Top 9 brook trout ponds for the 2013 ice fishing season in Downeast Maine

For the purpose of this blog, I’ll define a brook trout pond as a body of water less than 30 acres in size which is stocked in the fall with hatchery-reared brook trout to support icefishing.  These small ponds freeze over early in the season and are typically safe to fish several weeks 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.

Keep in mind, though, that the state typically manages these smaller ponds as winter “put-and-take” fisheries.  As a result, they get a lot of pressure early in the season and may be largely fished out within a few weeks.  But by then the bigger lakes have frozen over and the ice fishing action moves elsewhere.

Downeast Maine covers Hancock and Washington counties.  The TOP 9 brook trout ponds for the 2013 ice fishing season in this area are highlighted below (in alphabetical order).  A pond is considered “top” based on its stocking density: the more trout are stocked per acre, the higher the chances of catching them. Always consult the latest law book about special ice fishing rules that may apply on these ponds.  Note also that the list excludes “kids only” ponds.

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Trout fishing in stocked ponds in Baxter State Park

Baxter State Park is the premier wilderness destination in northern Maine for hiking, fishing, and camping. The park is home to several dozen ponds that support healthy native brook trout populations (click here for details on an awesome trans Baxter State Park hiking and fishing trip).  The State of Maine also stocks hatchery trout every year in seven designated ponds in the Park to improve the fishing experience. These ponds, and their trout stocking rates, are the subject of this blog.

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Lake trout fishing on Sebago Lake, Cumberland County, Maine (December 2, 2012)

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A cool, foggy, and drizzly morning on Sebago Lake

Sebago Lake (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 C1) is considered a prime landlocked salmon fishery in southern Maine. The state enhances the natural reproduction that occurs in its main tributary, the Crooked River, by stocking the lake with juvenile salmon annually in the spring. I arrive at East Sebago off Route 114 at 7:10 am to meet up with my son Joel. We are going to troll for landlocked salmon and lake trout above and around the sunken ridge that lays about 1.5 miles due east of East Sebago. This large structure, which rises from >100 ft deep and levels off about 35-40 ft below the surface of the water, is a well-known “fish attractor”. The morning is cool, foggy, and drizzly, which suits us just fine. The air temperature is in the low 30’s but there’s hardly any wind. We don’t see another soul on the lake. It looks like everyone else has stored their rods, even though there is still plenty of opportunity for open-water action even this late in the season… We select slender silver-and-blue DB Smelt spoons which have worked well for us on Sebago Lake in the past, and use downriggers to bring them to the right depth.

 

 

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Ice fishing for landlocked Atlantic salmon: 11 strategies to catch more of them

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.

A beautiful 5.0 lbs landlocked salmon caught on March 11, 2012 by your blog author on Trickey Pond, Naples, Maine.

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Trout fishing on Cold Rain Pond, Naples, Maine (November 25, 2012)

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View of Cold Rain Pond from the public access point

Cold Rain Pond is located in Naples (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 4 B5). Access to this pond is as follows: hang a left onto Kimball Corner Road when driving north on Route 114/11 in North Sebago. Turn left on Tiger Hill Road after just over 3 miles. This road is located across from Lake House Road (look for the sculptures of three black bears). The access point to the pond, which is on the left after about 0.5 mile, consists of an unimproved launch which cannot accommodate trailered boats. Be aware that Tiger Hill Road is rough, rutted, and bouldery, and may require a 4X4 vehicle.

 

 

 

 

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Trout fishing on Otter Pond #2, Standish, Maine (November 18, 2012)

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Joel and I decide to again visit Otter Pond #2 in Standish (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 D1) after our successful trout fishing experience last week (click here on how to access this 12-acre pond). The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife nicely stocks the pond with a truckload of brook trout each spring and fall. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information.

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Trout fishing on Otter Pond #2, Standish, Maine (November 11, 2012)

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General view of Otter Pond #2, with the railroad tracks in the background

Otter Pond #2 is located in Standish (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 D1). This pond is one of four small ponds located right off Route 35 (Chadbourne Road).  Access to the pond is on foot from the two parking lots located on either side of the bridge over the old railroad tracks. The shortest way in is to walk about a quarter mile on the tracks until the pond appears on the right.  Joel and I instead take the long way in (> 0.5 mile), via the Mountain Division Trail which starts at the largest of the two parking lots. We are wheeling Joel’s canoe, and all our fishing gear, on this nice gravel road which passes next to Otter Pond #2. Our goal today is to troll for trout.

 

 

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ice fishing for bass: eight proven tactics to catch more of them

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!

Bass fishing through hard water is a blast!


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Landlocked salmon fishing on Sebago Lake, Cumberland County, Maine (October 8, 2012)

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Sebago Lake (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 C1) is considered a prime landlock salmon fishery in southern Maine. The state enhances the natural reproduction that occurs in the Crooked River by stocking the lake with juvenile salmon annually in the spring. I arrive in East Sebago off Route 114 at 9:30 am and am picked up at the shoreline by my sons Joel and Jonathan who have been trolling the area since early morning. They have focused their attention above and around the sunken ridge that lays about 1.5 miles to the east of East Sebago. This ridge rises from >100 ft deep and levels off about 35-40 ft below the surface of the water. It’s a fine morning: cool (lower 40’s), mostly overcast with heazy sunshine, and a gentle southwestern breeze. Rain is forecast for late afternoon. The surface water temperature varies from 59° to 61°F, and the fish finder marks fish 15-30 ft down. We’re using downriggers to troll our lures at these depths.  We present spoons of different shapes and colors to figure out what the salmon want today. Jonathan caught an 11” baby salmon on a yellow-colored Mooselook spoon before my arrival. We seriously tease him about it!

 

 

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Trolling for landlocked Atlantic salmon on lakes: 13 tips to increase your catch

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.

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