The author shows off two turkeys he took several Mays ago with one shot. Contributed / Tom Roth

After another COVID-induced lockdown winter, who doesn’t want to get out, dust off their turkey hunting and trout fishing gear and get outdoors? With that theme in mind, let’s take a look at the local hunting and fishing scene.

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.

For anglers, Sebago Lake is just starting to warm up and produce fish. An early ice-out brought cold and low water to the region. Many boat launches are still unusable due to low water. But the bite is picking up. Water temperatures are getting to that magical 50-degree mark, when lake trout and salmon become voracious feeders. The only thing keeping anglers from fish, aside from unusable launches, is wind. As is typical this month, the winds are strong and prohibit fishing. But bluebird days or, even better, overcast days do come along and we take advantage of them. The traditional smelt run and accompanying trolling the mouth of the Songo River for salmon isn’t what it used to be. The smelt used to run black up the Songo, but their stock has dwindled. Anglers this month are finding fish all over the lake, likely chasing alewives. Watch your fish finder and use a downrigger or lead-core line to target that same depth. Togue generally hug the bottom, so fish deep in anywhere from 60-120 feet. Get your smelt (live, frozen or imitation) down to the bottom. Copper and nickel spoons also work well in the depths.

Ponds and lakes with brook, brown and rainbow trout come alive this month. Troll streamer patterns or small spoons along the shoreline for some fast action. Spots like Little Sebago Lake never disappoint this month. I prefer trolling a fly rod with sinking line and a 30-foot section of fluorocarbon leader, tipped with a tandem streamer like the Barnes’ special or the gray ghost. You want to be fishing in 8-12 feet of water.

Similarly, waters with splake, the non-reproducing hybrid resulting in brook trout breeding with lake trout, come on the bite this month. Trickey Pond in Naples and Coffee Pond in Casco have good populations of splake. Troll the same flies or lures as you would for other trout. I like live or frozen smelts when targeting splake, too. Splake grow rapidly and give a great fight, reason enough to seek them out.

Turkey hunters have it a little better. Birds are doing what they always do this time of year, hitting the fields at sunrise. This region has plenty of fields and power lines to stake out for ole Tom. Winter sightings of birds were optimistic and spring turkey reports, as well as harvests, have been high. While some hunters are reporting seeing (or taking) jakes, the big gobblers are out there, too.

Most of the hunters I have talked to early this month reported using jake or hen decoys, or a combination of both. Nothing riles up a gobbler faster than another bird tending to his harem. Other hunters like to hunt later in the day and lure the gobblers in with seductive hen yelps and clucks. It’s almost magical to watch a gobbler be pulled across a field by only the sounds of a mouth or slate call.

Whether you opt to chase trout or turkeys, or even better, get in a cast-and-blast day on the water and in the woods, May holds the promise of sporting adventures for all.

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