Wilcox Pond is a 3-acre pond located next to Saint Joseph’s Cemetery on West Street in Biddeford, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 3 C2). This body of water is set aside as a “kids only” fishing pond. It is fishable under Special Regulation Code S-9, i.e., open to fishing only to kids under the age of 16, restricted to two lines per person, and a daily bag limit of two trout. Click here and here for more details on this topic. Every year, the state stocks it two or three times between early April and mid May with a total of between 300 and 400 10” brook trout. Do the math: this small body of water is loaded with brookies, which makes for an exciting fishing spot for young budding anglers! There is also the potential for catching larger hold-over trout because even though the pond is shallow (maximum depth = 6 ft), the bottom remains cool throughout the summer due to input from two cold-water inlets. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information.
Wilcox Pond can be reached two ways as follows: (a) drive into Saint Joseph’s Cemetery and stay on the driveway that runs parallel to West Street; park your car at the end of the driveway and walk about 50 ft to reach the pond, or (b) stay on West Street and drive past the pond until you reach the padlocked gate; park on the shoulder, and walk through the gate towards the pond on your right. I reach the pond with my 10-year old nephew Christian at 10:30 am. It’s overcast but this morning’s rain has stopped, there’s little or no wind, and the air temperature is in the high 50’s. I’m surprised that we have the pond all to ourselves, which is just fine with me. I’ve taken Christian bobber fishing to five different trout ponds so far this spring and he’s caught his limit every time. He’s really excited about fishing and getting more confident in his abilities. He declares on the drive in that he’s not going to need my help this morning!
We settle down by the granite-block retaining wall that runs parallel to West Street and which dams up Wilcox Pond (note: a chain-linked fence separates the road from the pond). It is by far the most convenient location to fish because the area is wide open and also faces the deepest part of the pond. Kids can cast their lines whichever way without getting stuck in branches. The only negative is that this spot is right next to a busy road; cars constantly whiz by which really takes away from the “nature” experience. We spend 1.5 hours intently watching Christian’s two bobbers, but nothing happens. He decides to try his luck along the shoreline on the left where he notices several casting spots through the trees. We spend about 30 minutes in one spot, but again without any bites. Darn, where are all the trout??
We move to his next selected spot along the shoreline. This one is a “hole through the branches”… I point out to Christian the five bobbers that already decorate the overhanging twigs, but he declares that this is indeed his lucky spot, which he names “Bobberhood”! He promptly adds a sixth bobber to the tree collection. He breaks his own rule by asking me to cast the line for him but I’m still not allowed to help bring in the fish! I agree and gladly oblige. His perseverance finally pays off. The bobber twitches, slides sideways, and sinks below the surface. Christian fumbles with the slack line in the branches, the small trout gets hooked, but unhooks when it reaches the shore. The exact same scenario plays out ten minutes later: another bite, followed by hooking, fumbling, and unhooking. It’s now past 1:30 pm and we have to leave in order to prepare for Mother’s Day celebration.
I’m really proud of Christian: he stuck it out for three slow hours, identified a good spot, stuck to his principles (well, almost), hooked but missed two brookies, worked through his disappointments, and yet was keen to keep on fishing. Could this be the beginning of a life-long passion?
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