Landlocked Atlantic salmon (also known simply as “landlocked salmon” in Maine) are a highly-desirable species to catch while ice fishing because they are great fighters, can grow big, and taste delicious! But it is also a challenge to catch them consistently because they live in large lakes, roam great distances in search of food, are difficult to pinpoint, and are stocked at low levels in order not to deplete their forage base. Follow the strategies below to maximize your chances of hooking one of these magnificent creatures.
A beautiful 5.0 lbs landlocked salmon caught on March 11, 2012 by your blog author on Trickey Pond, Naples, Maine.
Contrary to popular lore, smallmouth and largemouth bass do bite under the ice. In fact, I’ve caught some of my biggest bass that way! But we have to adjust our tactics in response to the wintery conditions. The fish congregate on the bottom and are lethargic and slow. They only eat a small fraction of what they would normally eat in the summer. But here’s the thing: they do need to feed and can therefore be caught. Below are some ways to catch more bass under the ice.
Bass fishing through hard water is a blast!
Many freshwater anglers view the landlocked Atlantic salmon as the King of Fish. And for good reason: pound for pound, no other species has the power, strength, and stamina of this beautiful creature. Seeing a 24” landlock arch high into the air after it is hooked is a heart-stopping experience! This subspecies of Salmo salar is a dwarf variety of the mighty sea-run Atlantic salmon. Even though the landlocked salmon remains relatively small in size, it has lost none of the superb fighting and jumping qualities of its larger anadromous cousin.
Here are some proven tips to increase your chances of catching these magnificent fighters.
Baxter State Park offers a genuine wilderness setting. Most people know the park for the spectacular Mount Katadhin hike, including the one-of-a-kind Knife’s Edge Trail. Yet Baxter also offers a tremendous variety of outdoors opportunities which I decided to explore in-depth during a five-day hiking/camping/fishing trip with my son Joel in mid-September, 2012. As a serious bonus, the park offers some of the best native brook trout fishing opportunities on unspoiled ponds found anywhere in the state of Maine.
The hike started at Trout Brook Farm, located about 3 miles west of the northern entrance to Baxter State Park at Matagamon Gate (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 51 A1) and was scheduled to end at the Roaring Brook campground (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 51 C1). Click here for downloadable maps of the ponds and the hiking trails on this itinerary.
Fishing for largemouth bass is a cherished summer activity for many fishermen in southern Maine. The desired quietness and loneliness, however, can be rudely impacted by the unwelcome hustle and bustle of jet skiers, swimmers, speed boaters, other fishermen, general shore activity, or busy road traffic. My goal was to find, and share with you, hidden largemouth bass fishing spots scattered throughout York County. I focused on small ponds less than 50 acres in size, located off the beaten track but still readily accessible by car (no need for 4X4 driving or hiking through the woods!). I also avoided ponds with excessive shore development. A small motorized boat could be launched on a few of these ponds, but most are fishable only by hand-carried craft, such as a canoe or kayak. This selection process ensures that you will likely be fishing for largemouth bass all by yourself in unspoiled, quiet, natural surroundings. The ponds are also small enough that they can be covered in a lazy afternoon or a long summer evening. Finally, I fished each one of them to ensure that they contain largemouth bass, which they did! Click here for an overview of the lures I like to use on these fish. I’ve also identified fabulous largemouth bass ponds in Cumberland County, south coastal Maine, and southern Oxford County.
And the fabulous ponds for York County are (in alphabetical order)….