Brook trout and landlocked Atlantic salmon fishing on Pierce Pond, Pierce Pond Township, Maine (May 26, 2016)

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Day 2: Thursday May 26, 2016


Good morning, Pierce Pond!

Good morning, Pierce Pond!

I drag myself out of my sleeping bag at 4:30 am for early-morning trolling. I like fishing at the crack of dawn because the bite can be quite good before the sun rises and drives the fish deeper. The weather is beautiful, with light wind, temps in the mid 50’s and full visibility. Regardless, I’m dressed like I’m going ice fishing. I know from experience that I feel cold this early in the day because I’m still half asleep, move little, and haven’t had breakfast or a hot beverage. All my efforts are for naught though because I do not get a single hit in the next two hours, either on the streamer flies or the Mooselook Wobbler spoons. Regardless, I deeply enjoy my “alone” time and like the experience of seeing a new day emerge from the night. I return to camp by 7 am. Joel and I prepare breakfast, which for me consists of a healthy portion of pancakes, scrambled eggs, and pork patties, washed down by two cups of hot tea. I’m fully awake now!




Joel and I both love the camping experience which creates an intimate connection to Pierce Pond.

Joel and I both love the camping experience which creates an intimate connection to Pierce Pond.



Our plan for this morning is to fish Otter Pond. It is one of a dozen or so smaller trout ponds located within the greater Pierce Pond watershed. This one is nicely stocked with brookies every fall and deserves a visit (click here for details). Unfortunately, we need to motor from our camp site all the way down to my truck at Lindsey Cove in Lower Pond, load Joel’s canoe on my boat trailer, and then drive around on logging roads for half an hour to reach the place. To our surprise, we run into a traffic jam at the dock at Lindsey Cove when we arrive at 10:30 am! Multiple people are in line to launch their boats, so we kill time by trolling around Lower Pond but generate no interest. The commotion quiets down after about an hour and we can finally make it to shore. We load Joel’s 18-ft craft on my small trailer and notice that the back end of the canoe sticks way out with only 6” of clearance. My trailer is simply too short. We start driving on the bumpy gravel road but Joel soon expresses his concern that his canoe will bounce into the road and be damaged. We agree to play it safe and turn around. Otter Pond will have to wait for another time…


A highly-unusual event! Upper Pond is wind still in mid-afternoon...

A highly-unusual event! Upper Pond is wind still in mid-afternoon…

Our morning is pretty much shot by now. Since we’re on Lower Pond anyway, we decide to check out the conditions by the outlet dam passed Gull Rock. This shallow area is in the sun but has a shaded shoreline containing lots of sunken wood and is protected from the wind, which promotes mayfly hatches and provides hiding places for trout. The flies are on the water but the fish are not on the flies… Ggrrr! Pierce Pond is playing difficult this year. We motor back up to our camp site on Upper Pond for lunch and arrive at 1:30 pm. The day is turning into a stunner, with full sunshine and gentle wind. We’re mighty glad to see that these conditions are promoting mayfly hatches left and right. And then, something magic happens. It becomes wind still even though the hot afternoon sun is cooking the atmosphere!! The mayflies are really coming out now. Joel and I excitedly buzz out in mid-afternoon to go dry flying. But oddly enough, we don’t observe any rises anywhere on Upper Pond, which is quite unsettling given the obvious hatching activity… We surmise that the bright sunshine is pushing all the fish way down into the water column. We’ve experienced that phenomenon before and hope that things will turn around at sunset this evening (click here and here for examples). Frustrated, we give up dry flying at 4 pm and start trolling around Upper Pond for an hour and a half. Joel hooks, but misses, a small landlocked salmon on a Mooselook Wobbler spoon trolled 20 ft deep. The fish makes two jumps and shakes off the hook. That is the extent of our combined fishing success so far today…


The way Life should be: catching a landlocked salmon on a dry fly!

The way Life should be: catching a landlocked salmon on a dry fly!

However, the evening turns magic, as we were hoping. It is still wind still and the fish have started rising to the surface in response to the lower light levels from the setting sun to feed on the multitude of mayflies left over from the strong afternoon hatches. We are each using our own boat to give us ample room for fly fishing. Joel picks an area with lots of rises but catches three Triple F’s (F*cking Fallfish) in a row and soon moves elsewhere! We both hit Heaven in the next area of the bay, except that Joel is the lucky one this evening. I get five rises on my flies (I use a mayfly and spinner fly in tandem) but each time fail to connect with the fish. Joel is having the same problem but ends up hooking into and landing a 17” landlocked salmon. It’s funny how some fish have their own minds. This one fought entirely like a book trout, staying deep and making strong runs without a single jump. We reluctantly give up and motor back to camp when darkness starts to envelop us.


The story continues here.


The results: I got skunked today and Joel landed a 17” landlocked salmon.

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