Wendy Nunez and Debora Katz show off five nice lake trout taken while recently trolling on Sebago with the Lakes Region Sportsman. Photo by Tom Roth

Word on the water was that the salmon were up close to the surface taking bait. But how could that be? It was the final week of July and the surface temperature on Sebago Lake was 80 degrees. A few of the other guides reported similar findings, so you don’t argue with success.

I was partnering with Glen Gisel of Sebago Sport Fishing, guiding nine clients from Connecticut. I took three out in my boat to start. I ran my usual downrigger set-up, keeping two imitation smelt baits close to the bottom.

That morning I dug out the trolling fly rods, usually reserved for ice-out fishing, and rigged them up with live shiners on a bait harness. I double-checked the temperature gauge on the fish finder and yep, it was 80 degrees on the surface. I played out the 30-foot leader and just enough fly line to have it adhere to the water and sink a bit. Two downrigger rods down low and two fly rods up high – a perfect combination.

After about 30 minutes, the starboard-side fly rod doubled over and the reel started screaming. I pulled the rod and set the hook, and I could immediately tell we were onto a salmon. I handed the rod off to one of the boys in the boat and he played a spirited 18-inch salmon. That scenario repeated itself two more times, boating three nice salmon, all plump and well fed; the largest a decent 20-incher. We also hauled up six nice lake trout, making for a great morning on the water.

Normally as the water cools in September, the salmon bite comes back on, but this year it is unusually early. I am noticing more and more hatches on the water, mostly very small flying insects. My hypothesis is that baitfish, mainly alewives, are coming to the surface to slurp the emerging insects and the salmon are following them. On Aug. 2 I had a group of clients, who live on the lake, out for the morning. Once we got the gear set out, I saw a salmon leap twice behind the boat. Truly a strange sighting for this time of year, but I’ll take it.

The lakers are still biting, but we are having better luck in shallower water in the 50- to 60-foot range. I’m catching most of my fish on Live Action Twitch Minnows, realistic rubber smelt imitations. I’m also catching a few on spoons, primarily the Northeast Trollers copper/nickel spoons. The lead-core crew is reporting good catches using flatfish and bumping the bottom with them.

Trolling Sebago Lake on the weekends, I typically set out at 4:30 or 5 a.m. I love watching the sun rise on the lake and it’s generally cool out. Recreational boat traffic picks up around 10 a.m. and the lake can get choppy from all the wakes. Weekday anglers often have the lake to themselves, at least during the morning.

Despite conventional saying the fishing is slow when the water is warm, trust the local guides and get out there after salmon and lakers. Enjoy the bounty our lake has to offer.

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.

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