The boys are having a good time horsing around on the glare ice!
Thompson’s Ice Pond is a miniscule 1-acre body of water located in the town of South Bristol, Lincoln County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 7 C3, but the pond is not shown due to its small size). The pond is situated at the intersection of Route 129, which runs between Damariscotta and South Bristol, and McFarlands Cove Road. I recommend searching Google Maps for “Thompson’s Ice House, South Bristol, Maine” to see its actual location. Note that a depth map is not available. Thompson’s Ice Pond is a small shallow reservoir associated with the Thompson Ice House Harvesting Museum, which is on the National Registry of Historic Places. Plenty of parking space is available next to the pond. Why bother with such a small potato? A review of the 2020 fish stocking report issued by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife shows that this tiny pond received 250 8” brookies and 50 13” brookies last fall. Do the math. That works out to an astonishing 300 brook trout per acre! Beware that between October 1 and May 31, the pond is reserved exclusively for kids under 16 years old using only two lines per person (click here for more details).
Trickey Pond is a 311-acre body of water located in Naples, Cumberland County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 4 B5). Public access is through a high-quality boat launch located right off Route 114 at the southern end of the pond. Ample parking is available. The pond and I are old acquaintances. I have ice fished it multiple times over the last 25 years (click here and here for recent examples) on account of its high-quality salmon, splake, and smallmouth bass fishery. In fact, I’ve caught my largest landlocked salmon (5.5 pounds) and splake (4.5 pounds) through the ice out of this pond. However, beware that even though the quality of the fish is high, the quantity is extremely low… One definitely has to put in the time to decipher this little gem and earn the right to land a fish.
The blue access sign to Riley Dam is clearly visible from the road
It was so much fun catching lunker smallmouth bass yesterday on the Androscoggin River below the Jay Hydroelectric Power Plant in Jay that I decided I needed another dose of where that drug came from (click here for tips on how to catch these magnificent fighters)! My fishing effort today is on a short stretch of the Androscoggin River flowing just below the Riley Dam Power Plant which sits about one mile upstream of the Verso paper mill in Jay in Franklin County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 19 E5). To reach the public access point, drive north into Jay on Route 4/17 and then turn left on Route 140. Drive for exactly 3.2 miles on this road until you reach the unnamed turn-off to the put-in for Riley Dam. That location is clearly marked by a blue sign next to the road. Plenty of parking is available. Keep in mind that this put-in can only accommodate hand-carried craft as it lacks an actual boat launch.
One of the three dams which stretches across the Androscoggin River in Jay.
My attention this afternoon is on the Androscoggin River flowing through Jay in Franklin County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 19 E5). The river between the towns of Rumford in Oxford County (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 19 E1) and Livermore Falls in Androscoggin County (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 11 A5) supports a nationally-renown fishery for trophy smallmouth bass (click here for an example). My mission is to place some of those lunker fish in my boat!! Click here for tips on how to catch these magnificent fighters. Continue reading →
The TOP brook trout ponds for the 2017 ice fishing season in Cumberland County are highlighted below (in alphabetical order). A pond is considered “top” based on its stocking density. Simply put, the more trout are packed per acre, the higher the chances of catching them through the ice!
For the purpose of this blog, I’ll define a brook trout pond as a body of water with a surface area of less than 100 acres which is stocked in the fall with hatchery-reared brook trout to support ice fishing. These ponds tend to freeze over early in the season and are typically safe to fish well before the bigger lakes become accessible. This provides early-action opportunities for those of us (myself included!) who just can’t wait to get the hard-water fishing season going. Click here for tips to increase your chances of catching more brookies through the ice.
Berry Pond is a 170-acre body of water located in the towns of Wayne and Winthrop, Maine (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 12 C2). The public access point is found at the northern end of the pond, next to Route 133. Only hand-carried crafts can be released from this point. Beware that the launch itself is a muddy mess consisting of a wobbly gang plank and a couple of broken wooden pallets floating on the mud. These conditions may not be as bad in the spring and fall when the water levels are higher. The parking area is extensive and can accommodate many cars. The lack of a hard-top boat launch means that the pond is lightly fished. I also notice only a handful of pontoon boats on the water, indicating that motorized boat traffic is minimal. There’s one fly in this sweet ointment, though… The traffic on Route 133 is incessant. It generates intrusive road noise which impinges on the otherwise peaceful setting.
