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Stanley Pond is a three-lobed, 137-acre body of water located next to Route 160 in Hiram, Oxford County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 4 C2). It is accessible via the boat launch located in the lower lobe next to the outlet on Tripptown Road off Route 160. This pond has a reputation for producing large rainbow trout. Visit the website linked to this blog for more information on this and the 600+ other ponds that are stocked with trout and/or landlocked salmon throughout Maine.
My son Joel and I arrive at the boat launch at 7:30 am. Several people are fishing from shore by the dam at the outlet. Two other parties have already launched their boats to go trolling. We quickly join them and are excited by the prospect of hooking into a nice rainbow or two… Our game plan today is to troll our way up to the inlet located in the upper lobe. This short inlet connects Trafton Pond with Stanley Pond. We suspect that the trout may be congregating in that general area in response to the increased spring flow. We’ll be trolling with small live minnows placed on a sliding hook rig, with one hook in the mouth and a small terminal treble hook in the anal vent. I like this approach because the bait is presented in a most natural way. The water temperature this morning is 44°F, the sun is out, but we have to deal with a cold, stiff northwest breeze. My goodness, it’s downright nippy!
We see no action at all on our way up. We troll along the shoreline of the upper lobe and finally reach the outlet area. On our second pass, Joel suddenly stands up excitedly and points to a rise behind me. Something big rolled on the surface, exposing its large dorsal fin, and then disappeared. I like such signs! We enter the shallow outlet area when Joel’s rod suddenly shakes and the line is released from the downrigger clip. There’s nothing at the other end except a bait missing its tail! The trout missed the treble hook by a hair. We loiter in the area but see no more action.
We decide to motor up the outlet to cast small spinners in the flowing water by the culvert. Joel, who’s wearing his polarized glasses, suddenly gets all excited. He points to his left side and exclaims in a hushed voice: “Look, dad, look, a dozen rainbow trout!” Sure enough, the fish, with their distinct pink line, are all hugging the stream bank just outside of the main current. We fumble with our rods but spook all the trout before the first spinner hits the water. We were just too close to them. We get out of the boat and walk upstream to the gravel road. A large pool backs up behind the culvert, and what do we see swimming in that pool? A big fat brookie!! We cast our spinners but they don’t elicit any interest. We go fetch our live minnows and present them at the end of a hook to our new friend, who pretends to be interested but never pounches. Damn, this fish is jaded. We give up and instead focus our efforts in the shallow cove at the end of the outlet by the lake, in the hope that the fish we spooked are hanging on there, but they’re not.
We troll back towards the boat launch, but this time we place our live bait between 20 and 40 ft down, just to try something else. I also drag a small spoon just underneath the surface behind the boat. It gets hit once but doesn’t yield a fish. We now approach the thoroughfare between the middle and lower lobe. I bring up my live bait and swim it 2 ft below the surface in preparation for boating through that shallow area. Boum! Another hit right before the passage unclips the line from my downrigger. The only results are four teeth marks on my bait’s tail, right behind the treble hook… Another close call, but no cigar.
It’s just about noon and time to head home. Jeeez, did Joel and I see trout this morning! They’re definitely becoming more active, and I’m hopeful that we’ll hit the jackpot on our next trip.
The results: Joel and I were both skunked after 4.5 hours of fishing.
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