Ice fishing on Long Lake in Naples, Maine (January 20, 2018)

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View of Long Lake from Pine Island looking north.

Long Lake covers 4,867 acres and is located in the towns of Naples, Bridgeton, and Harrison in Cumberland County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 4 AB5). This lake, which is the second-largest body of water in southern Maine, is aptly named as it stretches for 11 miles from north to south. It also has a well-deserved reputation as a “windy” lake on account of its long but narrow morphology and its northwest to southeast orientation which roughly matches the prevailing wind direction. My son Joel and his family are spending the weekend winter camping in their pop-up trailer at the Colonial Mast Campground located next to Mast Cove right off Route 302 about 3 miles north of Naples. He asked me earlier in the week if I wanted to join him and the fam on Saturday morning for some ice fishing.

 

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Ice fishing for brook trout on Silver Lake in Phippsburg, Maine (January 13, 2018)

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General View of Silver Lake. Note the gloomy sky and the glare ice.

Silver Lake covers 12 acres and is located in Phippsburg, Sagadahoc County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 6 E5; note that the lake is shown on the map but is not specifically named). To reach this pond, drive on Route 209 from Bath towards Popham Beach State Park. Pass the state park entrance and drive for another 0.5 miles. The pond will be visible on your right from the road. Keep in mind that parking in this general area is tricky. I found no place to leave a vehicle behind on Route 209 across from the pond. Instead, your best option is to turn right on Hunnewell Avenue just before reaching the pond. A vehicle could be parked at that split, or further down that road. I do not know what the parking situation would be on Hunnewell Avenue after a snow storm. We’ve had several warm days before today so that a lot of snow has melted, allowing me to park tight against the remaining snow banks without obstructing local traffic.

 

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Ice fishing for landlocked Atlantic salmon on Bear Pond in Waterford, Maine (January 8, 2017)

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Bear Mountain looms large over Bear Pond. Route 35 runs along the base of this mountain.

Bear Pond covers 218 acres and is located in Waterford, Oxford County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 10 E4). The pond sits right next to Route 35 (Waterford Road) in the shadow of Bear Mountain. Access to the ice is from the boat launch off Route 35. The area in front of the launch is nicely plowed and can easily accommodate half a dozen vehicles. Anglers can also gain access to the ice with their vehicles from the launch. This pond has several advantages: (a) it is easily accessible from the road, (b) the fishing is good around the launch area and does not require walking out too far on the ice, and (c) it was stocked last fall with three different salmonid species, namely landlocked Atlantic salmon, splake, and brook trout. My plan is to target all three species. The salmon are pelagic creature which prefer to chase smelt, their main food item, over deeper water. Splake are a cross between brook trout and lake trout, and show behavioral characteristics of both, i.e., they feed both over deeper water and in shallower areas. Brook trout prefer shoreline areas.

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Ice fishing for brook trout on Levenseller Pond in Lincolnville, Maine (December 30, 2017)

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View of Levenseller Pond from one of the plowed pull-outs along Route 173. One can stay warm in the car while keeping an eye on the tip-ups.

Levenseller Pond covers 35 acres and is located on the boundary between Lincolnville and Searsmont in Waldo County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 14 C3). The pond is situated right next to Route 173 (Lincolnville Avenue), which has three separate plowed pull-out areas where one can park a vehicle and observe the tip-ups from inside a warm car. The forecast calls for brutally-cold temperatures this morning, so I want to have the option of hiding in my vehicle, if necessary. My goal today is to catch a few of the 200 one-pound brook trout that were stocked last fall. I’m also secretly hoping to ice one of the 30 four-pound brood stock brookies that were also released last fall. That would really make my day! The pond provides a typical winter “put-and-take” trout fishery. It has a mean and maximum depth of only 6 ft and 10 ft, respectively (click here for a depth map and more fishery information). Hence, any trout that survive the winter and spring fishing onslaught are sure to succumb during the warm summer months. I also suspect that the catch rate quickly drops over time as more and more trout are harvested through the ice. So, hit this pond early in the hard water season! Finally, the ice fishing rules fall under the general regulation laws.

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