15 Best Bass Fishing Lakes and Rivers in Maine

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Outdoors lovers might typically associate Maine with lobsters, trout and stripers, but freshwater bass fishing can be outstanding, too.

The lakes, rivers and ponds we’re about to unveil will give you a chance at some of New England’s biggest bass in one of its most beautiful states.

When it comes to bass fishing in the Northeast, factor in the stunning and secluded settings and surreal wildlife sightings, and Maine is tough to top.

From backwoods ponds that hide bigger largemouth than you’d ever guess to boulder-strewn lakes and rivers stuffed with smallmouth, Maine has some amazing destinations for all types of bass anglers.

Maine’s Top Bass Fishing Spots

A smiling angler shows off a selfie while holding the lip of a smallmouth bass he caught fishing in Maine.
Photo courtesy of Stan Williams

Here are our top 15 recommendations for great bass fishing in Maine.

Sebago Lake

Located just far enough across Maine’s southern border so that you feel like you’re genuinely in Maine, Sebago Lake has some of the best largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing you’ll find anywhere in the state.

At 12 miles long with more than 105 miles of shoreline, Sebago is second only in size to Moosehead Lake among Maine’s many lakes.

When you consider that some spots drop as deep as 100 feet, you begin to understand how it can be such a versatile fishery: Both largemouth and smallmouth bass can hold deep during the legendary Maine winters. Then when Sebago thaws and these fish get active, they have plenty of shoreline structure.

In the spring, both species will be making moves into shallower parts of the lake, where anglers can find them concentrated.

The lake’s northeast corner has several small islands that provide ideal cover for these fish. Sheep, Inner Green and Ring Island are the kind of bass magnets that anglers will want to ply first.

The steep drops, like the one on the easternmost shore of Sheep Island, are particularly promising for holding smallmouth. These predators can push baitfish onto the shallow flats near the island and then retreat to the depths to await the next school that comes along.

During spring and fall shoulder seasons, concentrate on the steepest drops adjacent to the lake’s many islands. Try crayfish or baby bass imitations for the most success.

Access: The lake has four separate launches. Sebago Lake State Park is within an hour of Portland. Its ramp is a good starting point for fishing the northern islands.

Penobscot River

Where the Penobscot River’s west and east branches meet in Medway, downstream 60-plus miles to where it flows through Bangor, you have one of the state’s incredible smallmouth bass fisheries.

You can find cooperative smallmouth on the Penobscot as early as ice-out, but the fish don’t get terribly active until late May and June when they’ll begin moving onto their beds in the pre-spawn period.

There are some areas where fishing is prohibited in this river, so be sure to check the specific regulations.

River smallmouth will often look for breaks in the current where they can hold and ambush baitfish or crayfish. Look for undercut banks, large boulders, or deeper pools, and focus your energy there.

In the stretch between Howland to Old Town, the pace of the current subsides in the river and you’ve got more in the way of islands to provide structure and current breaks.

Canoes or kayaks are ideal because the river is relatively wide in most stretches, but it is possible to wade and fish as well.

Access: Route 2 has 13 official public access sites along the river’s course. One of the better launches is on the highway in Lincoln.

Kennebec River

The Kennebec is another of Maine’s legendary smallmouth waters, and anglers have a ton of this river to work with.

The Kennebec originates from Indian Pond in northern Maine and flows more than 150 miles to where it dumps into the ocean near Popham Beach in Phippsburg.

The stretch that runs through Waterville and Augusta is prime smallmouth water and your best bet, especially from June through October.

Smallmouths in the 5-pound range aren’t unheard of on the Kennebec, and when the water starts warming up in late May through June, double-digit catching days are a good possibility.

Access: Riverside Drive, or Route 201, parallels the river in the 20-mile stretch between Waterville and Augusta. Sydney,

Waterville, Fairfield, Shawmut and Hinckley all have boat ramps where you can launch or pull out. The Sidney launch has parking for eight vehicles.

