Landlocked Atlantic salmon (also known simply as “landlocked salmon” in Maine) are a highly-desirable species to catch while ice fishing because they are great fighters, can grow big, and taste delicious! But it is also a challenge to catch them consistently because they live in large lakes, roam great distances in search of food, are difficult to pinpoint, and are stocked at low levels in order not to deplete their forage base. Follow the strategies below to maximize your chances of hooking one of these magnificent creatures.
A beautiful 5.0 lbs landlocked salmon caught on March 11, 2012 by your blog author on Trickey Pond, Naples, Maine.
View of Cold Rain Pond from the public access point
Cold Rain Pond is located in Naples (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 4 B5). Access to this pond is as follows: hang a left onto Kimball Corner Road when driving north on Route 114/11 in North Sebago. Turn left on Tiger Hill Road after just over 3 miles. This road is located across from Lake House Road (look for the sculptures of three black bears). The access point to the pond, which is on the left after about 0.5 mile, consists of an unimproved launch which cannot accommodate trailered boats. Be aware that Tiger Hill Road is rough, rutted, and bouldery, and may require a 4X4 vehicle.
Joel and I decide to again visit Otter Pond #2 in Standish (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 D1) after our successful trout fishing experience last week (click here on how to access this 12-acre pond). The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife nicely stocks the pond with a truckload of brook trout each spring and fall. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information.
General view of Otter Pond #2, with the railroad tracks in the background
Otter Pond #2 is located in Standish (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 D1). This pond is one of four small ponds located right off Route 35 (Chadbourne Road). Access to the pond is on foot from the two parking lots located on either side of the bridge over the old railroad tracks. The shortest way in is to walk about a quarter mile on the tracks until the pond appears on the right. Joel and I instead take the long way in (> 0.5 mile), via the Mountain Division Trail which starts at the largest of the two parking lots. We are wheeling Joel’s canoe, and all our fishing gear, on this nice gravel road which passes next to Otter Pond #2. Our goal today is to troll for trout.
Contrary to popular lore, smallmouth and largemouth bass do bite under the ice. In fact, I’ve caught some of my biggest bass that way! But we have to adjust our tactics in response to the wintery conditions. The fish congregate on the bottom and are lethargic and slow. They only eat a small fraction of what they would normally eat in the summer. But here’s the thing: they do need to feed and can therefore be caught. Below are some ways to catch more bass under the ice.