3 Maine waters make Bassmaster magazine’s 100 Best Bass Lakes list

We’ve got plenty of great fishing here in Maine, whether you want to target cold-water species like landlocked salmon and brook trout or warm-water species like bass.

And while some might think of sprawling lakes in the southern U.S. when they talk about world-class bass fishing, the folks at Bassmaster magazine aren’t among that crowd.

Bassmaster released its “100 Best Bass Lakes of 2014″ list last week, and three Maine waters are included.

China Lake in Vassalboro was the top Maine entry, ranking as the 23rd best bass lake in the U.S.

Cobbosseecontee Lake, a 5,543-acre water in in Winthrop, Manchester, Monmouth, West Gardiner and Litchfield, dropped from 30th a year ago to 52nd this year.

And the state’s largest lake, Moosehead, earned its first mention on the Bassmaster list as it ranked 72nd.

In a press release, Bassmaster officials said its goal was to not only recognize traditionally good bass waters, but to also spotlight lakes that are fishing well right now.

The nation’s top lake, according to the list, is not a lake at all. Instead, it’s the Sturgeon Bay section of massive Lake Michigan.

“Our goal is to make the annual rankings as objective as possible by using the most current data available from state wildlife agencies, current tournament data and expansive polling of the B.A.S.S. membership,” Bassmaster editor James Hall said in a press release.

Armed with the Bassmaster list, I asked pro bass angler Jonathan Carter, who grew up in Orrington, to share a few thoughts about the Maine waters that made the list.

Here’s what Carter had to say:

Jonathan Carter knows plenty about bass fishing. And he's spent considerable time on two of the three Maine lakes listed in the latest Bassmaster list of the top 100 bass waters in the nation. (Photo courtesy of Jonathan Carter)

Jonathan Carter knows plenty about bass fishing. And he’s spent considerable time on two of the three Maine lakes listed in the latest Bassmaster list of the top 100 bass waters in the nation. (Photo courtesy of Jonathan Carter)

No. 72, Moosehead Lake: “I’ve only fished Moosehead once, but it was well worth the drive. Unfortunately, we aren’t allowed to have tournaments there. It would be big enough for some very large events and the fishing is great! There are numerous 4-pound smallmouth in the shallows and reports of multiple 5- and 6-pound fish being caught all the time. Lily Bay is the most popular area and can offer world-class fishing, especially in June. The clear water and mountainous background make for some great scenery as well.”

No. 52, Cobbosseecontee Lake: “This is Maine’s most well-known bass-fishing lake. Lots of major regional events have been held here, and for good reason. The lake is full of big largemouth and the fishing is great from ice-out all the way until it freezes back up. There is a large population of 3- to 5-pound bass on its shallow grass flats and 5- to 7-pound fish are not uncommon in the deeper regions of the lake. Each year the Maine Special Olympics holds a benefit tournament drawing 80 to 100 teams and generating lots of donations for the cause. Cobbosseecontee’s great fishing and scenic shoreline make it a favorite among fishermen.”

No. 23, China Lake: “China Lake is by far my favorite. This lake has been a well-kept secret among Maine fishermen. Now that the cat is out of the bag, I guess it’s safe to say it’s comparable to any of the best fisheries in the country. It has great numbers of giant fish and usually it takes over a 4-pound average to win any tournament there. It offers any type of cover one wishes to fish and the chance to catch multiple trophy fish. [Recently] a tournament was won with a nearly 5-pound average. When the fishing is at its peak, there is no better lake!”


John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.