columns about fishing central-Maine bass ponds that had wooded shorelines, light fishing pressure and large, sassy bass.

He even called the experience “classic.” That comment intrigued me then.

I lived here and didn’t look at bass fishing as “classic” anything. The species has grown on me through the decades, though.

These undeveloped bass ponds produce top-notch sport, and thanks to bucket biologists and even fisheries biologists who stocked bass into Atlantic-salmon drainages, bass have spread far and wide.

We surely live in more enlightened times these days when it comes to fisheries management.

Ken Allen of Belgrade Lakes is a writer, editor and photographer. He can be contacted at:

[email protected]