Androscoggin River

We’ve mentioned the upper Androscoggin River as great trout water in both our Maine and New Hampshire trout fishing articles, and it is. But as it flows farther down into Maine and becomes warmer and slower, it turns into an incredible smallmouth fishery, too.

The stretches that run from about Mexico and Canton dowstream through Lewiston and Durham all can be outstanding smallmouth water from late May right into September.

The current in the Androscoggin can get moving, especially during the spring, and these smallmouths will fight as hard as any freshwater fish in Maine once they get into that swift current.

Stickbaits with bright colors, like the clown pattern, and topwater lures like a Whopper Plopper (especially at first and last light) can work well for Androscoggin smallmouth bass.

Access: The Androscoggin Riverlands State Park near Turner offers a public launch off Center Bridge Road about 20 minutes north of Lewiston.  

Cobbosseecontee Lake

Centrally located Cobbosseecontee Lake has been called the best bass lake in all of Maine, and one of the best in the Northeast, period.

The 5,500-acre Cobbosseecontee has both largemouth and smallmouth bass, as well as some impressive pike that might take an aggressive liking to your bass lure.

With depths ranging to 100 feet, anglers can see a lot of seasonal shifts on the lake as bass position themselves at various depths according to the water temperature.

Horseshoe, Sheep and Maple Ridge islands are all larger land masses that provide drop-offs and substantial structure for both bass species.

The shallow surrounding areas near the islands can often be prime spawning territory for bass.

The center of the lake, just west of Richards and Pinkham islands, offers the deepest holes, which plunge more than 100 feet. The steep drop-offs next to these islands can hold big bass, especially in the shoulder seasons.

The northernmost part of the lake is closer to Manchester. At this end, off what is known as Packard Ledge, depths push to about 70 feet, giving anglers more steep drop-offs where they can target bass with jigs or deep-diving crankbaits.

Access: Route 135 runs on the western side of the lake and connects to Launch Drive. Not surprisingly, that road leads to a public boat launch on the southwestern portion of the lake.

China Lake

Maine has been doing a lot of work to restore some of its prized lakes to their former ecological health, and China Lake is a great example.

In 2021, the state finished removing six dams that blocked the passage of alewives, or river herring, from returning to the lake to spawn.

What does that have to do with the bass fishing? Well, alewives are a giant source of protein for smallmouth bass and largemouth bass, both of which are present in good numbers in China Lake, which is near August and Waterville.

Consider that China Lake was already on bass anglers’ radar before the dams came down. Now a few years later, with supersized forage, the already-big bass that were in China Lake are going to have something even larger to snack on.

It also means that anglers should have a good idea about what to throw to China Lake’s bass.

Fishing the lake near the Outlet Stream in Vassalboro, especially from April through June, can be a good bet if you’re trying to imitate the alewives that the bass in the lake will become increasingly dependent on as runs resume and strengthen.

Access: Causeway Road in China Village has a paved public boat launch.

Kezar Lake

One of the most intriguing elements about Kezar Lake is the sheer variety you’ll encounter on this 2,500-acre body of water near Lovell and the New Hampshire border.

You’ve got everything from native brook trout to lake trout to smallmouth bass on this southern Maine lake.

The northern arm of the lake has by far the deepest drops, with near-shore holes reaching down to 70-plus feet, and points near the lake’s center that get as deep as 142 feet.

Birch and Sheep islands in the northernmost part of the lake provide steep drops and can hold fish in the late spring.

The southern half of the lake, by contrast, is almost all shallow flats, rarely deeper than 20 feet.

The lake supports populations of both largemouth and smallmouth bass and has the diverse habitat to appeal to either species.

You’ve got structure in the way of boulders and large exposed rocks right along a lot of the forested shoreline, and these can be great areas to start finding smallmouth and largemouth in the late spring.

Target docks with wacky-rigged Senkos for largemouth pushing 6 pounds or better.

Access: N. Novell Landing Road offers a ramp on the lake’s north end, a short run from the two biggest islands on Kezar.

