Brook trout and landlocked Atlantic salmon fishing on Pierce Pond, Pierce Pond Township, Maine (May 25 and 26, 2015)

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Click here for details on the first two days of this awesome trip.


Day 3: Monday May 25, 2015


Lower Pierce Pond looks gorgeous in the early-morning light

Lower Pierce Pond looks gorgeous in the early-morning light

My alarm goes off at 4:30 am, beckoning me out of bed for another morning troll. I wake up Salvy, who is a trooper this year by deciding to join me at this ungodly hour. Incidentally, we dress up almost like we’re going ice-fishing. The outside temperature is in the low to mid 40’s. We need to seriously layer up because we’re still half asleep, haven’t had breakfast yet or drank any hot beverages (and the Jägermeister shots are dispensed AFTER breakfast, not before!!) and are going to sit motionless in a small boat on a cold lake for the next two hours. We leave the dock at 5 am. The sky is completely overcast but it is fortunately wind still. I cherish these early mornings with my nephew: it gives us a chance to talk about our work, our families, our future plans. But we’re also here for business! We both use two rods: one is connected to a small portable downrigger attached to the side of my boat, while the other consists of a lead core line. Each rod is also fishing two different lures, with the back lure connected to the hook of the front lure by about two ft of monofilament. The down rigger rod uses two spoons (typically some kind of Mooselook and DB smelt) and the lead core rod uses two streamer flies (a combination of the Grey Ghost, Governor Aiken, or Winnipesaukee Smelt). This approach puts a total of eight lures in the water anywhere from 5 ft to 15 ft deep and allows us to cover a lot of terrain. Note that I don’t put the streamer flies on the down rigger. Instead, I like to fish these lures using my lead core line because I can hold the rod and constantly move (“rip”) the line back and forth to provide action and erratic movement to the flies. The spoons, on the other hand, provide their own twisting movement, even when dragged along attached to a 5-lb lead weight. My rod connected to the downrigger starts shaking 20 minutes into the troll. I set the hook and bring in a baby 14” salmon. That, unfortunately, is the only action we see until our return at the dock by 7 am. But at least I won’t be skunked today!



Off to Upper Pierce Pond for the afternoon

Off to Upper Pierce Pond for the afternoon



Joel, Salvy and I motor away at 9:15 am after picking up our lunch sandwiches from the kitchen and downing our daily good-luck ration of Jägermeister and Red Bull. Jim is feeling better this morning but decides not to push his luck. He’s going to spend the morning at camp to make sure that he is fully recovered from his intestinal bug. The three of us start our day on Pickerel Pond in the hope of catching one of the legendary brook trout that live in there (click here for details). We fish our hearts out for about 2.5 hours using little streamer flies cast with floating lines towards submerged structure along the shoreline. All that effort yields eight … freakin’ pickerel!! We leave the pond disappointed and return to camp to have lunch and pick up Jim for the afternoon. Jim will fish with Salvy and I’ll fish with Joel. The wind, while not as awful as the last two days, is still strong and persistent. We motor to Upper Pierce Pond because we haven’t been up there since our arrival on Saturday. Our first stop is at Brandy Reef, which is a sunken island at the upper end of Upper Pierce Pond. The water on top of the reef is no more than 1 ft deep, but the water around this structure is 15-20 ft deep. If conditions are right, mayflies emerge from the sandy bottom on the reef and are blown off the reef into the deeper surrounding water where the brookies and landlocks are patrolling for a quick snack. We see neither mayfly hatches nor rises, and the wind is too stiff to cast properly.


This landlocked salmon could just as well have been caught by Joel!

This landlocked salmon could just as well have been caught by Joel!

