Upper Hinkley Pond is a 3-acre body of water formed by the impoundment of Kimball Brook. It is found in Hinkley Park off Highland Avenue in South Portland, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 3 A4 or map 73 G4). This delightful little pond is located only 10 minutes from downtown Portland! Keep in mind that Hinkley Park is a popular area for people to walk their dogs and that some of their canines will likely pay you a visit on the ice. The state stocks Upper Hinkley Pond with lots of brookies each fall to support fast early-season ice fishing action (click here for details)
I arrive at the parking lot off Highland Avenue just before 7:00 am and have drilled my holes by 7:15 am. I’m all by myself, which is fine with me. The weather is strange for mid-January: it’s drizzling and the air temperature is in the low 40’s. It’s also foggy and completely overcast, which actually makes for great fishing weather. The ice is a solid 6” but soft and splashy on the top. I’m targeting brook trout using small shiners along the left shoreline (looking upstream from the dam) in 4-9 ft of water.
I get my first flag within 10 minutes while I’m still setting up my traps. I love that! The action is steady for the next 40 minutes, and results in eight flags and five brookies. One of those is a fat 13” female which, to my surprise, is ripe with eggs. The other four are smaller 9” fish. Then, at 8 am, the switch is turned off and the fish go into lock-jaw mode… I get one more flag around 9:00am which yields a hefty, fast-running 13.5″ female brookie, and then nothing for another 1.5 hour! I move two traps to the opposite shoreline, and also jig for 1.5 hours, but to no avail. The fish just don’t want to bite, at least for now.
A party of three fishermen arrives at 10:15 am and sets up shop around my traps. We chat and I mention the lack of the anticipated mid-morning feeding flurry when suddenly around ten of our flags (three for me) pop up in a 15 minute period, yielding half a dozen 9” trout, one of which is mine. I smile inside because the trout did decide to act predictably, which is always nice. It’s now 11:15 am and time for me to break up and head back home to eat the two bigger trout I iced for lunch.
The results: I caught seven brook trout (two 13 inchers and five 9 inchers).
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