Ice fishing for trout on Levenseller Pond, Lincolnville, Maine (January 5, 2014)

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General view of Levenseller Pond

General view of Levenseller Pond

Levenseller Pond covers 35 acres and is located next to Route 173 (Lincoln Avenue) in Lincolnville, Waldo County (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 14 C3). Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information. The pond is easily accessible from several points along Route 173. About a dozen and a half homes line the opposite shoreline. Levenseller Mountain also looms over the pond. This small body of water is a typical “put-and-take” winter fishery: the state stocks brook trout in late fall with the understanding that none will live into the next fall. The reason is that Levenseller Pond has a maximum depth of only 10 ft and the summer water temperatures become too warm to allow trout to survive. I drive 107 miles – one way and some of it on badly-plowed roads – because Levenseller Pond offers good odds of hooking into a lunker trout during the winter of 2014, but is also stocked with many smaller trout. My hope for today is to catch one of the thirty 19” brookies that were stocked in this pond in the fall of 2013…

 

The bell provides an auditory signal as soon as the flag pops up

The bell provides an auditory signal as soon as the flag pops up

I reach Levenseller Pond at 8 am with Christian, my 11 year-old nephew. He’s never ice fished before and is quite excited about the whole experience. In fact, he was already dressed by the time I stumbled out of bed at 5 am this morning! I take him with me today because the temperature will be bearable (mid 20’s), the wind will be quiet and the sun is expected to be out. I want his first experience to be a good one. I’m somewhat surprised that we’re the only ones on the ice when we arrive. As always, that’s just fine with me. The ice is 12” thick, with 4-10” of snow on top. I drill my holes and set out eight traps, half of them baited with small shiners and the other half baited with wriggling worms. Christian’s job is to clean out the ice chips from the holes using a scooper. I show him how to measure the water depth using a small sounding weight clipped to my hooks, how to bait the hooks, and how to set up a trap and immerse it in the water. He eagerly takes it all in.

 

 

 

Christian's first ever brookie caught through the ice

Christian’s first ever brookie caught through the ice

We don’t see one flag pop up during the 40 minutes it takes to set out the eight traps. Mmm, that’s not good considering that most trout action under the ice occurs early in the morning. We do get six fish flags between 9 and 10:30 am which yield three small trout (7” to 11”), including Christian’s very first fish through the ice!  The flag action is sporadic with no obvious pattern. I suspect that the bright sunshine is spooking the fish.  The trout are finicky, don’t swim away after triggering a flag and quickly drop the bait. Nothing like the experience I had a few miles away on Dutton Pond two weeks earlier .

 

 

 

 

 

This 16 inch brook trout was caught jigging with a small Swedish Pimple

Your blog author caught this 16 inch brook trout jigging with a small Swedish Pimple

I also drill several extra holes for jigging. I’ve learned the hard way over the years that jigging, boring as it is, can also yield fish that refuse to be caught on tip-ups . I start with a little orange-colored airplane jig but it generates no interest after 45 minutes of working several holes. I switch to a 2” Swedish Pimple, and then it happens. I feel a light tap. I stop the up-and-down motion of the lure and instead just gently shake the tip of my rod to make the pimple vibrate in place and mimmick a wounded baitfish. Another tap, more insistent this time. I stop moving my rod altogether, but give little twitches every 2-3 seconds. The fish finally mouths the lure and I set the hook. Nice! He’s strong and I adjust my spool so that line rips off on request. I yell for Christion to come over. I see a frown on his face because uncle Stan is besting him today… The brook trout  comes up and struggles just underneath the hole, but I pull him through and plop him on the ice. He’s not the lunker I was hoping for, but I’ll take a 16 incher any time.

 

 

 

Meanwhile, a party of three has arrived to fish. I walk over to chat and pick their brains. It turns out that the nephew of one of these guys caught a 20” brookie out of this pond earlier in the week… It’s now late morning, the sun is shining bright high up in the sky, and the action has stopped completely. We break up camp at 11 am and head back home. The lunkers are definitely in Levenseller Pond but today wasn’t my day. Regardless, a morning on the (frozen) water beats a day at home, any time : )

 

The results: I caught 2 brook trout (7” and 16”) and Christian also caught two brook trout (7” and 11”) in 3 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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Best ice fishing ponds for catching large trout in Lincoln County, Maine (winter of 2014)

Nine ponds in Lincoln County, Maine, were stocked with trout in the fall of 2013 to support ice fishing. 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 Lincoln County where ice fishermen have the best odds of catching those larger fish through the ice.  

