Fishing and Recreating in the Belgrade Lakes Region
The Belgrade Lakes chain is comprised of seven very different and distinct waters, each with their own sense of peace and ambiance — East Pond (1823 acres), North Pond (2115 acres), Great Pond (8239), McGrath Pond (486 acres), Salmon Lake (562 acres), Long Pond (2714 acres) and Messalonskee Lake (3510). All of the lakes have public boat launches providing easy access with the exception of McGrath, which is accessible via the Salmon Lake launch. There are also a number of streams and backwaters popular with fishermen including the Belgrade Stream which connects Long Pond to Messalonskee, Mill Stream which connects Great Pond to Long Pond and Ingham Stream & Pond, a backwater offshoot of Long Pond.
The Belgrade’s have a long and fabled angling history going back to the mid-1800s when the Maine Central Railroad added a stop in Belgrade Depot. As the access to the region became easier, more sporting camps were built on the lakes and they quickly became a popular destination for fishermen. Back then, the Belgrade’s were famous for their landlocked salmon and brook trout. Anglers stayed in rustic and remote camps, fished with Maine Guides who were often of Abenaki descent, and enjoyed traditional shore lunches of trout, fried potatoes, and beans. To this day the Belgrade’s are still a popular destination for trout & salmon anglers. Most of the lakes hold good populations of brown trout and brook trout along with rainbow trout in Long Pond and Splake in Messalonskee (a splake is a cross between a lake trout and brook trout). Over the past 20+ years, smallmouth & largemouth bass have dominated the fishing scene. The fish thrive in the clear, clean water and gorge themselves on a healthy population of crawfish and baitfish. The Belgrade’s are so popular with bass fishermen that Major League Fishing has held two professional tournaments here in the last 4 years.
The Belgrade’s have seen much change over the last 150-years, but much has stayed the same, too. Travelers and locals alike still enjoy the tranquil quality of life and often fall asleep to the lonely call of the loon. Sporting camps and summer camps continue to dot the shorelines where laughter and the sounds of splashing kids fill the air. And of course, the Belgrade’s still draw anglers from all over the world and offer a chance to catch the fish of a lifetime.