Landlocked Atlantic salmon fishing on Peabody Pond, Sebago, Maine (April 25, 2015)

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Tandem fishing on Peabody Pond with a downrigger and lead core line.

Tandem fishing on Peabody Pond with a downrigger and lead core line.

Peabody Pond is a 735-acre body of water located in the town of Sebago in Cumberland County (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 4 B4). Access is via a hard-top municipal boat launch located next to Peabody Pond Road off Route 107. The launch is situated next to the pond’s major outlet, which forms the source of the Northwest River linking Peabody Pond to Sebago Lake. This launch is spacious and can accommodate substantial vessels. Be aware, however, that launching and retrieving can become a real challenge later on in the spring when the water levels drop due to the shallowness of the launch area. The pond is moderately developed along its western shoreline, but otherwise provides a rather remote setting with Bald Pate Mountain as a lovely backdrop.

 

 

 

 

 

Captain Stan piloting the skiff.

Captain Stan piloting the skiff.

 

 

Peabody Pond is well-known locally for its ability to grow serious landlocks. I caught a 5 pounder, and know of two 6+ pounders that have come out of it. The pond is closed to ice fishing, which provides the salmon better odds of survival and more time to fatten up. This marvelous fishery is maintained by annual stocking due to a lack of natural spawning habitat. The lake has a maximum depth of 64 ft and a mean depth of 32 ft. The water is crystal clear and much of the shoreline is rocky and bouldery. Incidentally, this lake also sustains a serious smallmouth bass fishery, which is well-worth targeting starting in May and throughout the summer. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information.

 

A 21.5" beauty, caught and released.

A 21.5″ beauty, caught and released.

My son Joel and I arrive at the boat launch by 7 am. We’re both giddy because it’s our first fishing trip of the 2015 open-water season. The ice came out last week, 10-14 days behind schedule. We notice that we’re not the only ones fishing this morning. I count 11 trucks/trailers parked all around the launch. Things are a bit chaotic, as they always are the first time, but we’re ready to rumble by 7:30 am. We both use live 3” minnows hooked on a sliding-hook rig (i.e., a sliding single hook in the mouth, and a terminal treble hood in the anal vent) and lowered 5 to 10 ft into the water column using down-riggers. It’s early in the season, the water is still ice-cold, and the smelt have moved shallow in preparation for spawning, so there’s no need to go deep. Besides, it’s rather overcast, which keeps the light levels down and the fish higher up in the water column. I also use a separate lead-core line with a live minnow down about one color, whereas Joel attaches two spoons to his second rod to troll just below the surface. Note that, in my experience, minnows work just as well as smelt, plus they are cheaper, hardier, and easier to find. Anyway, Joel gets a hit on his surface lures within 10 minutes in 15 ft of water as we troll away from the outlet area. That’s a good sign, and a signal… We slowly work our way along the western shoreline, and then out into the middle of the lake, but generate no more interest. Two boats closer to shore land salmon. We also notice that much of the trolling activity on the pond is occurring in the vicinity of the outlet area. That is where Joel had that one hit. So we turn around and troll our way back.

 

This 18.5" salmon fought like a brook trout!

This 18.5″ salmon fought like a brook trout!

I remove the live bait from my lead-core line and replace it with a trusted Grey Ghost streamer fly which I then constantly “rip” through the water to make it look alive. I’m still one color down trolling close to shore when the depth suddenly rises to 7 ft. We’re scrambling to bring up our down rigger balls to avoid getting stuck when the depth suddenly plunges back down to 18 ft and WHAM, I get a big hit on my Grey Ghost right at the drop-off. The salmon announces itself 5 seconds later by leaping high out of the water. She’s a beauty, and a strong fighter. She rips line off my reel and jumps five more times before giving up. I marvel at the strength of this creature, take a picture for posterity, and let her go. She measures 21.5” and weighs in at 3.1 pounds. The commotion doesn’t go by unnoticed and we’re immediately joined by two more boats who start trolling this same area. We stick around for another half hour but without success and then troll back down the western shoreline. Another fish announces itself when Joel’s rod attached to the downrigger ball suddenly starts shaking uncontrollably. He sets the hook and starts fighting a smaller salmon. This one behaves more like a brook trout: doggedly under the surface but without any jumping. We’re both delighted that neither one of us is leaving skunked. Life is good!

 

The results: I caught one landlocked salmon measuring 21.5” (3.1 lbs.) and Joel also caught one landlocked salmon measuring 18.5″ (2.0 lbs.) in 3.5 hours of fishing.

 

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

 

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3 thoughts on “Landlocked Atlantic salmon fishing on Peabody Pond, Sebago, Maine (April 25, 2015)

  1. How fast are you trolling? I just started trying trolling last summer and have yet to get a bite. I have a 5.5 Hp motor on a 12′ aluminum boat.

    • My typical trolling speed is about 2 miles per hour. Basically, I’m going as slow as my 8 HP outboard will push my 12 ft aluminum boat when I put it in gear at slowest speed. Here are two tricks to check your speed if you’re uncertain: (a) get behind a boat that’s already trolling and go at such a speed that you neither catch up or fall behind; that’ll be the right trolling speed, or (b) use your cell phone (if it has a speedometer function) to tell you how fast you’re moving. The bottom line is that it is easier to troll too fast than too slow. Good luck!!

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