Belgrade Lakes

This series of seven different lakes and ponds west of Waterville are collectively known as the Belgrade Lakes.

Great Pond, Long Pond and Belgrade Stream will all give you shots at heavy smallmouth bass. They’re all within a short drive or hike from one another.

Great Pond features an enormous island, at mid-pond, that is a promising spot for early-season smallmouth.

Holes up to 90 feet deep are off the northwest side of Hoyt Island. Steep drops are a good place to target holding bass.

Access: Route 27 has a boat ramp that will get you on the west side of Great Pond near Hoyt Island, a promising spot for early-season smallmouth.

Moose Pond

Robert Kamp caught an 11-pound, 10-ounce largemouth bass on Moose Pond in 1968, and that state record has stood ever since.

This southwestern Maine lake is separated into three different sections, which, with varying depths, attract different species.

Moose Pond’s middle basin is the deepest and pushes 60 feet at its center, and it often holds lake trout and landlocked salmon.

The upper and lower basins are shallower and have more largemouth-friendly habitat.

Wood Island on the lower basin has its steepest drop on its south shore, and can be a good place to start with topwater at first light, switching to jigs and crankbaits as bass push deeper during the day.

While the middle portion of the lake gets as deep as 70 feet, the upper and lower portions never get deeper than 40.

White and yellow perch, smelt, shiners and chubs are all present in the lakes and ensure that the bass won’t go hungry. Imitations of any of these smaller species can be effective lure choices.

Access: Sabatis Island sits where Route 302 crosses Moose Pond, and offers kayak anglers a put-in. Denmark Road on the pond’s southern point offers a ramp for trailered boats to launch.

Crescent Lake

At 716 acres, Crescent Lake in the town of Raymond, northeast of Sebago Lake, is another good option for incredible bass fishing.

With depths pushing 50-plus feet, Crescent has the potential for a myriad of different fishing approaches.

Anglers can drop-shot the depths for bass that, in the summer months, may suspend deeper than most crankbaits can run.

If you’re fishing shallow, try bumping a shallow-diving crankbait over rocks on occasion, just to to see how well a smallmouth will react.

Crescent Lake has both largemouth and smallmouth bass. Largemouth will likely take occupy any area of the lake with weed cover, especially mid-summer. Smallmouth bass more often adhere to hard-bottom structures like rocks.

Access: Raymond has a boat ramp on Webb Mills Road (Rte. 85) at the south end of the lake.

Big Lake

At more than 10,000 acres and littered with islands of various sizes, Big Lake is a veritable smallmouth paradise in the Big Lake Township.

The lake has plenty of rocky shoal areas that provide ideal spawning habitat for smallmouth and tons of crayfish, which have always been a staple in a smallmouth’s diet.

If you really want to upset a smallmouth, throw a crawfish imitation anywhere around the bed, and hold on.

Big Lake has long been considered one of the region’s premier bass fisheries.

Officials set slot limits on bass to keep the big ones getting bigger. At last check, anglers must release all smallmouths between 12 and 20 inches, ensuring the biggest fish keep getting bigger.

Access: Greenlaw Chopping Landing in North Washington (west shore) is the most popular boat launch.

Moosehead Lake

At 74,890 acres, Mooshead is officially the largest lake in Maine. From lake trout to brook trout, it has a wide variety of New England’s favorite game fish (including landlocked salmon).

Smallmouth bass are certainly on that list, and Mooshead can regularly produce fish in the 3- to 5-pound range.

An area referred to as Greenville Junction is a popular spot for shore-based anglers. If you’re fishing in a boat, canoe or kayak, the Greenville Junction Boat Launch is a short run from Lily Bay State Park, one of the lake’s better-known smallmouth areas.

If you’re interested in reserving a campground in the park itself, visit www.campwithme.com.

You’ll find Moosehead Lake among the spots we highly recommend for trout fishing in Maine.

