Ice fishing for brook trout on Charles Pond, Georgetown, Maine (December 24, 2016)

Charles Pond is undeveloped, pretty, small and shallow

Charles Pond covers 14 acres and is located next to Route 127 (Five Islands Road) in Georgetown, Sagadahoc County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 7 D1). I get up at a truly ungodly hour in order to reach this pond before 6:45 am (sunrise this morning occurs at 7:15 am) with the goal to start fishing “at the crack ‘o dawn” to catch the early bite! I identified this pond as a prime destination in Sagadahoc County for catching 1-lb brookies through the ice this winter. It is also one of a handful of elite ponds in Maine with a reasonable potential for catching an 18+” brood stock trout. That’s enough incentive for me to put in extra effort to arrive early! The outlet of Charles Pond flows directly into the Atlantic Ocean over a small dam by Route 127. A depth map is not available.

 

 

 

 

First brookie of the morning

 

 

I’m pulling my sled on the ice by 6:50 am, walk for about 500 ft and set up shop in the general area where Charles Pond becomes quite narrow. I hardly see any fishing holes along the way, which shows that only one or two people have ventured on this ice recently. That is fine for me. The weather is also excellent for fishing. The temperature is in the mid 30’s and rising, rain is forecast to start at 10 am, and it is wind still. The arrival of a low-pressure front, always a great plus when ice fishing, creates a low cloud deck which keeps the sun away and the light levels down. I quickly drill my five holes and am surprised to find that the water is no deeper than 6 ft, even in the middle of the pond. The ice thickness is a respectable 6” for this early in the season and is covered with minimal snow. I bait two traps with 2” minnows, two traps with night crawlers, and leave the fifth hole open for jigging. The action starts immediately at the two deeper locations. A first flag pops up within 10 minutes and yields a 13” brookie on the minnow. A second flag goes up 10 minutes later and results in a fat 14” brookie, also on the minnow. Wow, I got my daily bag limit of two nice trout 20 minutes into my trip!!

 

Come to daddy…

The next 40 minutes are a blur of flags (11 in total), resulting in 8 extra trout, all measuring between 13” and 15”! Two of those trout are so eager to bite that they are caught as I’m still lowering the baitfish through the hole and futsing with the trap. I’ve had that experience before. One of those two flags actually slaps me painfully across the face when it unexpectedly triggers…I’m blown away by the constant activity. The trout are totally focused on the bait fish and largely ignore my worms. I also observe that the bait fish invariably result in turning spools when they are grabbed by the trout, which is not the case for the traps with the worms. I run out of bait fish by 8 am and look for my jigging rod to continue the fun. SH*T, I forget the thing at home!!!!  Boy, this sucks given all the on-going action. I resolve to “finger jig” by laying flat on the ice with my head looking down the hole. I use the line from one of my traps, bait the hook with a worm, and use my two hands to gently move the baited hook up and down. A magical world opens up as my eyes adjust to the clear but somber waters below.

 

YES, I caught one of the lunker brook trout “finger jigging”!!

I see dozens of trout cruising back and forth, including a lunker!! I’m gitty with excitement at the sight of all this activity but notice that the fish show little or no interest for my worm. Most ignore it altogether, some stare at it before turning around, a few mouth it but immediately spit out the offering, and only two get hooked and pulled out of the water. This approach is clearly not working for me. I switch to a little orange jig head covered by a small bug-like plastic trailer. That lures does the trick, and results in seven more trout, including the much anticipated 19”-long broodstock fish! It’s now 9:15 am and it starts to drizzle. I’ve touched fishing Nirvana this morning, a rare but deeply-satisfying condition. I leave a happy angler. Not only did I catch the 1-pounders I was looking for, but I also iced one of the lunker trout. The latter is still swimming around in Charles Pond because I released it to be caught by someone else at some future time.

 

 

 

 

The results: I landed 19 brookies (all measuring between 13” and 15”, with one lunker of 19”) in 2.5 hours of Nirvana-like fishing.

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

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