Spencer Belson, a regular summer guest at his grandfather’s camp, shows off a whopper lake trout caught while fishing with the author. Tom Roth / For Lakes Region Weekly

The sleepy Sebago Lake that spent her spring welcoming a few visitors and treating our diehard local anglers to a fish or two is now in full summer mode. Camps are once again open and families have trucked in their gear and set up shop for Maine’s shortest and arguably best season: summer.

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.

As a guide on the lake, this is my busiest time. Summer visitors looking for something to do invariably stumble across a posting or advertisement or business card to call a guide to line up a trip. There are about six guides who focus on Sebago Lake, and I dare say the demand is greater than the supply. In any case, if I get a call and am booked, I always refer potential clients to one of the other able guides on the lake. While many anglers ask to specifically fish for salmon, we are quick to warn them that, at this time of year, salmon are a bonus; we target lake trout specifically.

Some anglers say, “I just want to catch fish.” As guides, we tell our clients that we can guarantee they will go fishing, but catching fish is never guaranteed! Nevertheless, we generally manage to put clients on the abundant lake trout roaming the bottom of Sebago Lake.

Hundreds of visitors to the region rent camps and homes on the lake for a week, a month or for the whole summer. The car is barely parked and dad and mom begin unpacking it while junior runs down to the dock with his rod and reel and starts casting.

Right now, the bass are just coming off the spawn and are lurking near docks and along the shoreline. Casting a lure or hook tipped with a nightcrawler near shore almost always stirs up a bass this time of year. Next comes junior yelling that he caught a fish and needs dad’s or mom’s help to get it off the hook!

The lake becomes busy with boating activity, but knowing where and when to boat is key. Generally, I start my morning at 6 a.m. and see few, if any, boats on the water. Sure, a few of my fellow guides are out with clients and we occasionally see the two brothers who live for flat, calm mornings to rip it up barefoot water skiing. But aside from that, the lake remains quiet.

Around 10 a.m., the trailer boaters start to fill up the boat launches and you see an increase in traffic on the lake. Our half-day fishing trips are typically over by noon, so we are getting off the water before it gets too busy. Even in the heat of the summer afternoon, you can always find a quiet stretch of shoreline or a protected cove to anchor in and swim or just relax. That’s the beauty of Maine’s second-largest lake: she can really handle the activity and still provide angling and boating recreation for all who crave her deep, clean waters.

As a reminder to all anglers, anyone 16 years and older needs a Maine fishing license to fish inland waters. Enjoy!

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