Access: There are plenty of ways to get out on Moosehead Lake. One of the first spots you may come to is the aforementioned Greenville Junction Boat Launch off Rte. 15 in Greenville Junction.

More: Complete Guide to Moosehead Lake Fishing

Meddybemps Lake

It’s just fun to say, isn’t it? The fish at Meddybemps might not be the largest in the state, but the place is loaded with smallmouth bass. Bent rods on a regular basis can make this fishery extra fun. It’s a great choice for a family outing.

Meddybemps, not too far from the previously covered Big Lake, is another island-rich lake that provides a lot of structure to target smallmouth. Masters and Pierce Islands are some of the lake’s largest, and they are in the southwestern corner of Meddybemps.

The drop-off between these islands and the eastern shoreline is one of the steepest gradients in the lake. You’ll very likely find bass holding here in the spring and early summer.

If you like keeping fish for the table, Meddybemps could be your next favorite lake: They’ve imposed slot limits in the past to encourage anglers to harvest smaller fish to give the larger ones opportunity to grow.

At 6,700-plus acres, Meddybemps offers anglers a sizeable challenge, but there’s good news. The lake is never deeper than 50 feet, so even if the smallmouth are skittish or shy, they can’t retreat to a rock pile 200 feet beneath the waves.

Alewives running from the Dennys River into the lake can provide substantial smallmouth forage, and the river’s outlet can be a great place to start fishing. 

Access: Off Rte. 214 there is a carry-in boat launch for canoers and kayakers. 

Thompson Lake

At more than 4,000 acres and reaching depths of more than 120 feet, Thompson Lake is capable of supporting a host of species from landlocked salmon to smallmouth bass.

This lake actually produced an 8-pound smallmouth in 1970 (caught by George Dyer) that has held the state record now for more than 50 years.

The long, thin lake — it stretches more than 12 miles but only occasionally more than a mile wide — offers decent largemouth bass fishing at either end, where there are shallower coves and bays and more structure.

Smallmouth bass, by contrast, tend to hang near the center where drop-offs are steeper, and depths can plunge over 100 feet.

This spring-fed lake west of Mechanic Falls and Lewiston was at one point rated as one of the top-10 cleanest lakes in Maine.

If you are a canoe or kayak angler who has to hold on when bass boats go ripping by, Thompson Lake has something special for you.

On its southern end there’s a small enclosed area known as “The Heath” that, while connected to the main lake, is closed to motorboats. The Heath has some incredible bass fishing because these fish don’t see as much pressure.

Wildlife enthusiasts can note that more than 20 pairs of nesting loons have been documented on the lake, and sightings of moose and bald eagles are not uncommon.

Access: Near the intersection of Rte. 121 and Rocky Point Road in Oxford, there’s a public boat launch.

Wesserunsett Lake

The alluring part about this tough-to-pronounce lake near Madison is that it supports healthy populations of both largemouth and smallmouth bass.

Although it covers more than 1,400 acres, it’s never more than 30 feet deep, so finding structure is key in locating the fish as they move throughout the seasons. A mix of rocky shorelines, plenty of docks, stream outlets, and coves can and do all hold schools of fish throughout the year.

The southwestern shoreline of the lake has the steepest drop, with depths pushing 20-plus feet close to the shoreline. These drops will likely hold fish, especially in the corner seasons.

Access: East Madison Road in Lakewood has a public launch right where Mill Stream flows into the lake. 


What Maine might lack in the duration of its open-water season for bass, it makes up for in variety.

On a number of these bodies of water, you’ll be fishing in lakes or ponds where you might easily switch tactics to target brook or lake trout. You’ll be fishing places where you might look up and see a roaming moose or watch a bald eagle fly over. And to top it off, you’ll be on some of New England’s cleanest, most remote and underutilized bass fisheries.

Maine might be best known for its trout, salmon, and striper fishing, but bass anglers who overlook the state’s opportunities are missing something truly incredible.

Catch More Bass

Looking to brush up on your skills? Our easy bass fishing guide covers the basics of techniques, lures and other tips.