Fishing for brook trout on Otter Pond #4 in Standish, Cumberland County, Maine (October 29, 2021)

 

Otter Pond #4 is small and pretty

 

Otter Pond #4, a.k.a. Snake Pond, is a small, 6-acre body of water located off Route 35 in Standish, Cumberland, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 D1). Click here for directions on how to reach this pond. Beware that you’ll pass several other ponds on your way in which are not stocked. Make sure to follow the directions to get to the designated target.

 

What a pleasure to catch male brook trout in full fall regalia!

 

Otter Pond #4 is one of many locations open for fall fishing in southern and central Maine. As a bonus, it is also accessible to wader fishing. Actually, even though waders or hip boots are useful, they are not an absolute requirement at this location because much of the eastern shoreline is open and sandy, and is therefore fishable without the need to get into the water. Otter Pond #4 and I are old acquaintances, having met numerous times over the years during both fall (click here and here for examples) and winter (click here and here). This pond is heavily stocked with brook trout every October in anticipation of the busy ice-fishing season. Last week, on October 19, the state released 300 8″ brookies (50 fish per acre) and 80 14″ brookies (13 fish per acre!). The latter are my target this morning because they represent one-pound fish that are a blast to catch on ultralight spinning gear. Besides, the males are eye candy, all resplendent in their brilliant fall spawning colors. Fortunately for us, this little gem of a pond is available for open-water fishing between October 1 and November 30 using artificial lures only and with the stipulation that all trout caught must be released at once. Click here for more details on the fishing rules. Click here for a depth map.

 

The way I like my fall colors: leafy and scaly 🙂

 

I arrive at the spacious Otter Ponds parking lot right off Route 35 at 6:30 am. I change into my hip boots, fill out the day-use pass available at the nearby little kiosk, leave the pink copy on my vehicle’s dashboard, and quickly walk down the old railroad track for 10 minutes towards Otter Pond #4. It’s Friday and I need to be back home by 9 am to start my work day, so I have about one and a half hours to make something happen this morning. Keep in mind that the Otter Ponds are a popular recreational area not just with anglers but also joggers, dirt bikers, and people out for a walk, so you’re likely to have some company, instead of total solitude. I start fishing at the sandy beach area at the southern tip of the pond using my ultralight fishing rod, six-pound monofilament line, and a trusted #2 bronze Mepps spinner. Somewhat to my surprise, I don’t get a single bite in the first half hour. I clearly haven’t found the school of trout yet. I systematically work my way along the eastern shoreline, casting out the spinner towards the center of the pond, letting it sink to the bottom (one thousand one, one thousand two, …), and slowly retrieving it while constantly twitching the tip of the rod to give the spinner additional action. In my experience, this approach, including the twitching part, is the difference between hooking an occasional brookie and consistently catching multiple fish.

 

I reluctantly leave Otter Pond #4 to start my work day. I would have happily stayed longer for more fall colors!

 

I finally get a hit and hook a 14-inch female. After a spirited fight, she gets photographed and quickly released. The core concept to keep in mind when fishing stocked brook trout is that they tend to school for many days after they’ve been released in a pond or lake, instead of quickly scattering. This behavior makes sense because these fish have spent their entire lives jammed together in hatchery raceways and are therefore used to huddling and swimming together. So, where there’s one brookie at a particular location, there’s typically more in the immediate vicinity. The trick is to keep casting your lure in an area where the fish are biting. Keep pounding it because the chances are high that multiple fish are swimming together down there. This proven strategy yields eight brookies this morning; four are the much less interesting eight inchers, but the other four are the larger one-pounders, three of which are colorful males. I reluctantly leave Otter Pond #4 at 8:30, fully satisfied and energized to start my workday.

 

The results: I caught 8 brook trout (largest = 15 inches) in 1.5 hours of fun early-morning 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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