Brook trout fishing on Chaffin Pond in Windham, Maine (April 16, 2016)

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Chaffin Pond does not have a boat launch

Chaffin Pond does not have a boat launch

Chaffin Pond is a 13-acre body of water located in Donnabeth Lipman Park in Windham, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 C2). The entrance to this community park is clearly marked by a grey granite sign located next to the Sherman Williams paint store on Route 302 in downtown Windham. The pond forms the center piece of a 123-acre preserve, which provides ample parking, hiking trails, a small playground, and several picnic tables. It is hard to believe that this peaceful natural real estate co-exists with all the intense road traffic and commercial hustle and bustle on busy Route 302 just a few 100 ft away!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The shoreline of Chaffin Pond is completely free of houses or docks

The shoreline of Chaffin Pond is completely free of houses or docks

 

 

Chaffin Pond is small and quite pretty.  It was once owned by the Portland Water District which operated several groundwater extraction wells on the property. As a result, the shoreline was never developed (except for the presence of several old pump houses) and is therefore free of houses and docks.  The surface water is crystal clear. A depth map is not available but I can confirm that the pond is at least 20 ft deep in the center because we used a downrigger to troll that deep and did not hit bottom. I selected this pond because it is managed specifically as a trophy trout fishery. Hence, the fishing rules are strict, as follows: (a) closed to ice fishing, (b) artificial lures only (i.e., no live bait or worms), (c) no size or bag limits on bass, and (d) the daily bag limit on trout is two fish, with a minimum length limit of 12” and with only one trout allowed to exceed 14”. Chaffin Pond is also identified as a top brook trout destination in Cumberland County for the spring of 2016. The brook trout population is maintained by annual stocking. A quick check of the 2016 stocking report shows that the pond has not yet been stocked this spring. Hence, I don’t expect a bonanza but any trout caught this morning will represent survivors from last spring (or earlier…) and will have had at least one full year to fatten up. Finally, this pond has plenty of largemouth bass which are a blast to target in the summer (click here and here for details).

 

and round and round we go...

And round and round we go…

My son Joel and I arrive at Chaffin Pond by 8:30 am. The wind is ripping from the northeast, as has been the case for my last two open-water trout fishing trips this spring (click here and here for details), except that today I won’t be fighting the breeze by myself :-). Keep in mind that only hand-carried craft can be released because the pond does not have a boat launch. Some of the shoreline is unobstructed enough that it could also be fished from shore with a small spinner or spoon, although a boat provides many more options. The weather forecast calls for strong winds blowing in from the northeast, full sunshine, and air temps in the high 30’s climbing into the high 40’s this morning. The water temperature comes in at 47°F, which is ideal for trout fishing. We start by trolling our lures along the shoreline 5 ft to 10 ft below the surface. Joel uses a small portable downrigger that he fastens to the side of the canoe, whereas I use lead core line. We both fish with two lures tied to each other with 2 ft of monofilament. Joel uses two 2” orange-yellow spoons, whereas I try my luck with two 2½” Speedy Shiners spoons (1/6 oz.).

 

 

... but well worth the effort!

… but it’s well worth the effort!

The pond is small enough that it takes no more than about 20 minutes to leisurely paddle our way around it. We’re getting concerned about the lack of biting activity by the fourth time around. I bring in my line once again to check the lures for vegetation (they’re clean) and then slowly release lead core line to bring the lures back down. I’m still going through the process when line suddenly rips off by itself from my reel. Shoot, I’m stuck on the bottom. But then line rips off again. Holy mackerel, that’s not bottom but a fish, and not a tiny one either! It is a spirited and very fat 15” brookie! She fights nicely and stoutly resists my attempts to bring her in. But the fish comes to the surface by the canoe and gets netted into the boat. She is released unharmed a couple of bragging pictures latter. That, most unfortunately, is the extent of our fishing success this morning. We go around the shoreline several more times, and also drop our lures way down through the middle of the pond in the hope of enticing one of the many bass that are still lurking deep this early in the season, but nothing works. On the other hand, Joel and I have the opportunity to socialize at length and to get excited about our planned fishing expeditions later this year to Pierce Pond in western Maine and Baxter State Park up north. That bonding is worth many missed fish 🙂

 

 

The results: I caught one 15” brookie and Joel got skunked in 2.5 hours of 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.

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