I only include ponds that were stocked in the fall of 2013 with a minimum of 1 large 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. Keep in mind that the number of bigger trout stocked in a pond is typically much lower than for the smaller trout.  Hence, patience is required to catch those larger fish. 

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

Five ponds in Sagadahoc County, Maine, were stocked with trout in the fall of 2013 to support ice fishing. 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 Sagadahoc County where ice fishermen have the best odds of catching those larger fish through the ice.  

I only include ponds that were stocked in the fall of 2013 with a minimum of 1 large 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. Keep in mind that the number of bigger trout stocked in a pond is typically much lower than for the smaller trout.  Hence, patience is required to catch those larger fish. 

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

About two dozen ponds in Piscataquis County, Maine, were stocked with trout in the fall of 2013 to support ice fishing. 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 some 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 Piscataquis County where ice fishermen have the best odds of catching those larger fish through the ice.  

I only include ponds that were stocked in the fall of 2013 with a minimum of 1 large 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. Keep in mind that the number of bigger trout stocked in a pond is typically much lower than for the smaller trout.  Hence, patience is required to catch those larger fish. 

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

About two dozen ponds in Penobscot County, Maine, were stocked with trout in the fall of 2013 to support ice fishing. 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 many 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 Penobscot County where ice fishermen have the best odds of catching those larger fish through the ice.  

I only include ponds that were stocked in the fall of 2013 with a minimum of 1 large 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. Keep in mind that the number of bigger trout stocked in a pond is typically much lower than for the smaller trout.  Hence, patience is required to catch those larger fish.

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

About a dozen and a half ponds in York County, Maine, were stocked with trout in the fall of 2013 to support ice fishing. 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 many 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 York County where ice fishermen have the best odds of catching those larger fish through the ice.

It is highly recommended to consult the latest regulations (available at www.eregulations.com/maine/fishing/) about special ice fishing rules that may apply on the ponds described below.  I did my utmost best to verify that a particular pond is indeed open for ice fishing, but I make no guarantees that my interpretation of the Maine fishing rules is accurate or correct. It is up to each reader of this blog to ensure that a pond listed below can be fished through the ice. Note also that the list excludes “kids only” ponds.

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

About 10 ponds in Knox County, Maine, were stocked with trout in the fall of 2013 to support ice fishing. 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 many 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 Knox County where ice fishermen have the best odds of catching those larger fish through the ice.

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Ice fishing for trout on Dutton Pond, Knox, Maine (December 28, 2013)

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General view of Dutton Pond under a low-light, leaden sky

General view of Dutton Pond under a low-light, leaden sky

Dutton Pond covers 36 acres and is located next to Dutton Pond Road off Route 137 in Knox, Waldo County (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 14 A3). Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information. The pond is quite pretty and feels surprisingly “isolated”, with only two houses visible along the eastern shoreline. This side of the pond appears marshy, but the opposite side is wooded and hilly. I drive 105 miles – one way – to reach this choice spot. Why would anyone go through all of this effort to go ice fishing? The reason is simple: Dutton Pond offers good odds of hooking into a lunker trout during the winter of 2014, but is also stocked with many smaller trout. My hope for today is to catch either a 19” brookie or a 24” brown trout… I arrive at 8 am, park my car on Dutton Pond Road and immediately make my way on the ice. The conditions this morning are to my liking: overcast with flurries in the air. My experience is that low light levels are typically good when ice fishing for trout because the fish stay shallow instead of seeking refuge from the sun in deeper waters. I drill my first hole and am surprised by the 10” of ice, which reflects the harsh winter weather we’ve experienced over the last 2-3 weeks. I’m also in less than 1 ft of water… In fact, I have to move a good 100 ft away from shore before finding 6 ft of water.  

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

About 30 ponds in Kennebec County, Maine, were stocked with trout in the fall of 2013 to support ice fishing. 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 many 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 Kennebec County where ice 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 Hancock County, Maine (winter of 2014)

About 45 ponds in Hancock County, Maine, were stocked with trout in the fall of 2013 to support ice fishing. 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 many 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 Hancock County where ice fishermen have the best odds of catching those larger fish through the ice.

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