101 Interesting things about Sebago Lake, Maine

Principal fishery: Landlocked salmon, lake trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, whitefish, cusk and smelt.

Suggested Management

Sebago Lake, the original home of the landlocked. salmon, is probably the most suitable lake in the country for the management of this species. The water quality is excellent with good oxygen down to 300 feet and suitable temperatures below 25 feet with a good food supply. Transparencies are well above average for lakes in Maine. The large volume of cold water affords ample opportunity to provide high quality angling for salmon, lake trout, cusk, and whitefish. DDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbons have attenuated to very low levels in the Sebago Lake system. As a result, virtually all species of fish previously affected by these toxic compounds have recovered. The quality of salmon and other species now taken front Sebago is equal to or better than any taken prior to the DDT-era. As a result of this recovery, Sebago is now attracting upwards of 80,000 anglers annually in pursuit of a prize salmon or lake trout. Because of this heavy utilization, fishery management has become highly sophisticated and designed to prevent overexploitation and increased survival to enhance natural spawning. The various management techniques employed have resulted in greater numbers of wild salmon contributing to the catch. With the two main tributaries now available to spawning salmon, greater numbers of young salmon are being observed each year.

This will eventually reduce the dependency on hatchery-reared fish in the Sebago fishery. Our ultimate goal is to sustain the landlocked salmon populations in Sebago with greater than 75% wild fish. In order to accomplish this goal, salmon harvest will have to be kept within the safe yield limits for the lake.

Lake trout introduced in 1972 have become well established, providing fish up to 25 pounds in weight. Trawling surveys show that lake trout are beginning to reproduce successfully in Sebago, and consequently stocking has been discontinued.

Cusk, whitefish, and smelt are all very popular gamefish with winter anglers. Smallmouth bass and largemouth bass are also becoming very popular among serious bass anglers. Results tabulated from annual bass tournaments have shown that Sebago’s bass are some of the finest to be found anywhere.

Regulations have played an important role in maintaining Sebago’s landlocks. Currently, the lake is closed to salmon fishing during the winter season. The potential impact from winter angling could be devastating to Sebago’s salmon population and countermand our management efforts to maintain a high quality, well-balanced population. Sebago is very accessible and too vulnerable to over-fishing to accommodate winter angling for salmon. Restrictions on line limits, in summer and winter are designed to reduce mortality of sub-legal fish and to prevent overexploitation of legal fish. As with any regulation, its effectiveness is only as good as its compliance. It is hoped that each angler fishing Sebago will assume his responsibility to comply with the law and to see to it that his colleagues do likewise. Everyone must do his part to assure management success and to prevent abuse of this magnificent resource.

Numerous hard-surfaced (fee and no-fee) boat launching facilities are available at various marinas, camping areas, and at the State Park.


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