Brook trout and landlocked Atlantic salmon fishing on Pierce Pond, Pierce Pond Township, Maine (May 25, 2016)

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Pierce Pond is a 1,650-acre gem of a lake nestled in the mountains of central Somerset County (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 30 A2). It consists of three basins (Upper, Middle, and Lower Ponds, arranged from north to south) connected by two shallow, boulder-infested thoroughfares. The surface water is crystal clear and its quality is superb. The local brook trout population is entirely native, wild and robust. Trout well into the 3 lbs. are not uncommon. The State also stocks landlocked Atlantic salmon, which creates a lively fishery, although those fish rarely exceed 4 lbs., and most stay below 3 lbs. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information. The fishing rules are strict in order to protect the outstanding fishery, as follows: (a) the pond is closed to ice fishing; (b) the pond is open to fishing from May 1 to September 30; (c) only artificial lures are allowed; (d) the daily bag limit on trout is two fish with a minimum length of 10” and only one of which may exceed 12”; and (e) no size or bag limit on lake trout. Pierce Pond is completely surrounded by a protected forested watershed. Hence, civilization intrudes minimally. The entire shoreline is deeply wooded and not a single dock or house is visible anywhere, except for Cobb’s Camp where we will be staying for the second half of this trip.

 

 

Day 1: Wednesday May 25, 2016

 

The cargo ship finally made it to the camp site on Upper Pond!

The cargo ship has finally arrived at the camp site on Upper Pond!

 

 

I leave home at 6 am and drive for over 3 hours before reaching Lindsey Cove at the southern end of Pierce Pond. I’m joining my son Joel who’s been camping with his wife on one of the Cobb’s camp sites located on a gorgeous island in Upper Pond. My boat is loaded like a mule with all my camping gear, food, fire wood, coolers, and fishing equipment. It takes me close to one hour to slowly motor my way up to the site. I cross Joel in Middle Pond. He’s bringing his wife back to the car so that she can return home after spending five days on the lake. That gives me the time to set up camp, assemble my fishing gear, and get organized. Joel returns by noon and fills me in on the latest angling news. He’s done reasonably well earlier in the week but spring came early to Pierce Pond this year. The surface water in Upper Pond has already reached an unusually balmy 66°F and it looks like the bulk of the mayfly hatches occurred earlier in the month. That sucks because we both love catching salmon and trout on the surface using dry flies.

 

This young moose checks us out in the thoroughfare between Upper and Middle Ponds

This young moose checks us out in the thoroughfare between Upper and Middle Ponds

We head out in Joel’s boat at 1 pm and troll around Upper Pond using our downriggers and lead core line to place Mooselook spoons, DB Smelt spoons and large streamer flies (specifically, Governor Aiken and Grey Ghost), 10-20 ft below the surface. We both use two rods, each of which contains two lures attached to each other with 2 ft of monofilament.  That’s a total of eight lures probing the water column at different depths. The sun is bright, the mayflies aren’t hatching, and the fish aren’t biting either… We return to camp by 2:30 pm for a quick lunch and head out again at 3 pm.  We move through the shallow thoroughfare connecting Upper and Middle Pond and finally observe several rises. Of course, we must anchor the boat in the thoroughfare to try out our luck in there. We cast a combination of dry flies, spinner flies, and small emergers but cannot entice the risers to grab our offerings. The highlight, though, was a quick visit by a yearling moose which gives us a long dumb look before turning around and disappearing into the surrounding woods. We leave the thoroughfare frustrated 1.5 hour later to troll on Middle Pond. We spend another hour fishing Middle Pond looking for rises and hatches, but find none.

 

This little brookie was hiding next to a bouldery drop-off on Middle Pond.

This little brookie was hiding next to a bouldery drop-off on Middle Pond.

I remind Joel about a bouldery ledge we discovered two years ago on the backside of one of the island in Middle Pond. Trout like to hang by that drop-off to snatch any passing food item. The trick is to hug the ledge in about 15 ft of water but not get too close to it to avoid entanglements. Go too far off and you’re fishing over 40 ft of featureless water. The first two passes are a disaster: one of our downrigger balls gets stuck behind a boulder and four lures hang up. But Joel hits the sweet spot on the third pass. My downrigger rod starts shaking. I quickly set the hook and land my first fish of the trip, a 14” brook trout. The fish gets photographed and released. Great! I’m not skunked today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joel dry flying a quiet cove out of the wind. But the fish don't want to play nice...

Joel dry flying a quiet cove out of the wind. But the fish don’t want to play nice…

It’s now 7 pm and the evening is setting in. The weather also changed for the worse during the afternoon, becoming cloudy and quite windy. We motor back up to Upper Pond to go fishing in our respective boats, while staying in touch with our walkie-talkies. That way we can check different parts of Upper Pond but call each other up if we see activity. I dry fly and troll until darkness sets in at 8:30 pm but find no takers. Joel toughs out the stiff wind by dry flying the boulder field at Grassy Reef by the entrance to the Back Channel and is rewarded for his efforts with a 12” brookie.

 

 

 

The story continues here.

The results: I caught one 14” brook trout and Joel caught one 12” brook trout in about 6 hours of tough fishing.

 

Was the information in this blog useful? I invite you to share your thoughts and opinions. Also, feel free to discuss your fishing experiences at this location.

 

Pierce Pond, Somerset County, Maine

 

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