Three years ago I had some of the best salmon angling in recent years during the month of August. The fish were up top chasing alewives and were easy to find. Simply cruise the lake until you spotted a flock of seagulls or mergansers bombing the surface and troll through the spot. Instant salmon! For the next two years the phenomena did not take place.

Young angler Waleed Rabbat of Cumberland shows off his first Sebago salmon, caught while fishing with the author.  Tom Roth / For Lakes Region Weekly

This year the salmon seem to be higher in the water and active in the summer months. Most of us are accustomed to the salmon hitting the depths as the water warms, selecting the thermocline in about 45 to 50 degrees. The salmon I’ve been catching must not have received the memo and fellow guide buddies are reporting similar catches.

My strategy over the past few weeks has been to hit the water as early as my clients can get up; 6 a.m. is good, 5 a.m. is better. Preferred days have a slight breeze, creating what we call a “salmon chop” on the surface. I love the traditional trolling using a fly rod and that tactic has worked well for me. I run a special sinking trolling line that really gets the offering down. I’ve had my best luck with Northeast Troller spoons in the “orange crush” pattern. Another salmon favorite is the “pink lady.” See Leah at Sebago Outfitters in Raymond; she made up a big order of Northeast Troller lures and I helped her select the best patterns.

I find trolling in 30 to 50 feet of water along the shore most productive. Anglers have been congregating at the mouth of the Songo River, so there must be some action there. I’ve heard other anglers mention Frye’s Gut as a top salmon spot. I’ve got my favorite spots, but I’m keeping those secret for now!

Fellow Guide Dan Hillier of Songo River Guide Service has been hitting salmon on his downriggers set shallow and lead core line on planer boards. Another Guide buddy, Glen Gisel of Sebago Sport Fishing and Guide Service, had a strange salmon tale to relay. He was dragging a flatfish on the bottom and hooked up to a salmon. Not a great thing if salmon have taken to prowling the depths for their food.

While the salmon fishing has been good, the lake trout have been shy as of late. I’m seeing a few catches here and there and some big fish, but the reports are high-number catches are nil. Anglers are also reporting catching lakers in shallower water. It seems just when we get them dialed in, they go and change their tactics. Frustrating, but that’s what draws me to fishing. It wouldn’t be fun if we caught all the time. Well, maybe it would.

I’m going to go old school on my next outing and drag a big cowbell spoon with a nightcrawler attached behind it. I was at my neighbor Craig Lowell’s camp the other day and saw one hanging in his shed. Those used to really work for big lakers. No reason they shouldn’t still. I’ve got a good supply of the old spoons and I always have nightcrawlers in the fridge.

As summer dog days continue, I hope we still manage our good salmon catches and the laker fishing heats up. Tight lines to all!

Tom Roth can be reached at [email protected]

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