Fishing for brook trout on Cushman Pond in Lovell, Oxford County, Maine (April 23, 2022)

 

A pretty early-morning view of Cushman Pond from the access point. McDaniels Hill looms large in the background.

 

Cushman Pond covers 32 acres and is located in Lovell, Oxford County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 10 D2). The public access point is found at the outlet by the dam right off Cushman Pond Road. Plenty of parking is available in the immediate vicinity. Be aware that motorboats are prohibited on this pond even though the unimproved sandy launch can easily accommodate trailered boats.

 

This gorgeous brook trout fell for a small spoon trolled right up against the shoreline.

 

Cushman Pond represents a scenic body of water, with McDaniels Hill and its vertical granite cliffs looking down on the water from the east. Even though the pond is moderately developed, the largely intact riparian vegetation along its shoreline creates a nice impression of a semi-remote location. While the scenery is an important factor to consider, it is not the only reason I am here this morning. The pond is closed to ice fishing and is stocked each fall with 300 9- to 10-inch brook trout, resulting in a stocking density of about 10 trout per acre. Even though most of these fish are expected to survive into the spring, I do not really care to catch such little guys. However, another important piece of intel draws my attention: the bottom of the pond consistently supports a layer of cool oxygenated water during the summer months that allows for year-over-year survival, and therefore the potential for producing larger brook trout. In other words, the pond does not support a simple “put-and-take” fishery where the yearlings stocked in the fall all die from overheating and/or asphyxiation during the following summer. The fishing rules also forbid the use of live baitfish to limit competitors to the local brook trout population (note: dead baitfish, salmon eggs, and earthworms are allowed). Click here for more information on this topic. The pond has an average and maximum depth of 15 ft. and 21 ft., respectively. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information.

 

That big brook trout spat out three of these small minnows. It’s always a good idea to downsize your lures in order to increase the odds of a strike.

 

I reach the access point at 6:15 am and push off 15 minutes later. Sunrise is at 5:45 am, but McDaniels Hill shields Cushman Pond from the rising sun and keeps the place in the shadows for a little while longer. The air temperature is a chilly 36°F and the skies are partly cloudy. The surface water temperature is a cool 44°F. I notice a nasty breeze blowing in from the northwest and decide to fill the front of my canoe with counterweight rocks to make paddling by myself a more manageable experience. My trusted canoe trolling technique consists of using an 8-weight fly rod with lead core line fishing two lures placed between 1 and 1½ colors down (say, 5 to 10 ft. below the surface), and my ultralight spinning rod with three fat split shots to place an additional lure 2-3 ft. below the surface. The lures consists of two-inch gold-colored ACME Phoebe spoons and a humble (but lethal!) 1 ¼-inch silver ACME Thunderbolt spoon. I crisscross the rods between my legs to provide the space needed to paddle and seek water about 15 ft. deep. I get a hit and a hookup on the lead core line 10 minutes after I start paddling. Great, the fish are actively feeding this morning! I fight a spirited 13″ brookie and am about to net it when the hook pops out of its mouth. Crap, this one got away! I hook and fight, and loose!, two more 13- to 15-inch brookies over the next hour and a half. Man, this is so frustrating…

 

Cushman Pond is a great find and well worth a second visit!

 

I’ve paddled around the pond four or five times by now and observe that some of the shallows along the eastern shoreline consist of extensive boulder fields located right next to deeper water. That setup represents classic brook trout feeding grounds (click here and here for other examples). I bring up the lead core line to half a color and focus my attention on paddling back and forth along that eastern shoreline right up against the bank in water less than 10 ft. deep. And that change in tactic pays off! I get a tremendous hit on my ultralight/Thunderbolt spoon combo and immediately tussle with a very substantial fish. I loosen my reel so that fish can take as much of my flimsy 6-pound line as it wants. A gorgeous 17-inch brook trout emerges after several minutes of fighting, but the fish refuses to enter the net. It spends several additional anxious-filled minutes wriggling on the surface by the canoe. But it finally tires, stays on the hook, and gets landed. I marvel at the creature, take bragging pictures, and quickly release it back to the water to keep on growing. The fish spits out three 2-inch minnows while in the canoe. My blog readers know that I recommend using small minnows when ice fishing for brookies. Well, that is the reason why: these fish chase after smaller baitfish and are keyed-in on them. And that humble (but lethal!) 1 ¼-inch silver ACME Thunderbolt spoon is meant to mimic such bait. I stay at it for another 30 minutes, but the wind is getting worse, my butt is sore, and the bite has stopped. I call it good but leave Cushman Pond a happy angler.

 

The results: I landed one 17-inch brook trout in 3 hours of trolling.

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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2 thoughts on “Fishing for brook trout on Cushman Pond in Lovell, Oxford County, Maine (April 23, 2022)

  1. Great to see more open-water adventures on the blog! Always appreciate your insights – especially the advice around downsizing.

    For instance, although the Mepps #2 hasn’t caught me any trout so far this year, I’ve landed four nice smallmouth bass on Thompson Lake in the last two weekends – all on inline spinners. Bigger presentations like bass spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, and squarebill crankbaits have gotten me nothing.

    One thing I would love to see more of in the future is a brief analysis of the suitability of a waterbody for bank angling, based on your observations.

    Thanks, and keep up the content!

    • The Mepps #2 spinner is indeed a fantastic lure, including for catching smallmouth bass and trout!

      In regards to bank angling, I do write a popular blog specifically geared to brook trout fishing in the fall using waders from shore. Check it out and let me know what you think about it. tight lines.

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