Key Species: Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, brown trout, brook trout, splake, white perch, pickerel, redbreasted sunfish
Best Way to Fish: boat, canoe
Best Time to Fish: May through September, January and February MAG: 12, C-4
Description: This is a 5,543-acre lake with a maximum depth of 100 feet, and extensive shallow, weedy areas. Cobbosseecontee Stream offers an 8-mile canoe trip, beginning at the outlet. You will need a boat of some sort to fish this lake. Special regulations include a slot limit on bass. Cobbosseecontee Lake receives annual stockings of brown trout. In 1995, 3,900 12- to 14-inch browns were stocked here. Motels are plentiful in the Augusta area, including along U.S. Route 202 between Manchester and Augusta. There is a campground in Winthrop.
Fishing index: This site is noted for trophy largemouth bass. Both largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing remain good through the open water season. Bass anglers use large plastic worms in a variety of colors; you never know which will work best. Black and purple are tried and true shades, but it pays to carry a good assortment of worms in every color. Topwater action is good early and late in the day, and any surface lure will work. In summer, bass will congregate around bottom structure and vertical jigging with lead-head jigs will pay off. A fish locator will help you locate the structure and its resident bass.
In winter, bass are taken on large gold shiners fished with tip-ups. Begin fishing in relatively shallow water, from 10 to 20 feet, but do not neglect the deeper areas of 50 feet or so because bass often spend at least part of their day in deep water. You will also take bass by jigging with medium-sized Swedish Pimples, lead-head jigs, and Rapala jigs. As when using bait, begin in fairly shallow water and continue fishing deeper until you find where the fish are holding.
For bass as well as brown trout, try off Horseshoe Island, in the center of the lake, and Hersey Island, at the north end of the lake by the boat ramp.
Brown trout can be taken in May and June by trolling with streamer flies. Gray ghost, black ghost, queen bee, Jerrys smelt, and supervisors will all take fish. Try trolling with a floating line and just enough weight to keep the fly from rolling on the surface. If you do not get action in an hour or so, either add a longer leader and more weight, or go to a fast-sinking fly line. You will also take browns by trolling with Flash Kings and Mooselook Wobblers.
Look for pickerel in the weed beds along U.S. Route 202 in Winthrop. Medium-sized minnows, Dardevles, red plastic worms, and yellow bucktails will all take pickerel here. Pay particular attention to the edges of the weed beds, as well as the area within 10 to 15 feet in front of the weeds.
This is also an excellent lake for white perch. Local anglers take them during the open water season and through the ice. White perch of one pound or more are common. Most wintertime anglers bait the hooks on their tip-ups with small silver or gold shiners or banded killifish when fishing for white perch. You can also take white perch by jigging with a small Swedish Pimple. You may need to add a bit of cut-up minnow to the treble hook of your jig if perch are reluctant to bite. Open water anglers use worms and night crawlers for perch, drifting with the wind and letting the bait flutter just above the bottom. A few anglers have found that larger perch are more frequently caught on small minnows. Plastic-bodied lead-head jigs are effective for open water white perch. Fish these by drifting, allowing the jig to play the bottom. Be sure to work your rod tip up and down to impart action.
In July and August, early morning and evening are the best times to fish, since this popular lake sees considerable boat traffic during the day.
Directions: Heading north on Interstate 95, take Exit 30 in Augusta. From there, take U.S. 202 for 4.5 miles to Winthrop. A state-maintained gravel boat ramp is on the left, just off U.S. 202. Another ramp is located off Maine Route 135 in East Monmouth.
For more information: Contact Harpos Emporium or Elmas Tackle Shop.