Ice fishing for brook trout and largemouth bass on Parker Pond, Casco, Maine (February 19, 2017)

Good morning, Parker Pond!

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Three inches of water on top of the ice make for a floating trap and a slushy mess…

Parker Pond covers 166 acres and is located in Casco (Cumberland County), Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 B1). I choose to ice fish this body of water today because it is located right next to a major road (Route 121). Southern Maine has been walloped by over 3 ft of snow over the last two weeks. Since I do not own a snow mobile, and hence have to walk everywhere on the ice, I want to fish close to a road.  Route 121, which runs along the western shore of Parker Pond, has two 300-ft long “pull-outs” that run parallel to the road (and are typically plowed in the winter) and where anglers can park their cars to gain instant access to the ice. Parker Pond is a shallow body of water with an average and maximum depth of 10 and 19 ft, respectively. It contains your typical collection of “warm-water” species, such as bass, chain pickerel, yellow perch and white perch. The state also frugally stocked the pond last fall with 410 brook trout measuring 12” and 13”, resulting in a stocking rate of between 2 and 3 trout per acre. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information.




I almost did not catch this nice brookie…



I reach Parker Pond at 6:15 am. My son Joel and six-year old grandson Antony will join me at 7:30 am. I’m running half an hour behind schedule because my regular bait dealer is out of minnows and I have to drive elsewhere to find my supply. The air temperature upon arrival is a balmy 30F and forecast to rise well into the 40’s in response to warm southern breezes. My goal today is to catch some of the stocked trout and also spice things up by landing largemouth bass.  As expected, the snow is knee-deep and hell to walk through!  Fortunately, that part of the pond is crisscrossed by snowmobile tracks which makes walking around somewhat easier. Another concern, though, is that the heavy snow pack weighs on the ice and causes pond water to seep upwards through cracks and old fishing holes. As a result, a thick layer of slushy snow sits hidden on top of the ice. That problem becomes obvious when I drill my first hole and the area around the hole rapidly turns into a wet mess.


Antony is proud to show off the largest bass he’s ever caught. Life is good!

It’s slow, sweaty going and it takes me close to an hour of hard work to deploy my five traps. I get one flag over that period which yields a small pickerel. I’m now anticipating the arrival of Joel and am concerned about Antony getting wet feet, particularly around the two traps closest to shore where the slush is abundant. So, I’m walking towards my shallowest trap (3 ft of water) to move it elsewhere when its flag unexpectedly pops up! I quickly get to the hole, observe the spool slowly turning, and set the hook. I’m excited to feel resistance at the other end and even more thrilled when I pull a 15” brook trout through the hole! Yes, Siree! It’s scary to think that I was less than one minute away from removing this trap to set it up elsewhere…





No comment…

Meanwhile, Joel has arrived and we drill more holes and deploy eight traps in that general shallow area, after telling Antony NOT to follow us.  The action is really slow this morning, particularly with 15 traps in the water. The flag pops up for one of the traps baited with a big ol’ shiner placed 2 ft off the bottom for bass. Joel fetches his boy and we all stumble towards the hole. I set the hook, feel the resistance, and immediately pass the line to the little guy who gleefully brings it in hand over hand. He is so excited when a 16” largemouth bass plops on the ice. We just created a wonderful memory for Antony because it’s the biggest bass he’s ever caught!  He’s not going to forget this one anytime soon. It’s well past 10 am by now. The sun is blazing way up in the sky, it’s downright warm but the bite has completely died out. Worse, the sun has softened the snow, causing Joel and I to sink down to the slushy layer with each step. It’s time to go. We depart Parker Pond at 11 am, glad to have caught a couple of good fish through the ice under tough circumstances.



The results: I landed one 15” brook trout and Antony iced a 16” largemouth bass in 4 hours of fishing.


Your blog author enjoying a well-deserved beer while “tanning” under a warm sun. Cheers!


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