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.

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.

Sea-run alewives can and do get there to spawn through the small dam at the outlet.

About three miles long and a half-mile wide at its widest spot, it runs north and south, providing perfect sunrise and sunset vistas. Small and protected enough that I’ve never found wind to be a problem, especially at dawn and sunset, and lightly enough inhabited around its shores, this pond is a place where you can really feel that you and the wildlife inhabitants have the place pretty much to yourselves.

One of the most attractive and unusual features of the pond is the abundance of granite boulders that dot the shoreline, deposited there 10,000 years ago by the glaciers as they gouged out the lake bed.

Be forewarned, the boulders aren’t exclusively on the shore, and many are just under the surface, especially near the shoreline. So keep a wary eye out to avoid scrapes and scratches, especially in those areas where you see boulders jutting out to form a point.

I can virtually promise you a loon and osprey sighting or two, and sometimes the slap of a beaver tail can break the serenity of an early or late-day paddle. You might even catch a glimpse of them as you see a leafy branch moving across the still water in the mouth of one of them, gathering food or working on their domicile.

Perhaps you have a favorite location or two. Let me know, unless you want to keep yours a secret. I’ve got a couple you’ll never hear about from me.

John Christie is an author and year-round Maine explorer.  He and his son Josh write in Outdoors about places to enjoy the beauty that only Maine has to offer. He can be contacted at
[email protected]