TOP brook trout ponds for the 2015 ice fishing season in Androscoggin County, Maine

The TOP brook trout ponds for the 2015 ice fishing season in Androscoggin County are highlighted below (in alphabetical order).  A pond is considered “top” based on its stocking density. Simply put, the more trout are packed per acre, the higher the chances of catching them through the ice!

 

For the purpose of this blog, I’ll define a brook trout pond as a body of water with a surface area of less than 100 acres (with some exceptions) which is stocked in the fall with hatchery-reared brook trout to support ice fishing.  These ponds tend to freeze over early in the season and are typically safe to fish well before the bigger lakes become accessible.  This provides a real opportunity for hot early-season action for those of us (myself included!) who just can’t wait to catch brookies through the ice.

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TOP brook trout ponds for the 2015 ice fishing season in Aroostook County, Maine

The TOP brook trout ponds for the 2015 ice fishing season in Aroostook County are highlighted below (in alphabetical order).  A pond is considered “top” based on its stocking density. Simply put, the more trout are packed per acre, the higher the chances of catching them through the ice!

 

For the purpose of this blog, I’ll define a brook trout pond as a body of water with a surface area of less than 100 acres (with some exceptions) which is stocked in the fall with hatchery-reared brook trout to support ice fishing.  These ponds tend to freeze over early in the season and are typically safe to fish well before the bigger lakes become accessible.  This provides a real opportunity for hot early-season action for those of us (myself included!) who just can’t wait to catch brookies through the ice.

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Ice fishing for smallmouth bass on Trickey Pond, Naples, Maine (March 29, 2014)

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General view of Trickey Pond with cloud "mountains" in the background

Early morning view of Trickey Pond looking north with “cloud mountains” in the background

Trickey Pond covers 311 acres and is located next to Route 114 in Naples, Cumberland County (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 4 B5). Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information. Access to this pond is via a hard-top boat launch off Route 114. Beware that this launch is not typically plowed in the winter and that a 4X4 vehicle is required if you plan on driving down towards the pond. Limited parking is possible along the shoulder on Route 114. Trickey Pond contains exceptionally clean water (the pond is entirely spring-fed) and provides a smorgasbord of sport fish species. It supports a well-known regional salmonid fishery consisting of landlocked salmon, splake, and brook trout. But it also has an abundant smallmouth bass population of exceptional size and quality. It is these fish that I’m targeting today.

 

 

 

That's what a long, hard Maine winter does to water!

That’s what a long, hard Maine winter does to water!

 

I arrive at Trickey Pond with my truck around 6:30 am. I walk on the ice and drill a hole to make sure that I can safely drive on it. Holy mackerel, the ice thickness certainly reflects the awesome cold we’ve endured this winter: my auger finally breaks through after making a 26” deep hole! I drive across to the shoreline on the opposite end of the boat launch. My strategy this morning (which has worked – almost – flawlessly on this pond over the years) is to place my tipups in 20 to 35 ft of water in front of a cove. Even though it’s still winter, the bass typically start to congregate in front of their spawning beds in that cove this time of the year. I just need to find them by placing the bait in different locations… Read this blog for more information on this topic.

 

This 18" bronzeback fell for a small shiner 2 ft off the bottom

This 18″ bronzeback fell for a small shiner 2 ft off the bottom

I drill my holes and place the small baitfish about 2 ft off the bottom. I’m working on my fourth tipup when two flags pop up essentially at the same time. Nice, the fish are at their post!!  I land one smallmouth but the second one steals the bait before I can set the hook. I re-arrange the location of the tipups based on this new information. I have steady action over the next hour, with seven flags resulting in three bronzebacks. All are females: large (16”-18”), bloated with eggs and heavy! And then the flag action stops completely…The darn fish are still down there, of course, but the rising sun and increased light intensity seems to have stopped the morning feed. Boy, have I seen this pattern before!

 

 

 

 

 

A 2" yellow-orange airplane jig enticed this fish to bite

A 2″ yellow-orange airplane jig enticed this fish to bite

I drill a dozen jigging holes among and around the previously-active tipups. If the bass won’t take a live minnow, perhaps they’ll be interested in a darting lure. I use a small 2” airplane jig which has worked well for me in the past. I don’t work the whole water column but instead concentrate my efforts just off the bottom. Around 9 am I’m joined by a guy who lives right on Trickey. He sets up his traps a little ways off hoping to catch splake. We talk fishing for about an hour and a half, during which he gets two flags from one hole. Both result in smallies which took the baitfish placed 3 ft under the ice! We’re both puzzled by this unexpected behavior, but I’ll store that information for future consideration…

 

 

 

 

The blog author showing off the biggest fish of the morning

Your blog author showing off the biggest fish of the morning

My jigging efforts yield two more bronzebacks. One is a really nice 18.5” fat female that weighs over 3.5 lbs. I catch her with the jig right after she triggered a flag and stole the bait. Actually, that was the only flag action in 3 hours. The bite is dead now and I decide to call it good at 10:45 am. I thoroughly enjoyed my last morning on hard water for the 2014 ice fishing season. The bass where doing their thing, the weather was fine, and the company enjoyable. Now I just have to wait until all the ice and the snow melts so that I can start trolling for landlocks and fish for brookies in local streams in a couple of weeks. Life is darn good : )

 

 

 

 

 

The results: I caught 5 smallmouth bass measuring between 15.5” and 18.5” in 4 hours.

