One of the columnist’s clients show off a nice plump Sebago Lake salmon. Photo by Tom Roth

Fellow guide Dan Hillier from Songo River Guide Service picked me up at my dock and we motored out on the big lake. We were meeting to discuss a guiding partnership and decided to do a little fishing, too.

Dan heard that salmon were cruising through the Camel Pasture, a well-known spot on the Standish side of the lake. We got in the “slot” and Dan switched over to his kicker motor, using his Minn Kota trolling motor to steer the boat. We set two downriggers at 40-feet deep and Dan rigged planer boards with lead-core line – four colors down and about 20 yards away from each side of the boat. I don’t typically run planers, but I became interested in them once Dan showed me how easy they are to set. I liked how far they move the line away from the boat, a plus when fighting fish at the back on the downriggers. We were using trolling spoons from Northeast Trollers in orange crinkle finish.

Not long after we had the planers set, we had a strike on the port side of the boat. I took the rod and despite the pull from the clip-on planer, I could feel a feisty salmon on the other end of the line. Once the fish got close to the boat, it shook the line. Disappointing, but it proved what Dan was hearing: Salmon are cruising the Camel Pasture! We also caught a runt togue on the downrigger setup. We fished for a bit longer but had to pack it in when a thunderstorm rolled over the lake and made us scramble for safety.

With cold days and cooler nights, the salmon bite will be back on this month and anglers after these feisty fish often target them in September. As a young man, I lamented the coming of September. To me it spelled the end of summer, no more water skiing and a lull falling over the lake. As an avid angler on Sebago, I rejoice in the coming of the ninth month. The lake quiets downs as summer users retreat and we anglers have it all to ourselves. Salmon come up in the water column as the surface temperature cools and all is right with the world. This month we can still use live bait, but starting Oct. 1, the law switches to artificial lures only. You can’t keep salmon starting in October, either.

This month, I typically switch to my spring setup, a fly rod with super-fast sinking trolling fly line. This allows me to troll shiners or a bait imitation down anywhere from just below the surface to 25 feet deep. The fly line also adheres to the water and follows the path of the boat as you turn. I’ll also run my downriggers and target the depth that I see fish. If I want to add togue to the bag, I’ll drag one or two lines just above bottom.

While the summer crowd may be retreating, September is the month to troll Sebago for her famed salmon. Be sure to get out on the water early, and wave if you see me.

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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