Trout fishing on Knickerbocker Pond, Boothbay, Maine (February 3, 2013)

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Knickerbocker Pond is an 86-acre body of water located in Boothbay, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 7 C2). This pond is reached via Access Road off Barters Island Road. Be aware that Access Road could be problematic in deep snow as it may not be plowed in the winter. That’s not a problem today thanks to the extensive melting that occurred earlier in the week. I’ve decided to fish Knickerbocker Pond, even though it is located about 1.5 hours east of where I live, because the state stocked this pond exceptionally well with five-pound broodstock rainbow trout in the fall of 2012. Click here for details.


I arrive at Knickerbocker Pond by 7 am. The conditions are perfect: The air temperature is in the mid 20’s, the sky is overcast with flurries, and a light breeze blows in from the northwest. The ice is 12” thick with a light dusting of snow on top, which makes the surface extremely slippery!  My strategy today is to set my tipups from the public access point right across to the island that sits in the middle of the pond, in the hope of catching one of the monster rainbows that may be cruising by in 6 to 18 ft of water. I place my baitfish a couple of feet under the ice, half-way down, and close to the bottom. I also drill another 10 holes in the surrounding area for jigging. My tipups are set up by 7:30 am, at which point I start to jig. And I continue jigging, and more jigging, but I get no bites or flags for 2 hours…


I wander over to my neighbor to the left to pick his brains. He tells me that he and his buddies have ice fished Knickerbocker Pond several times this year and caught nice rainbows. He has also set up his tipups along the shoreline in less than 10 ft of water. He’s gotten one flag this morning, but no fish. I then wander over to my neighbor to the right who’s fishing close to the island. He hasn’t gotten a flag either but he tells me about the 3, 4, and 5 pound rainbows he’s caught in this shallow area over the last several weeks… I interrupt him and run towards my shallowest tipup because its flag just popped up.  The spool isn’t turning when I arrive, out of breath, and the bait is stolen…


The 2″ airplane jig that made the difference between a lousy day and a great day on the ice

It is obvious that I need to focus on shallow areas!! I quickly drill a bunch of new holes along the shoreline in 6 to 10 ft of water. I move my traps, re-bait the hooks with fresh shiners, and begin jigging again. I switch over to a 2” yellow-orange airplane jig. I like the action of this lure: it shoots up when you raise the tip of the rod and then glides down gently in a semi-circle before is comes to a stop. I haven’t jigged for more than 10 minutes when my rod suddenly bends over and I realize that I have something angry and heavy at the other end. I struggle to get the fish to enter the hole and then pull it out of the water and on the ice. It is an extremely fat, 18” rainbow trout!  I’m extatic because my efforts bore fruits, which is always rewarding. I continue jigging with renewed optimism, but get no more bites in the next hour and a half. The tipups also remain completely inactive. I decide to call it quits by noon.





The blog author and his catch of the day from Knickerbocker Pond

The action was very slow today. Yet, I’m really excited that staying flexible and changing my approach midway through the morning paid off handsomely. Also, the wisdom of jigging was once again confirmed: I would have had nothing to blog about if I had only relied on my tipups to catch fish.  Jigging can be boring, but easily makes or breaks a day. I’ve seen it happen too many times while ice fishing. There’s no way around around: an active jig is oftentimes more enticing than a live but inactive baitfish. Even though I didn’t catch the five-pound rainbow trout I was aiming for, I’m also not coming home skunked! Besides, l’espoir fait vivre…





The results: I caught one 18” (3.0 lbs.) rainbow trout in 4.5 hours of fishing.


Was the information in this blog useful? I invite you to share your thoughts and opinions. Also, feel free to discuss about your fishing experiences on this pond.

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