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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Ice fishing for pickerel on Panther Pond, Raymond, Maine (January 26, 2014)

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Panther Pond covers 1,439 acres and is located in Raymond, Cumberland County (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 B2). Click here for a depth map and more fisheries informationMy 11-year old nephew Christian calls me up in the late morning to ask if I want to go ice fishing with him. I wasn’t planning on it because I’ve been toiling since 6 am to complete a project for work. On the other hand, I’ve been locked up for too long and need to breathe in some fresh air. I tell him that I can spare a few hours to go pickerel fishing with him on Panther Pond. Our target is the large shallow bay just south of the peninsula called Betty’s Neck. The bay, which has a maximum depth of about 4 ft, is a reliable area for catching pickerel, yellow perch, and even an occasional largemouth bass through the ice. Access to the bay is via a snowmobile trail which starts at Giselle Lane, located off Route 121 just before the pond appears on the right (going north).

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Best ice fishing ponds for catching splake in Maine (winter of 2014)

A splake is a hybrid fish which results from crossing a male brook trout with a female lake trout in the hatchery. These fish are becoming popular because they grow faster than either parent, are relatively easy to catch under the ice, and cannot overrun a pond or lake because they do not reproduce. Around 50 ponds in Maine are managed as splake fisheries. Many of these ponds are open to ice fishing and are stocked with this trout variety in the spring or fall. This blog highlights the ponds (presented in alphabetical order) which provide the best odds of catching splake through the ice.

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Ice fishing for trout on Otter Pond #4, Standish, Maine (January 19, 2014)

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General view of Otter Pond #4

General view of Otter Pond #4

Otter Pond #4 (a.k.a. Snake Pond) covers 6 acres and is located off Route 35 in Standish, Cumberland County (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 D1). Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information. This small body of water is an extremely popular brook trout ice fishing destination in southern Maine. To access this pond, park your car on the small gravel parking lot next to the road bridge over the old railroad tracks. Walk down to the tracks, turn left, and walk for about 10 minutes. You’ll pass Otter Pond #1 (a.k.a. Half Moon Pond) on the right, Otter Pond # 3 on the left, quickly followed by Otter Pond #2 on your right. Get off the tracks and walk to the left around a wooded knoll. Otter #4 will soon appear on your left.   

 

 

 

 

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Best ice fishing ponds for catching brown trout in Maine (winter of 2014)

Over 110 ponds throughout Maine are managed as brown trout fisheries. Many of these ponds are open to ice fishing and are stocked with brown trout in the spring or fall. This blog highlights the ponds (presented in alphabetical order) which provide the best odds of catching browns through the ice.

I only present ponds that were stocked in 2013 with a minimum of 2 brown trout per acre. As a rough yardstick, the average stocking density for landlocked salmon in Maine ponds and lakes is about 0.3 to 0.5 salmon per acre, which equals 1 salmon every two to three acres.

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Best ice fishing ponds for catching rainbow trout in Maine (winter of 2014)

Around 20 ponds, most of them located in southern Maine counties, are managed as rainbow trout fisheries. Many of these ponds are open to ice fishing and are stocked with rainbow trout each spring or fall. This blog highlights the ponds (presented in alphabetical order) which provide the best odds of catching bows through the ice.

I only present ponds that were stocked in 2013 with a minimum of 1 rainbow trout per acre. As a rough yardstick, the average stocking density for landlocked salmon in Maine ponds and lakes is about 0.3 to 0.5 salmon per acre, which equals 1 salmon every two to three acres.

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Best ice fishing ponds for catching large trout in Oxford County (winter of 2014)

Over 30 ponds in Oxford County, Maine, were stocked with trout in the fall of 2013 to support ice fishing during the winter of 2014. Most of these fish are relatively small (7” to 12”), but plentiful, in order to provide fast action on the ice.

The state also spiced up several of these ponds with bigger trout, which I define here as fish measuring 13” or more, and weighing at least 1.0 lb. This blog highlights the ponds (presented in alphabetical order) in Oxford County where fishermen have the best odds of catching those larger fish through the ice.

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Best ice fishing ponds for catching large trout in Washington County, Maine (winter of 2014)

About 20 ponds in Washington County, Maine, were stocked with trout in the fall of 2013 to support ice fishing during the winter of 2014. Most of these fish are relatively small (7” to 12”), but plentiful, in order to provide fast action on the ice.

The state also spiced up several of these ponds with bigger trout, which I define here as fish measuring 13” or more, and weighing at least 1.0 lb. This blog highlights the ponds (presented in alphabetical order) in Washington County where ice fishermen have the best odds of catching those larger fish through the ice.

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