Hollis School Memorial Pond is a tiny (0.25 acre) pond located right across from the Hollis Elementary School on Town Farm Road off Route 35 in Hollis (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 2 A5, but the pond is not shown; navigate to the spot using Google Maps instead). About 75% of the pond is ringed with cattails, leaving the remainder of the shoreline open for easy access. Note that several bright red plastified paper signs affixed to surrounding trees state that the pond is fishable only by kids 15 years and younger. A check of the Maine fishing rules (available here) does not show that the pond is regulated as a kids fishing pond, so I suspect that this restriction reflects a town ordnance. Every year, Hollis School Memorial Pond is stocked once in April and once in May with about 100 10” brook trout each time. Do the math: this miniscule body of water is stocked with an average of around 800 brookies per acre each spring!! This makes it one of the best-stocked ponds in the entire State of Maine. I doubt, however, that any of these trout survive the hot summer months because the pond appears to be relatively shallow.
I arrive at Hollis School Memorial Pond with my wife, my five-year old granddaughter Ariana and ten-year old nephew Christian at around 11:30 am. We find plenty of parking alongside Town Farm Road. It’s a gorgeous Sunday, with full sunshine and air temps in the low 60’s but with a stiff southeastern breeze. We’ve got the little pond all to ourselves. Ariana is immediately fascinated by the huge bullfrog tadpoles which are sunning themselves in the shallows along the shoreline. She also screams from excitement when she finds adult bullfrogs hiding among the aquatic vegetation. She sincerely tries to cajole one of the critters to come to her, but they scamper away as soon as they see her shadow…
Christian focuses on the task at hand, and starts fishing with a bobber and worms. The bite is slow, even though I was expecting the pond to be overflowing with trout… There’re nibbles here and there, but no serious takers. He does catch his first fish after about 45 minutes, except that it’s a big golden shiner. Meanwhile, Ariana has discovered a cache of frog eggs, which she insists need to come home so that she can grow them out to bring to school for show-and-tell. She’s excitedly collecting water, gravel, and aquatic vegetation to place in the plastic bag with the eggs.
It’s midday, the sun is blazing high in the sky and we see no fish activity, so I suspect that the trout must be hiding deep and on the bottom. I adjust the depth of Christian’s bobber to about 5 ft to get his baited hook lower in the water column. And that’s the ticket: he catches two small brookies in about 15 minutes’ time. He’s just tickled to pieces with his catch. We convince Ariana that she should place the frog eggs back in the pond because they would otherwise miss their mommies when they become tadpoles. The argument works after a bit of cajoling and she’s happy to release her new friends back where they belong. Life is good and we’re off to fish at another pond this afternoon.
The results: Christian caught a big golden shiner and two small brookies after 2 hours of fishing.
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