The author with his 2020 deer enjoyed a great year in the woods and on the water and looks forward to a safe and healthy 2021 for all. Tom Roth / For Lakes Region Weekly

For some, and it’s certainly understandable with the impact COVID has had on our lives, 2020 was not an enjoyable year and 2021 can’t get here quick enough. However, those of us who spend a good portion of their time in the woods or on the water seemed to escape life, albeit briefly. Speaking for myself, I had one hell of a year and as I prepare to flip the calendar to 2021, I wax nostalgic and look back on my sporting year past.

To begin with, ice-out fishing on Sebago started slow. We didn’t see the huge smelt run that draw the salmon and lake trout to the mouth of the Songo River this time of year. Sebago Lake is named after the landlocked salmon and the salmon has brought fame and fortune to the lake as far back as the 1800s. Not taking a single salmon this spring was disappointing, but that would change quickly.

The lake trout, loathed and loved, were stocked in Sebago in the early 1970s to combat a dwindling salmon stock, but they took off rapidly and, many say, depleted the salmon even more. They do compete for smelt, the salmon’s primary forage food, but they are here and we now target them. Most of the guides on the lake advertise lake trout trips and what trips we had.

Beginning in late spring, the lakers really came on the bite. Anglers and guides were reporting double-digit days. When you take someone out that has never really done any fishing and put them onto a 3-5 pound fish, they get excited!

Living on the lake, I noticed much more boat traffic this year. Area boat dealers told me they had the best sales season ever. I had tons of calls for fishing trips, as did the other area guides. The working guides of Sebago got together and we formed a referral system, whereas when one of us was booked, other guides were directed to the interested client. It worked great and we took people out who wanted to experience the beauty and bounty of the lake. Additionally, the guides formed a sort of alliance where friendships and professionalism mattered above all. We were all busy and had a banner season.

As summer came, we started noticing huge balls of baitfish on our fish finder screens. We also noticed congregations of water birds attacking the bait as it neared the surface. This meant fish were chasing the bait ball and when we trolled near the action, we found ourselves into some exceptional salmon fishing, starting in August. I caught more salmon on Sebago this past summer than many past years combined. Sure, a big lake trout is fun, but nothing compares to the singing of a fly reel when a salmon makes a run. Some lunkers were caught including a 9.1-pounder netted by Glen Gisel of Sebago Sport Fishing. Now that’s a monster salmon!

Fall came and went well for this hunter, too. I bagged my daily limit of birds on all my trips to the Western mountains, got some good duck hunting in locally and hung my tag on a nice plump eight-pointer in November. Yes, despite the pandemic, I enjoyed 2020 as did many who chose to spend their time in wide open spaces. Happy New Year to all!

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.

Comments are not available on this story.