Fishing for brook trout on Chaffin Pond in Windham, Cumberland County, Maine (November 1, 2019)

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The first brookie of the morning. I’m on to something!

 

Chaffin Pond is a pretty 13-acre body of water located in Windham, Maine (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 C2). Access is super-easy! Drive on Route 302 north into Windham, pass the Home Depot sign (Franklin Drive) and take the next right on Chaffin Pond Reserve Drive (Donnabeth Lippman Park) just before the Sherman Williams store. Our target is a couple of 100 ft down that ruddy dirt road. Ample parking is available. The pond and its surrounding woods once belonged to the Portland Water District which prevented any development (except for a few groundwater pump houses). The area is now a well-used municipal park where young and old come to picnic, walk the many trails, use the playground, or fish, literally smack in the middle of Windham’s busy business district!

 

I just love those spawning colors!

 

A number of my blog readers asked me about places in southern and central Maine where one can catch trout from shore in the fall without the need for a boat or fancy electronics. Many spots are available. My target this morning is another such location. Chaffin Pond has a reputation as a fun place for catching lots of largemouth bass in the summer and brookies in the winter. This pond, which was closed to ice fishing until 2017, also supported a underutilized brook trout fishery. All that changed when the state revised the rules, opened up the pond for ice fishing, and started stocking it accordingly. Besides a generous annual allowance of brook trout each spring, it also receives around 600 additional brookies by mid-October for use by the hard-water fishing crowd (myself included!). But, as per the rules, these fish are available to be caught from October 1 until November 30, with the stipulation that only artificial lures can be used (no live or dead baitfish, no worms, no preserved salmon eggs, etc.) and all trout must be released unharmed. Also, the potential for catching a bigger trout always exists here because, unlike most winter “put-and-take” fisheries, this pond contains a deep, oxygenated layer of cold water in the summer where trout that escape the heavy winter ice-fishing onslaught can survive and grow for another year.

 

This male brook trout took the cake this morning. Glorious!

 

Much of the shoreline around Chaffin Pond is accessible on foot. One notable exception is the wetland along the northern end of the pond (across from the picnic area). Much of the remaining shoreline is rather swampy and boggy and requires the use of hip boots or waders. More importantly, it’s best to go a couple of feet into the water away from shore to avoid the overhanging bushes, twigs, and branches. So, in my opinion, hip boots or waders are a must if you want to experience the full shore-fishing potential at this location. The pond substrate is also soft and muddy (and stinky!) which limits how far out one can wade, but the water is crystal clear. One last thing: much of the shoreline of Chaffin Pond is girdled by lilypads in the summer. Most of the floating leaves will be gone by early November, but may be a nuisance when fishing from shore earlier in the fall.

 

It never gets old…

 

I arrive at the Chaffin Pond parking lot at 7 am. It’s a week day, so I got the place all to myself. The sky is clearing up after overnight rain, but it’s also quite windy. I fish light this morning: hip boots, warm layers, a small backpack, and my ultra-light spinning rod with 6-pound test line, and a bronze #2 Mepps spinner. It’s fun fishing this way because I’m mobile and unencumbered. Over the next two hours, I hit multiple locations all along the eastern, southern, and western shoreline of the pond and catch a total of six brookies, several of which are big males in full spawning colors. My goodness, are these creatures beautiful or what!! I also miss a biggun… I cast out the spinner, let it sink for a couple of seconds, and start the retrieve. I get stuck on something along the way, which surprises me because the spinner is way out. Then that something down there moves… Sh*t!!! It’s a monster fish! It swims parallel to the shoreline without breaching the surface but I can’t turn it or even slow it down because of my ultralight equipment. And then the hooks pops out of its mouth… I’ll never know what I missed (it was either a huge bass or a huge trout) but I hope that we’ll meet again soon through the ice!

 

The results: I caught six brook trout (largest = 15”) in 2.0 hours of glorious fishing.

 

Was the information in this blog useful? I invite you to share your thoughts and opinions. Also, feel free to discuss your fishing experiences at this location.

 

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