December 17, 2013
Boating Sebago Lake, Maine
Big, deep, readily accessible and sparkling clean, Sebago Lake is a Maine getaway that offers a little something for everyone. Whether you want to be in the middle of the action or off in some quiet corner of the lake fishing, Sebago can provide. Even sailboat owners laud its winds, which can zoom out of the White Mountains to the northwest or gently waft in off the ocean to the southwest.
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“There’s so much for people to do here, and the water’s so clean,” says Mark Morina, head technician at Port Harbor Marine’s Jordan Bay facility in Raymond. “The beach near here is also pretty popular.”
Port Harbor is one of the largest marinas on the lake, and offers boat rentals, fuel, service and a unique club that allows members to use a variety of boat models at both its Sebago and South Portland facilities. It also offers prime access to a popular and easy-to-reach part of the lake.
Jordan Bay is the portion of Sebago that’s most active, with or without the white, sandy expanse of Tassel Top Beach, just a little south of the Port Harbor facility. Most of the concentration of waterfront homes, marinas, an amusement park and other facilities are in this area due to its close proximity to Portland and its suburbs, just 20 miles away. Many of the people enjoying Jordan Bay tend to be locals, although lots of boat owners who live farther south and west have also discovered the joys of Sebago.
As the second largest lake in Maine (just behind Moosehead), Sebago offers a total of 45 square miles of water to consider, although the last two miles of the lake’s southernmost bay is off limits. That’s because Sebago is the source of drinking water for fully 15 percent of Maine’s population, including the City of Portland and its suburbs. The water is so clean that it’s piped, pretty much untreated, straight from the lake to local taps miles away.
Party at the Spit:
One of the best places to enjoy that clean water is on the north shore, where Sebago Lake State Park is located. From the water, it’s easy to find the Songo River, which links the park’s launch ramp to the wildly popular beach known as The Spit. On some summer days, the bows of powerboats resting on the beach are so numerous as to obscure the edges of this riparian delight.
The Spit is a watery playground with few equals. On the inland side are warm, shallow waters that are perfect for acquainting small children with what covers 75 percent of the Earth’s surface. On the lake side, the water is cooler and usually only chopped up by boat wakes‚ although a brisk southwesterly can render stern-anchoring untenable.
If the lake is uncomfortably choppy, another alternative is close at hand at Point Sebago Resort, a 775-acre complex of golf courses, beaches and various terrestrial amusements aimed specifically at boat owners and their children. It’s located a few miles southeast of The Spit, protected by several islands that create an inside passage to the resort’s marina and other facilities.
Frye Island Fun:
And speaking of islands, the lake’s best-known isle is worth a stop both for its waterside dining options and as a place to stretch your legs for a bit. At Frye Island, the hangout for just about everyone is the Frye’s Leap Café, next to the ferry terminal on the northeast side of the island. It’s funky-looking, but the food is good and they’re very nice about allowing boaters to tie up for a while.
Once fortified, you may want to return to the lake’s deep waters and try your hand at fishing for landlocked salmon, several varieties of trout, bass and northern pike. Except for the over-abundant pike, most anglers stick with the catch-and-release approach—again, to help keep Sebago predictably fun for the next visit.