We move on into the Back Channel, which is a shallow (< 10 ft deep) waterway that runs behind Big Island in Upper Pierce Pond. It offers refuge from the wind and funnels trout and salmon that swim in from deeper water on either end looking for mayflies. Joel and I lower the anchor in a promising-looking spot, whereas Salvy and Jim move into the entrance of the Back Channel. We see a few tentative rises in our area but no hits on our flies and give up after about 30 minutes. We put-put our way to Salvy and Jim to discuss our next move. They, on the other hand, find themselves in a wind-still location in the middle of a mayfly hatch! We quietly position ourselves a little ways off and join them on what is the most exciting way to fish with dry flies. i.e., casting after rises. We are surrounded by multiple surface-feeding fish. Salvy is the first one to land a fish, a small 14” landlocked salmon. Joel and I get several hits on our flies, which results in two 14” landlocked salmon for me. The second fish was particularly fun to catch. We saw a series of “straight line” rises, represented by a single fish sipping flies from the surface while swimming in a particular direction. So, we both cast our flies about 5 ft apart from each other where we anticipate the next rise to be, and the fish selects my fly instead of his! Fly fishing doesn’t get more exciting than this! We reluctantly buzz off at 5:30 pm to make it back on time for dinner at the lodge. Frank, a new guest, joins us at our table. Him and I decide to fish together after dinner. He uses a technique I hadn’t practiced before: “speed stripping” with a small streamer fly attached to a floating line. He caught nine fish that way this afternoon, so I’m all ears! The aim is to cast out the streamer fly and then bring it back to the boat by stripping line as fast as possible to mimic a fleeing baitfish. It’s intensive work because I cast and strip, cast and strip, cast and strip. Unfortunately, neither Frank nor I generate a single hit in 1.5 hours of intensive late-evening fishing. The looming darkness and a growing drizzle beckon us back to camp.


The results for today: I caught three 13”-14” landlocked salmon, Salvy caught one 14” landlocked salmon, and Joel and Jim were skunked!


Day 4: Tuesday May 26, 2015


Salvy's reward!

Salvy’s reward!

How time flies when we’re having fun! The fourth, and last, day of our Pierce Pond escapade, is already upon us. It’s been raining on and off for much of the night, but the rain has moved on by the time Salvy and I get out of bed at 4:30 am for our last morning troll. It’s overcast, but dry and wind still. We do our usual two-hour circuit in Lower Pierce Pond. Salvy’s perseverance is finally rewarded this morning: he hooks and lands a 14” and 17” landlocked salmon who fell for a Mooselook spoon fished 10 ft deep on the down rigger. The streamer flies, on the other hand, have done nothing for us this year. We return to camp at 7 am to eat breakfast and tell our fishing stories (always the best part of any meal!). Afterwards, we pack up our stuff and clear out our cabin. We know it’s the end of a good time because we’ve consumed all the remaining Jägermeister yesterday and therefore can no longer perform our ritual morning shot…




Only 17 inches, but fought like a fish double its size!

Only 17 inches, but fought like a fish double its size!

We all head out unto the lake at 9:30 am. The sun is out but the wind has once again picked up. Joel and Salvy fish without luck and return to camp at 11 am to pick up their belongings and head back home, whereas Jim and I won’t be departing until 3 pm. We check out a couple of places in Lower Pierce Pond but the wind is again not playing nice. We head back to the dam by the outlet in the hope of finding some shelter. The conditions aren’t perfect but we can fly fish. We see no surface activity but cast our dry flies anyway towards the shoreline which is littered with sunken branches and tree trunks. I get a hit after about 20 minutes, which quickly develops into one of the best contests I’ve ever experienced on Pierce Pond! I appear to have hooked a small tank which is ripping line off my reel. I’m unable to bring the fish to the surface or turn it. I’m also careful not to put too much pressure on the line because I don’t want to lose this one!! Ever so slowly (it took me 6 minutes to get the beast next to the boat), the fish emerges and I realize what’s going on… I’m using two flies tied in tandem: the first is a mayfly imitation, to which is attached a “spinner” representing a drowned mayfly with its wings lying flat in the water. When the trout hit the first fly – and I set the hook – the spinner somehow swung around and hooked the fish in its flank behind the gill cover. Hence, the brookie was constantly swimming sideways, which made it feel like twice as big as its not-too-shabby 17 inches. So, it wasn’t quite the behemoth I thought I had hooked but it was still a memorable fight… We spend the last two hours at the same location trying to catch another trout which is conspicuously sipping bugs from the surface. What a rush trying to place our flies in just the right position and anticipating a bite! I got one hit out of it, which caused the fish to become weary and avoid our offerings at all costs. Unfortunately, the time has come when we have to motor back to camp to pick up our stuff and head to our car to return to real life! Thanks, Pierce Pond, we had another fantastic time and we’ll be back next year.


The results for today: I caught a 17” brookie, Salvy caught a 14” and 17” landlocked Atlantic salmon, and both Joel and Jim were skunked!


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