Smallmouth bass fishing on Panther Pond, Raymond, Maine (August 14, 2017)

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The sun is setting and the surface commotion is gone. It’s time for the smallmouth bass to grab dinner before dark!

Catching smallmouth bass in ponds or lakes during high summer in Maine can be a real challenge, even for the experienced angler. The surface water is warm (75° to 80°F), the sun is bright, and the human activity levels can be intense as a result of water skiing, jet skiing, pontoon boating, or power boating. The fish seek shelter 15 to 25 ft below the surface to locate cooler water, hide from the sun, and find respite from all the human commotion above. Unlike the nippier and less hectic spring months, when the smallmouth bass congregate and concentrate in large numbers along bouldery shorelines for the annual spawn, the summer bronzebacks are scattered over a much larger area and in deeper water. That makes them intrinsically more difficult to find and catch.

 

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The TOP Ponds Stocked with Brook Trout for the Spring of 2017 in Cumberland County, Maine

This blog identifies the TOP ponds in Cumberland County, Maine that provide the best odds of catching brook trout during the spring of 2017. A pond is considered TOP due to its trout stocking density: all else being equal, the more brook trout that are stocked per acre of pond, the greater the chances of catching those fish! All of these ponds cover less than 50 acres and are therefore relatively small. Trout activity typically peaks between late April and mid-June, after which the fishing slows down in response to rising surface water temperatures.

 

Some of the ponds described below were stocked last fall but are closed to ice fishing. Others are stocked once early in the spring or may be stocked several times in April and May. More details are provided in the stocking reports compiled by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. It is recommended to check the regulations about special fishing rules that may apply on these ponds, such as daily bag limits, use of live bait fish, artificial lure requirements,  limits on outboard engine size, etc. Note also that the list of TOP brook trout ponds excludes “kids-only” ponds.

 

The TOP ponds stocked with brook trout for this spring in Cumberland County are listed below in alphabetical order:

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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.

 

 

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Ice fishing for landlocked Atlantic salmon on Moose Pond, Bridgton, Maine (February 13, 2017)

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View south down the middle basin of Moose Pond. I’ve got the place all to myself this morning! The sky is also completely overcast.

Moose Pond covers 1694 acres and is located in Bridgton (Cumberland County) and Denmark (Oxford County), Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 4 A3). A convenient public access point is available off Route 302 at the northeastern tip of the middle basin of the lake, right before the road crosses the water. Plenty of parking is available along the shoulder of the road. This pond supports a robust landlocked Atlantic salmon fishery which consistently produces 20+ inch fish. This species is the focus of my efforts today. However, ice fishing for salmon can be slow business. The reason is that the state stocks this species at a low rate (typically about one fish per two or three acres of lake) in order to preserve the local rainbow smelt populations, which represent the salmon’s main forage base, and to allow for decent growth. Hence, lots of patience is needed… Keep in mind that because of the popularity of this fishery with the local hard-water angling crowd and the easy access from Route 302, the regulations for Moose Pond during the ice fishing season stipulate a daily bag limit of one landlocked salmon with a minimum length of 16”. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information.

 

 

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Ice fishing for brown trout and largemouth bass on Little Sebago Lake, Gray, Maine (February 5, 2017)

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The boys with the toys have more fun!

Little Sebago Lake covers 1,898 acres and is located in Gray and Windham, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 C3).  The public access point is reached by driving north on Route 302 in Windham, turning right at the light (by Bob’s Seafood Restaurant) on Anglers Road, driving past Pettingill Pond, turning right on Woodland Road, and then turning right again on Mount Hunger Shore Road. Follow this road until you reach the boat launch. My son Joel and I decide to bring out the “side-by-side” vehicle and our two four-wheelers to give us mobility to bring his family and I out on the lake. We want to fish the south-facing shore of Ridgewood Island, located amongst a set of islands on the largest of the four bays that make up this beautiful lake.

 

 

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Ice fishing for yellow perch and pickerel on Panther Pond, Raymond, Maine (January 22, 2017)

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One happy camper!

The boy scout troop to which my nephew Christian belongs is having a winter camp-out at Camp Hinds located on beautiful Panther Pond in Raymond, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 B2). The boys are sleeping two nights in cabins and spending part of Saturday ice fishing. Previously, the leaders asked for volunteers to bring tip-ups, power augers, baitfish, and other gear to share with the kids. I can’t think of a better way of spending my Saturday morning than to express my love for hard-water angling and help kids get hooked on fishing!

 

 

 

 

 

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Best ice fishing ponds for catching large trout in Cumberland County, Maine (winter of 2017)

This blog highlights the ponds in Cumberland County which provide the best odds of catching larger stocked trout during the 2017 ice fishing season. About 15 ponds open to ice fishing in this county are stocked with trout each fall. Most of these fish are relatively small (7” to 12”), but plentiful, in order to provide fast action. The state also spiced up some of the ponds with larger trout, which are defined here as fish measuring 13” or more, and weighing at least 1 pound. Click here for tips to increase your chances of catching more brookies through the ice.

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Best ice fishing ponds for catching large trout in Androscoggin County, Maine (winter of 2017)

This blog highlights the ponds in Androscoggin County which provide the best odds of catching larger stocked trout during the 2017 ice fishing season. About ten ponds open to ice fishing in this county are stocked with trout each fall. Most of these fish are relatively small (7” to 12”), but plentiful, in order to provide fast action. The state also spiced up some of the ponds with bigger trout, which are defined here as fish measuring 13” or more, and weighing at least 1 pound. Click here for tips to increase your chances of catching more brookies through the ice.

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Ice fishing for brook trout on Otter Pond #4, Standish, Maine (December 18, 2016)

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We’re not the only ones interested in ice fishing the Otter Ponds this morning!!

Otter Pond #4 (a.k.a. Snake Pond) covers 6 acres and is located in Standish, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 D1). Click here for directions and here for a depth map. This blog identifies this small body of water as a top brook trout destination in Cumberland County for the 2017 ice fishing season. Both Otter Pond #4, and its larger sibling Otter Pond #2, are popular early ice fishing destinations in this part of southern Maine. The ponds reliably freeze over in December due to their small sizes and are also densely stocked with brook trout each fall. They represent the typical “put-and-take” winter trout fishery where the action is red-hot for the first three or four weeks of the hard-water season but then slows down considerably as more and more of the stocked brookies are harvested for the dinner table.

 

 

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TOP brook trout ponds for the 2017 ice fishing season in Cumberland County, Maine

The TOP brook trout ponds for the 2017 ice fishing season in Cumberland County are highlighted below (in alphabetical order).  A pond is considered “top” based on its stocking density. Simply put, the more trout are packed per acre, the higher the chances of catching them through the ice!

For the purpose of this blog, I’ll define a brook trout pond as a body of water with a surface area of less than 100 acres which is stocked in the fall with hatchery-reared brook trout to support ice fishing.  These ponds tend to freeze over early in the season and are typically safe to fish well before the bigger lakes become accessible. This provides early-action opportunities for those of us (myself included!) who just can’t wait to get the hard-water fishing season going. Click here for tips to increase your chances of catching more brookies through the ice.

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