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haggard

Fishing Great East Lake in Maine

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Enjoyed a day on Great East Lake yesterday. I'd never seen GE before despite living very close to it. The lake is about 1,800 acres spanning Acton, Maine and Wakefield, New Hampshire, nearly a 50/50 split. The water is very clear, even in the shallows at the boat launch where there's less circulation and where other lakes in the area tend to get murky. Pretty much anywhere in the lake you could see 16 feet down.

 

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@jbmaine was kind enough to spend a day introducing me to GE (not to mention doing all the driving, using his boat and giving up three slots in his rod locker for my gear).

 

We went looking specifically for largemouth, and started out by motoring 5 miles from the launch to the farthest point east before wetting any lines. Along the way we stopped at hole where the depth went from (something I can't remember) suddenly to 100 feet, in a very small area. We didn't see any activityon the finder but it was interesting to see just the same. On towards the farthest east point - this area has meandering channels and quite a few islands and ends in a shallow cove. Along the way is lots of largemouth-friend looking shoreline, overhangs and a few laydowns. We threw topwater frogs into the pads for a while without much success, other than plenty bites from small yellow perch. One bass followed a frog to the boat, stared at it for a while and finally bit but wouldn't stay on.

 

We left the cove and started working our way back. @jbmaine found a laydown and suggested I fish it - I tried to the sides, probably a little too far away but I didn't want to get snagged (I haven't fished many laydowns yet) and have to bring the boat in to recover the lure, scaring away the fish. Lure was a Doomsday Baby Turtle, TX rigged with 1/4 oz bullet, which I finally managed to toss just over the trunk and then popped it back over on the retrieve without a snag. A few seconds later a largemouth picked it up and we had our first fish (and only largemouth) of the day. Not a huge one but happy to have it.

 

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We spent the next several hours working our way back through the channels fishing laydowns and floats, staying only long enough in any area to know we spent enough time there without catching fish. And we weren't catching a lot of fish. Or any fish. Not even a bite in all these largemouth looking areas.

Back out on the main water the supposedly 5 mph wind was picking up to a whitecap-inducing something more than 5 mph, and it was almost noon so we started thinking about Plan B. We just didn't know what that was yet.

 

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We crossed the lake into another basin on the west side, found a narrow channel and fished that for a while. Got one chunky sunfish (surprisingly on a 5 inch black/blue worm TX rigged), and one strike on the topwater frog in the pads but missed the fish.

 

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"Anchored" (Spot locked) at that spot to enjoy shade and lunch, and a large snapping turtle comes up to the boat and just wouldn't leave. It was super curious, just kept floating around staring at us. It went on for at least a solid five minutes. Back to fishing, no fish, but not for lack of trying.

 

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As we left the cove the wind died down and we thought we'd give one more try, this time out to a shallow area 900 ft off shore with a rocky bottom and boulders. Shallow markers guided us in and @jbmaine located a steep transition on the finder so we set up in that spot just as the wind really picked up again. Feeling the bottom was difficult if not impossible, lines were bowing way out yet he landed three smallies on a ned rig almost back to back, and me one smallie on a 4-in paddletail with 1/4 bullet.

 

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Strangest thing about the day was we looked in all the right places for largemouth but it ended up turning into more of a smallmouth day. We would have stayed longer and caught more of them if not for that wind. It got up to 18 mph gusts later in the day (by then we were off).

 

Not quite the number and size of fish we were aiming for but my most enjoyable day of fishing so far this season: a full day, exploring new water, a Lund outfitted just right, fishing with a friend, and neither of us got skunked. What struck me most about Great East is how great a variety it has to offer: countless docks, open water, protected water, super deep water, shallow coves, pads, vegetation, rocks, sand, mud, islands, laydowns... it seemed to have everything. Thanks @jbmaine.

 

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You are more than welcome, it was a fun day.

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You guys caught bass in Great East??? 😉  That’s been a tough lake in my experience.   Very beautiful though,  I love the clarity.  

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