Joe Fix of Naples with his plump salmon from Sebago Lake.  Tom Roth / For Lakes Region Weekly

I picked up my clients, who were camping at Sebago Lake State Park, at the state launch dock. It was a beautiful summer evening, perfect for their sunset and cruise and fishing trip.

We motored to one of my favorite evening fishing spots and I set out four lines. Two rods were rigged with lead core line, which I attached to planer boards after letting out four colors of line. They were tipped with frozen shiners. The other two rods were attached to down-riggers and sent to the bottom. Set for salmon cruising closer to the surface and the down-rigger lines were targeting the bottom-dwelling lake trout. I had the situation covered!

The first fish to hit was a decent laker and my client, Irfan, enjoyed bullying the big fish in. He was used to much smaller fish and the hefty laker was giving him the proverbial run for his money. When I finally netted it, I was impressed with the size, a 26-incher.

We enjoyed a leisurely supper of sandwiches while trolling and I provided tales and fables of Sebago Lake from my memory. We played and released a few more lakers and, as the sun went down, it was time to reel the lines in and head for shore. I tasked Irfan with reeling in the starboard lead core rig and, as he got most of the line in, he hollered that he had a fish on. No sooner had he said that than the fish, a salmon, did a spectacular tail dance on the water. Talk about luck! He was rewarded with a plump, 23-incher that he cooked on the campfire, to his wife’s delight.

That weekend, I chartered for a group of college buddies and we got into lakers exclusively. The downrigger sets produced while the salmon sets disappointed. Sometimes it works that way. We were dragging bottom in 100-120 feet of water and that’s where the lakers seem to be right now. Most guides are having luck using bait, primarily shiners, so why mess with success? If you want to drag a lure, pick something copper, that’s a hot finish for Sebago lakers. Sebago salmon always have, and continue, to slash out at orange lures. Mooselook wobblers, DB smelt and any other spoon-type lure in orange will work.

To wrap up the past week, I guided a father and son from their home on Sebago Lake. We just got all four lines in the water when a salmon rig went off, right as we trolled in front of their place. Live shiners did the trick this time and dad reeled in a gorgeous, fat salmon. He texted his wife that they were indeed having salmon for the Fourth of July and she was elated. Another salmon that he gifted to an appreciative neighbor and a few lakers rounded out the morning for this happy crew.

As the waters warm, watch for bait activity in the form of alewives on the surface and on your fish finder. If this July is anything like last year, salmon will continue to feed near the surface and should provide some great angling.

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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