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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