Angler Eric Treadwell of Gray shows off a healthy Sebago Lake salmon taken while being guided by the author on an early fall day this year. Tom Roth / For Lakes Region Weekly

Cool, crisp nights; warm, sunny days – who could ask for more? Couple that with fishing and hunting seasons being open and you have a winning combination. With the big lake action heating up for salmon, pheasant, grouse and woodcock hunting, and archery hunting for deer, these days were made for a “cast-and-blast” adventure.

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.

Last September, I fished my last guided job on the last Sunday of the month and pulled my trusty “Black Ghost” at the end of the trip. As October came around, much to my chagrin, the salmon really came on the bite. I was getting teasing texts from my fellow guide buddies saying they were catching fish right out in front of my place. I’m sure they could see my boat covered and tucked away for the winter. Well, not this year! I’m keeping the boat in and I have a plan. I’ll be up to the Rangeley region chasing grouse on Saturday, home to fish Sebago on Sunday (with clients or not!) and I’ll hit the local pheasant release sites on Monday.

Sebago salmon action was strange this year. Last summer they were on the bite almost every outing. This year they didn’t seem to ramp up until September, but with cooler water this month, I’m confident the salmon fishing will continue. Starting Oct. 1, anglers are restricted to artificial lures only and you must immediately release salmon. You can still keep lakers. I’ve been having great luck on salmon with lures, so I’ll likely use lures or streamer flies when trolling this month. Any spoon with orange in it seems to always work on Sebago. Northeast Trollers “Orange Crush” lure is deadly, as are orange Mooselook wobblers. Lately, pink-hued lures and white lures are also hot. Flies like Joe’s smelt, Barnes’ special and Miss Sharon are my go-to choices.

Lake trout are always on the bite, but also come up from the bottom this time of month as the lake “turns” and the water cools. Anglers should check the regulations and remember the mouth of the Songo River from Bear Point to Outer Island is closed to angling to protect spawning fish.

I used to be able to scare up a spare grouse or two in the Raymond and Casco woods many years ago, with the help of my lab, Luke, but development has taken away many of my old bird covers. There are a few birds still around, but I’ve turned to hunting stocked pheasant around here. The first bird I bagged as a kid – not counting my errant BB gun days of mischief – was a hen pheasant, and I will never forget that flush, the shot I took or the feeling of pride I had with my dad that day. Check the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website for details on release sites and dates.

These birds sit tight and it’s almost necessary to have a dog, but dogless hunters can get birds. You just have to “play dog” and really cover ground. Most release sites are fields with tall grass and the birds burrow in and hold. By walking the field and trying to cover as much terrain as possible, you can kick up a bird or two. Just be ready because nothing gets the heart pumping faster that a pheasant erupting right at your feet.

Archery hunting for deer takes place this month, so the Robin Hoods of the hunting world are out in force. Also, fall turkey hunting is in full swing, so hunters have quite a smorgasbord to choose from. From fishing to hunting, October celebrates the end of summer and the beginning of winter with options galore for local sportsmen and women.

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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