The author’s late father showing off a lunker bass taken from alongside the family dock. Photo by Tom Roth

If you walk out on most any dock in the Sebago Lakes region and look along the shoreline, you will likely see circular spots cleared along the bottom of the lake. You may wonder what caused them; a boat motor idling, a turtle making sand angels, perhaps the landing pad of a duck. No, these are the nests or “redds” of bass and they provide some darn good fishing this month.

Tom Roth is a freelance outdoor writer who lives in Raymond on the shore of Sebago Lake. He has been fishing and hunting in this region for more than 30 years and is a Registered Maine Guide.

Bass nests, both for largemouth and smallmouth, are located, constructed and guarded by the male of the species. I mostly catch smallmouth in the region, although the two species, large and small, often occur in the same waters. I find the smallies put up a greater fight and attack lures this month with zeal. In early June, the male starts by searching out a nest site. Locations are often used year after year. I have had spawning bass in front of my place for the past two decades or more. Each spring since they were little, my girls would take their trusty Snoopy pole and attempt to catch one of these guardian bass. In most instances, a worm dangled near the nest provoked a strike and sometimes the girls battled with some very large bass. I always explained to them the importance of releasing the bass unharmed so they could guard the nest to ensure future generations of fish. So far it has worked.

The ideal bottom for a nesting bass is one with soft sediment and a bed of gravel underneath. This describes much of Sebago Lake’s shoreline structure. One productive way to fish for spawning bass is to float a boat or canoe along the shoreline, about 30-40 feet parallel from shore and cast toward the shoreline. Be sure to cast alongside and underneath any docks, as bass prefer their nests to be in shady areas. Any small lure that imitates a marauding bait fish will work, as will small spoons and spinners. Be certain to not over-play the fish and release it where it can get back to the nest. Once you have worked an area of shoreline well, move along and work the next stretch. If you are doing this type of fishing in early June, you will find bass.

Another fun technique works great just before sunset. Use a top-water plug and cast it in the shallows, jerking it to attract bass. Oftentimes the surface commotion will draw a bass away from the nest to investigate and their voracious appetite will take over.

I like to fly-cast from a canoe so this type of fishing is ideal for that. Use a light rod with sinking line and paddle parallel to shore and cast toward the shoreline. Be sure to concentrate on the edge of any weed beds you find. Streamer patterns, as well as a leech-style flies work well this month.

June bassing is tops on my list for exciting fishing. Abundant fish, hard strikes from overly protective fish and nice weather combine for some prime angling in this region.

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