A gorgeous view of Farrington Pond with White Mountain National Forest as a backdrop
Farrington Pond is an 89-acre body of water located in Lovell, Oxford County (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 10 D1). The pond, which is just north of the lower bay of Kezar Lake, is situated off F Road, which itself is located off West Lovell Road. Beware that the sign for F Road consists only of a small ivory white placard with the letter “F” on it. Next to it is a bigger painted wooden sign that reads “Timber Bay Shores; Private Road”, which throws me off because it makes it sound like F Road is a private road. However, I check with a local resident who assures me that F Road is public, which turns out to be the case. The public access point is clearly marked and located 0.3 miles down F Road on the right (just past Lady Slipper Drive). The launch itself is about 400 ft from the wooded parking area down a rough forest trail. Only hand-carried crafts can be launched from that spot. The parking area is in the woods and can accommodate several cars.
Splashing in the water at one of the beaches at Sebago Lake State Park
The glorious July 4th weekend is once again upon us all. My family is spending the long weekend camping at Sebago Lake State Park, located at the north end of Sebago Lake (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 4 C5). Things are quite hectic at camp, with the grandchildren running around, and the grilling, swimming, and socializing. My son Joel and I decide to get up at 5:30 am and sneak out for a couple of hours of lake trout fishing before the bulk of the family wakes up and gets ready for breakfast. At this time of the year, the lake trout have abandoned the warm shallow waters (click here for details) and seek refuge in the ice-cold waters (< 50°F) found below the thermocline. This layer represents the sharp temperature boundary between the less-dense warmer surface waters and the denser and much colder water in the deep zone. I do not know exactly how far down the Sebago Lake thermocline is located. A high-quality fish finder should show a faint line on the screen representing the boundary where the change in water density is most abrupt; my fish finder mustn’t be sensitive enough because I can’t pick up the thermocline…. Based on the presence of numerous fish marked in 40 to 80+ ft of water this morning, I’m guessing that the thermocline is around 30-40 ft deep, which makes sense based on a review of historic summer water-column temperature data for Sebago Lake published online. Note that the thermocline, once it is fully established in early summer, might move deeper by a few feet but is otherwise extremely stable and constant until late fall (with a few limnological exceptions, which I will not bore you with…).
Crystal Lake (a.k.a. Dry Pond) is a 189-acre body of water located in Gray, Cumberland County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 B3). This relatively small lake is heavily developed, particularly along its western shoreline, but sustains a popular regional salmonid fishery consisting of rainbow trout, brown trout and brook trout. The state stocks the lake annually with these three species to sustain their populations. It is also the location for a popular annual ice fishing derby (click here for more details) attended by several thousand people each year. A hard-top boat ramp is located at the southern end of the lake off Mayberry Road. The town of Gray also maintains a public beach and swimming area right next to this ramp. Ample parking is available across from the launch. All in all, this lake is a busy spot but well worth a visit in the spring on account of its superb trout fishing. I’ll note here that, in the past, I have caught rainbow trout trolling on this water body well into July, which is evidence of the high quality of this fishery. Crystal Lake has a maximum and average depth of 59 ft and 25 ft, respectively. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information.
The eastern shoreline of Panther Pond, with Betty’s Neck in the left background.
Some of the best smallmouth bass fishing on Maine lakes occurs in mid-spring when the fish are moving in-shore to prepare to lay their eggs. Typical smallmouth bass spawning habitat consists of a clean, rocky and bouldery shoreline in 2 to 10 ft of water, with easy access to nearby deeper water. The fish start moving in these shallows when the water temperature reaches the low 50’s in early May. Actual spawning typically starts towards the end of May when the water temperature hovers between the high 50’s and mid 60’s. The smallmouths feed aggressively in May in order to fatten up in preparation for the spawn. The goal, therefore, is to position oneself at the right place and the right time, using the right lure and the right fishing technique, in order to take advantage of this short window of opportunity.