Category Archives: News

News from around the lake.

September 2021 Water Level Chart Archived

9 Clary-Lake-Water-Level-September-2021I have archived the September 2021 Water Level Chart (at left). September was on track for being an average, ho-hum kind of month with more or less normal rainfall (for a change!) and a stable unchanging water level until the 27th when we received a whopping 4.5 inches of rain in one storm. This sounds like a lot, and it was a lot, but it only brought the lake up 0.89 feet, from -1.02 feet below the HWM to just -0.13 feet below it. While this sounds like a lot, it’s actually a runoff multiplier of only 2.4X and considering how much rain we’ve had this summer, I expected the lake to have come up a lot more. By all rights we should have had water pouring over the full width of the dam but in fact we just had a wee bit dribbling over the top in a few spots. I won’t say I was disappointed, but I was surprised! The old rule of thumb is that an inch of rain should bring the lake up 4″ (a 4X multiplier) and if that rule had held true, the lake would have risen 18 inches instead of only 10 inches. For that matter, we’ve actually seen runoff multipliers considerably larger than 4X in the past. Continue reading

17 August 2021: Milfoil Returns to Cobbossee Lake

Variable Leaf Milfoil, Pleasant Pond, Litchfield Maine.

Eurasian Water-Milfoil was discovered in  Cobbossee Lake in 2018 (see our post dated August 8, 2018: “Invasive Milfoil Confirmed in Cobbosseecontee Lake“). The following year Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection treated several areas of the lake with an herbicide in an attempt to kill off the invasive plant. They were optimistic that the treatment would be successful because the infestation was limited (so they thought) to roughly an acre between the north shore and Island Park. Sadly, the following year Milfoil was again discovered in several areas adjacent to the original infestation, which is where this Central Maine Papers newspaper article picks up. Please read it! It paints an ugly but accurate picture of  the situation they’re facing trying to eradicate this unwanted aquatic plant: Continue reading

15 June 2021: Trapping Browntail Moths

How to tell male from female Browntail Moths.

While killing Browntail moth caterpillars is easy and may make you feel better, it’s problematic for a variety of reasons. First, it gives you the sense that you’re doing something to rid yourself of the Browntail problem when in reality you’re probably not making a dent at all in the caterpillar population. If you just spray them with soapy water, sure it kills them, but then you’ve got dead caterpillars with their toxic hairs laying around your yard. I did that last month, fanatically wandering around my deck and yard with a spray bottle of soapy water in each hand, shooting caterpillars like some madcap wild west gunslinger. Of course, I got the rash on my arms and neck. Then I put aside the spray bottles and took up a tin can with some soapy water in it and kitchen tongs and went around picking the caterpillars up and dropping them in the can. More rash. Now that the caterpillars have begun pupating, I’ve been searching for the nests, cutting down those that I can reach with my tree pruner, and soaking them in a bucket of soapy water. Is this helping? I sure hope so, but I have my doubts. Continue reading

10 June 2021: Birds In The Marsh

An American Bittern, one of the birds heard during the birding trip into the marsh. (stock photo).

Last Saturday, Steven Viti, Nancy DeWall, and myself, Malcolm Burson, took a two-hour paddle up into the Clary Lake marsh to see what birds were around. We started over on the floating bog where the blueberries grow where we got good looks at Eastern Kingbirds, Yellow Warblers, and Purple Finch, all of which are likely breeding there, and we heard a Veery singing. As we worked our way into the marsh, we heard a call with which I wasn’t familiar; later detective work led to the conclusion that this was a Marsh Wren, a species I hadn’t observed before at Clary. A zig-zag to the other side, beyond the island, produced a Swamp Sparrow, a regular breeding species here. We watched a Great Blue Heron fly across the north end, and once we headed that way, heard an American Bittern, possibly a return to breeding territory that I heard every evening last year closer to the main body of the lake. Continue reading

25 May 2021: Rough Water on Clary Lake

Early Sunday afternoon on May 23, 2021, a strong cold front blew in from the north. Behind it were high winds that lasted all afternoon and into the night. We took it on the nose on our location on the south shore of Clary Lake. For a while I thought my boat would ride it out OK but it was taking a beating and I decided to move it over into a protected cove… It made for a pretty hairy ride, I wish I’d had the foresight to do it sooner!

Here are a couple of webcam pictures from that afternoon. Continue reading

23 May 2021: Relax, It’s Tree Pollen!


Tree Pollen on Clary Lake

While this looks similar to the end stage of an intense algae bloom, it’s really only plant pollen. One telling difference is the color: this stuff is decidedly yellow whereas dead cyanobacteria is bright green.  I suspect it’s pollen from White Pine though I’m not sure. In any case, it’s a natural phenomena and there is no reason to believe pollen has an impact on water quality though for a short time it can impact lake water transparency. While it looks ugly, it is of a short duration and will eventually disperse into the water column and sink. Another difference between pollen and algal blooms is the timing: pollen events happen in the Spring whereas algae blooms are typically a mid-to-late Summer and early Fall phenomena. Here are a couple of pictures of cyanobacteria on my shoreline taken in October of 2013. The color is decidedly different:

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The more you know!

The Newsletter is In The Mail!

No really! It’s in the mail which means the Clary Lake Association’s 2021/2022 Membership drive has begun! Traditionally, it begins with the mailing of the Summer newsletter which went in the mail a few days ago. Most of you should have it in your mailbox by now, or will have shortly (I’ll post a digital copy here in a few days). Unofficially our Membership drive begins on April 1st which is the date we start accepting dues for the upcoming year. In reality, it’s never too soon or too late to join or renew your membership in the Association. We’re always ready for new members! Dues are $25 per person per year and Membership is open to all. I’ve added a page to the site to keep track of who has signed up for the Upcoming Year. At the time of this writing there are already six people who have renewed their memberships. You’ll find the list under the Current Membership List, under the Membership Menu. Continue reading

Free Fishing Mother’s Day Weekend

Cast a line and celebrate the special moms in your life

Mother's Day free fishing license weekend May 8-9

During Mother’s Day Free Fishing License Weekend, May 8-9, 2021, everyone is encouraged to cast a line and enjoy Maine’s many waterways with the special moms in their life.

On these days, any person (except those whose license has been suspended or revoked) who registers may fish without a license. All other laws and regulations apply on these days. 

This free fishing license weekend is in addition to the semi-annual free fishing weekends. June 5-6, 2021 is the next scheduled free fishing weekend.

We hope you have a memorable weekend fishing with the special individuals in your life. Remember to be safe: tell someone where you are going, and when you plan to return, and ALWAYS wear a life jacket when on the water – the water is extremely cold this time of year.


25 April 2021: Diminishing ice cover on Maine’s lakes could impact fish populations

Lake Auburn. This picture links to the article.

Here on Clary Lake we haven’t been keeping ice in and ice out records for long enough to see a shortening of the iced-in period. Our records go back to 2001 and in that time, there’s no obvious trend but over significantly longer periods (many decades and longer) it’s clear that Maine winters are gradually becoming milder and anyone who’s lived around here for more than a few years can testify to that fact. This article in the Kennebec Journal discusses some of the impacts of shorter iced-in periods on Maine Lakes.