Fishing for brook trout and rainbow trout on Knickerbocker Lake in Boothbay, Lincoln County, Maine (November 29, 2020)



View of Knickerbocker Lake looking to the right from the unimproved boat launch



Knickerbocker Lake is an 86-acre body of water located in Boothbay, Lincoln County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 7 C2). The public access point is located at the end of a dirt road called Access Road off Barters Island Road (just passed the Evergreen Cemetery) about a mile west of the Route 27 traffic circle in downtown Boothbay. A sign announcing “Knickerbocker Lake” used to hang at that turn-off but was missing when I visited. Drive down Access Road for about a quarter mile until you reach a small parking area. The lake is visible through the trees.



The alder trees leaning into the lake make wader fishing a real challenge in this section of Knickerbocker Lake



Knickerbocker Lake consists of a large eastern lobe and a smaller western lobe separated by a wooded island. The lobes are connected by two narrow and shallow thoroughfares. The eastern lobe, which contains the public access point, is moderately developed, whereas the western lobe is largely undeveloped. Access to the water is via an unimproved sandy launch which could accommodate a small trailered boat. Keep in mind that motors over 10 horse power are not allowed on the water. I visit this lake today because it was stocked on November 12, 2020 with 300 13″ brook trout (which translates to between 3 and 4 one-pound trout per acre), and on November 19, 2020 with twenty 23″ brood stock rainbow trout. I’d normally not bother fishing a lake stocked with less than four trout per acre, but the possibility of catching a big ole “stocker” trout makes the effort worthwhile. Fishing is allowed between October 1 and November 30 using artificial lures only and with the stipulation that all salmonids must be released at once. Click here for additional rules. The lake has a maximum and mean depth of 32 ft and 15 ft, respectively. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information



This big ol’ stocker bow definitely made my day!!



I arrive at Knickerbocker Lake at 11:30 am. It’s a gorgeous late-November day, with temps in the high 40’s, a bright-blue sky, and little or no wind. I layer up to stay warm, don my waders, grab my ultra-light spinning rod, and walk out to the access point to check out the conditions. I can either start wading to the right or to the left. I ice-fished this pond years ago and caught a nice rainbow trout along the shore a little ways to the left. That’s the direction I’m heading to. The water today has a strange silty-muddy-dirty color to it, as if the whole water column had been churned up recently. I’m wading towards a small rocky peninsula jutting out in the lake, all the while casting out my #2 bronze Mepps spinner. The going is slow because the bottom is soft, but I reach my destination about 20 minutes later. I step on a submerged bedrock ledge that juts out in the lake and continue casting. I get a hard hit, set the hook, and immediately feel a hefty fish struggling at the other end of my rod. OMG, I think I’ve caught me one of the brood-stock bows!! The fish fights low and I give it all the line it wants, so it takes a couple of minutes before I recognize the emerging shape. Yes sirree, it’s one of the big stocker trout!! I didn’t even hook it in the mouth but outside on one of its gill covers. That’s one lucky catch! This fish clearly came from the hatchery: its colors are pale and faded, instead of brilliant and catchy. It gets photographed and quickly released back to the water.



This 14″ brookie was icing on my sweet cake.



I’m pumped up by my lucky catch and continue wading around the small peninsula towards the southern end of Knickerbocker Lake. But I quickly run into problems. The substrate is quite soft in this area, the water gets deep rather quickly, and the shoreline is overgrown with alder trees that lean at steep angles into the lake. These conditions make wading and fishing unpleasant and hard, so I reluctantly turn around and head back to my starting point. I can’t resist the urge to make several more casts upon reaching the submerged bedrock ledge. And that pays off with a second hit of the day which yields a 14″ brook trout. I’ll definitely keep this spot in mind for a future ice-fishing trip! Overall, the action was slow today. I only had two bites and landed two trout, but the stocker bow made it all worthwhile. I do not recommend wader fishing in the direction I selected on account of the difficult access, and instead would turn to the right at the boat launch in order to fish that stretch of shoreline.



The results: I caught one brood stock rainbow trout (21″) and one 14″ brook trout in 1.5 hours of rewarding fishing.


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