Trout fishing on Deer Pond, Hollis, Maine (November 14, 2015)

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The boat launch with view of the northern shore

The boat launch of Deer Pond with a view of the northern shore

Deer Pond is a 32-acre body of water located in the town of Hollis, York County (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 2 A5). The town-owned access point, which is not shown on the map, is located at the southern end of the pond right off busy Route 117 (Cape Road). Driving east on Route 117, look for a long brown wooden fence on the left. The access point, which is not posted, is located on the left at the end of that fence. The gravel boat launch is quite adequate and can accommodate small trailed boats. Parking is on the shoulder of Route 117, and rather limited. I would not recommend leaving a vehicle in the access area due to the presence at the end of the boat launch of a surface water intake for fire-fighting purposes.





For the first two hours, I troll in deeper waters to avoid getting stuck on the submerged vegetation.

I troll in deeper waters for the first two hours to avoid getting snagged by the submerged vegetation.

Deer Pond, with a maximum and mean depth of 65 ft and 16 ft, is quite deep for its relatively small size. It is also well developed, with about two dozen permanent homes and summer cottages dotting its shoreline. The surface water is crystal clear. The substrate is a mixture of solid or mucky bottom, depending on location. The floating/emerging vegetation has all died out for the season but plenty of submerged vegetation carpets the bottom in the shallow areas. The pond is well-known locally for the quality of its trout fishing.  Every fall, the state stocks it with plenty of brown trout and brook trout. I checked the latest stocking report (click here) before starting my trip to make sure that I’d hit the pond at the right time.  Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information.  Click here to learn more about the trout fishing rules that apply to this pond in the fall.




A small but well-fed brown trout!

A small but fat brown trout!

I arrive at the Deer Pond access point by 7:30 am. I’m fishing without one of my fishing buddies today. As expected, I have the place all to myself, except for two local kids who are fishing from shore. It’s a typical brisk mid-November morning with air temps in the high 30’s. I’m dressed like I’m going ice-fishing and am glad for it! The sun is out but a brutal northwest wind blows over the pond right in the direction of the boat launch. The water is also two feet lower than normal and makes the area around the launch too shallow to start the engine. Thank goodness that I brought a paddle with me because otherwise the wind would have prevented me from getting out! It takes me 10 minutes of heavy grunting and much cursing against the awful wind before I reach 3 ft of depth to safely start my outboard engine. I’m finally ready to get on with the business of fishing at 8 am. All of this work and effort better be worth it!




Brookies are just so beautiful in their fall spawning colors

Brookies are just so beautiful in their fall spawning colors (note the yellow eggs on the bottom of the boat)

My original game plan is to troll close to the shoreline 5 ft below the surface in about 10 ft of water with small trout spoons using both a regular fishing rod attached to a portable down rigger and a heavy fly fishing rod paired up with lead core. Each rig is fished with two spoons, with one attached to the hook of the other by about 2 ft of monofilament. That idea quickly goes to shreds because my lures constantly snag the luxuriant submerged vegetation. I eliminate the lead core line so as to concentrate exclusively on the down rigger, with which it is easier to control fishing depth. I also move a bit more off shore to fish in 15-20 ft of water with my lures placed about 10 ft down (note that a depth finder is a critical piece of equipment when trolling…). I slowly circle the pond several times over the next two hours, and catch four brook trout and one brown trout, all measuring between 12” and 14”. I’m quite excited about this result, particularly because the brook trout are gorgeous in their fall colors. All of them also squirt out eggs or milt, showing that they are ready for the spawn.





This big gall alerted me to fishing the shallow, weedy shoreline

This big gall alerted me to fishing the shallow, weedy shoreline

I’m approaching the shallow area along the eastern shoreline of Deer Pond and want to scoot across to the southern side. Instead of veering into the deeper part of the pond to bypass the submerged vegetation, like I did earlier, I simply bring up my downrigger weight to 1 ft below the surface to prevent my lures from getting snagged and take a short-cut right through the shallow area. Within less than one minute, my rod twitches vigorously and I hook and land a really nice 16” brookie! Mmm, was that a fluke or a signal? I cast my lures out again (I’m in about 6 ft of water now), clip the line to the ball and crank it down one foot below the surface. I hook another trout 30 seconds later, except that this one is smaller. One fish could be plain old luck, but two fish are a pattern! I motor back up along the eastern shoreline, reposition the boat in 7 ft of water, bring my lures down 1 ft, and quickly hook a third brookie, and then a fourth one! That’s four trout in about 20 minutes!! I’m going after my fifth trout in a row when the wind suddenly picks up and pushes the boat sideways, causing my shallow-running line to catch the propeller and brake off… Oh well, it’s about time to head back home anyway and I enjoyed great fishing this morning. After I place my boat on the trailer back on shore, I notice fishing line sticking out from around the propeller and into the water. Great! Hopefully, my two lures are still attached.  I grab the line and feel twitching as I manually bring it in. A fifth brookie is hooked on one of the lures! It goes to show that if the fish decide to be suicidal, they’ll catch themselves, even if the fishing rod consists of an outboard engine : – )



The results: I caught 9 brook trout (largest = 16”) and one brown trout in 2.5 hours of fantastic late fall fishing.


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