Fishing for brook trout on Sand Pond in Baldwin, Cumberland County, Maine (October 16, 2021)

 

View of Sand Pond from the hard-top launch.

 

Sand Pond is a 61-acre body of water located in Baldwin, Cumberland County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 4 D4). The public access point is located next to the town beach along the western shore of the pond on Sand Pond Road, off Bridgton Road (a.k.a. Route 11). This launch is improved and can accommodate trailered boats. Plenty of parking is available across from the public beach.

 

A glorious combination: fishing, no wind, and fabulous fall colors.

 

Sand Pond earned its name well: its substrate consists entirely of sand covered by a thin layer of dark organic material. Much of the wooded shoreline is developed with houses and seasonal camps. The state stocks this pond each October in support of fall, winter, and spring fishing. None of these fish are expected to survive into the next summer though because the pond is too shallow (with a mean and maximum depth of 9 ft. and 18 ft., respectively) and too warm to sustain a year-round trout population. This fall’s stocking occurred three days prior to my trip and consisted of 200 13-inch brook trout. That effort yields a modest stocking density of just over three fish per acre. The pond is open to fall fishing from October 1 to November 30, but with the following two limitations: (a) artificial lures only, and (b) all trout have to be released at once. Click here for additional details on the fishing laws, and click here for a depth map.

 

That is one fat, well-fed brook trout!

 

I arrive at the Sand Pond boat launch at 11:15 am and motor off 15 minutes later. The weather is beautiful: light breezes, partial sunshine, and air temps in the mid 60’s. Plus, the leaf colors are at peak! The surface water temperature is 64° F. A boat with two anglers is returning to shore when I’m put-putting away. We briefly chat; the two guys tell me they’ve been trolling and spinner fishing since 8 this morning and only succeeded in catching four miniscule largemouth bass. That information doesn’t sound too promising… I start fishing using my usual motorboat setup, namely: (a) an eight-weight fly fishing rod and lead core line with three small one-hook streamer flies fished one color down (I also hold the rod in my hand and constantly “rip” the flies to give them action) and (b) my ultra-light spinner rod fishing with a small Acme Phoebe spoon kept 2 ft. below the surface using three split shots. I troll all along the shoreline in less than 10 ft. of water and succeed in catching two miniscule largemouth bass over the next one hour. This approach is clearly NOT working. I move the boat off-shore and troll through water 15 to 18 ft. deep in the hope that the trout are hiding down below. I don’t get a single hit in 30 minutes. The only other place these darned fish could be hiding is in much shallower water along the shore.

 

Those spawning colors are stunning. I never get tired of them.

 

I eliminate the lead core setup, switch out the Phoebe spoon for a bronze #2 Mepps spinner, move the boat over 3 to 5 ft. of water in the southern lobe, and systematically start casting my spinner along the shoreline while slowly drifting along. I finally catch my first brookie 40 minutes later! Keep in mind that with stocked trout, where there’s one fish, there’s typically many more… The reason is that these fish have spent their entire lives jammed together in raceways in the hatchery and are therefore accustomed to schooling. Out of habit, these fish bunch together for a long time after they are released in a pond, before slowly spreading out. I continue casting and get regular hits and hookups now. It looks like I finally located the school! I land five trout, but the action slows and then dies out within about 25 minutes; the fish have been spooked by all the commotion and have moved away a bit. I slowly reposition the boat about 200 ft. further down, and immediately start catching trout again. It’s so much fun to figure them out! The action is non-stop over the next half hour: every second cast results in a hit, a hookup, or a landed fish. And these fish are not malnourished: all are fat and heavy. Then, as before, the action slows down and dies out. I could move again and continue the fun, but I unfortunately have to leave. I’m more than satisfied though: I landed 14 brook trout over the last hour or so, and all within a couple of 100 ft. from the boat launch from where they were released! And as always in the fall, except for the two guys who left when I came in, I had the pond all to myself…

 

A sight to behold.

 

The results: I caught 14 brook trout (largest = 15 inches) in 3.5 hours of fun 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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