Fishing for brook trout on Keys Pond in Sweden, Oxford County, Maine (May 19, 2022)

 

The public access point is unimproved but could accommodate a small, trailered boat.

 

Keys Pond covers 192 acres and is located in Sweden, Oxford County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 10E3). The public access is found at the northern tip, in the vicinity of the outlet. To reach this point, drive north on Plummer School Road, and turn left on Perry Hill Road. Stay on this road for 0.2 miles before turning left on Keys Pond Road. The access point is located 0.3 miles down that road on your left. Motorboats are not explicitly prohibited on this body of water but the town has established a voluntary engine size limit of 5 horse power. The launch is rough, narrow, a bit muddy, and sandy but could accommodate a small, trailered boat in a pinch. A limited area for rough parking is available next to the launch.

 

 

Keys Pond is only lightly developed and provides gorgeous vistas.

 

Keys Pond is a surprisingly pretty body of water, with light development and mostly intact riparian vegetation along its shoreline. It is embedded in a deeply-forested and hilly landscape typical of southern Oxford County. A combination of the following factors are drawing me to this location: a) the pond was lightly stocked last fall with 330 nicely-sized 14″ brook trout, which amounts to less than two fish per acre, but b) the pond is closed to ice fishing, which means that most of these larger fish are available to be caught in the spring, c) the pond maintains a band of cool, oxygenated water at depth in the summer which allows for year-over-year trout survival and growth, and d) the state manages this body of water specifically to produce larger-than-normal brook trout. In other words, this water body does not support a simple “put-and-take” fishery where the trout stocked in the fall all die by the next summer due to overheated water and lack of dissolved oxygen. Open-water fishing in the spring occurs under the general fishing laws, except that the minimum length for a keeper trout is 12 inches, and only one of the two keeper trout can exceed 14 inches. Keys Pond is relatively deep, with a mean and maximum depth of 15 ft. and 42 ft., respectively. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information.

 

Mission accomplished! It’s not every day that I get the honor of catching a 2.5-pound brookie!

 

I reach the public access point of Keys Pond at 5:30 am and push off 15 minutes later. It’s a gorgeous morning, with no wind, the air temperature at 48°F, and a mostly overcast sky. The temperature of the surface water clocks in at 56°F. Perfect! I plan on trolling in 10 to 20 ft. of water along the shoreline using my 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 two lures 2-3 ft. below the surface. The lures for both rods consist of two-inch ACME Phoebe spoons to which I attach a 1 ¼-inch bronze or silver ACME Thunderbolt spoon using a two ft. section of monofilament. Of note, the Thunderbolt, being the smallest of the two lures, is always the “straggler” lure placed at the end. I pay close attention to the depth finder in order to remain at my target depth range without getting stuck on the bottom. I get a tremendous hit on my ultralight 20 minutes after I start paddling. Holy smokes, I caught a powerful fish which rips liberal amounts of line off my little reel. I just love the feeling of it!! I carefully play the creature, providing it plenty of time and space to tire out and emerge from the depths. I can’t believe my eyes when I see the size of the fish I just netted: it is a plump and well-fed 18-inch, 2.5 pound brookie. Just what I was hoping for! The fish gets photographed and quickly released to grow bigger still.

 

This is the very first time that I’ve caught a spiny bullhead catfish while trolling. I love to still make this kind of new experience after many years of trolling.

 

I’m totally pumped now, and continue my circle around Keys Pond. I get a second hook-up in the shallows along the southern tip of the pond, and am very surprised to bring in a little bullhead catfish. Whaaat? I’ve never caught such a fish trolling… Twenty five minutes later, my fly rod starts shaking violently and I hook another huge fish. My hopes are quickly dashed, however, as soon as the fish jumps clear out of the water and reveals itself to be a 22″… pickerel! Argh, that’s not what I’m looking for! It’s now 7:30 am and I’ve reached my departure point. I have another hour or so before I need to turn around and head back home. The black flies have emerged and are starting to pester me as I paddle along the shoreline. I move further offshore to get away from them but the lack of wind means that they stick around. They are becoming unbearable and I soon learn why: hundreds of these nasty critters are hitching a ride on my sleeves and are constantly swarming my head. They’re too much and I literally have to flee. Note to myself: next time, don’t forget the bug dope and head net!

 

The results: I landed one gorgeous 18-inch brook trout in 2 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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