Fishing for brown trout on Silver Lake (a.k.a. Figure Eight Pond) in Sidney and Manchester, Kennebec County, Maine (October 12, 2019)

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The boat launch is unimproved, steep, and gravelly…


Silver Lake (a.k.a. Figure Eight Pond) is a 29-acre body of water located in Sidney and Manchester, Kennebec County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 12 B5). To reach this location, drive on Route 27 north (towards Belgrade), turn left on Summerhaven Road, go for about 0.6 miles before turning left on Baxter Drive, drive for about 0.2 miles and turn right on Community Drive. The southern lobe of the pond will soon appear on your right. The public boat launch consists of loose gravel and is otherwise unimproved, but can accommodate small trailered boats. However, keep in mind that the launch is fairly steep; I had to use four-wheel drive to pull my boat up the wet and gravelly incline on my way out. In addition, the water by the launch is rather shallow, which requires backing into the lake a fair bit before the boat will float off. I also had to put on my hip boots to manually guide my boat back on the trailer on account of the shallow depth by the launch. Parking space is limited on Community Drive and occurs along the side of the road next to the launch.


The articulated Mini Galloup’s Bangtail T&A streamerfly sure fooled a bunch of bass this morning!


The nickname for Silver Lake is apt: the pond consists of two separate circular lobes linked together by a short, narrow, and shallow (< 2 ft deep) waist, hence “Figure Eight” Pond. The surface water is crystal clear and transparent with little aquatic vegetation. The State manages this pond specifically as a brown trout and rainbow trout fishery and stocks it each fall with between 25 and 50 salmonids. The pond falls under the general fishing laws. Both smallmouth bass and largemouth bass are considered a nuisance to the trout management efforts, thereby triggering a no size restriction or bag limit on either species. The pond is open to open-water fishing between October 1 and November 30, but only artificial lures can be used and all trout must be released at once during that period. It is also closed to ice fishing. Click here for more fishing rules. The remarkable feature of this body of water is its great deepness compared to its small surface area, with a mean and maximum depth equal to 17 ft and 62 ft (!), respectively. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information.


That’s the biggest largemouth bass I caught trolling this morning.


I arrive at the Silver Lake public launch by 7:15 am. The weather is to my liking: a stiff northeast breeze, totally overcast skies, and persistent drizzle. The surface water is a cool 60°F. I have the place all to myself, as is typically the case this time of year. I’m using my usual trolling set-up: a portable downrigger teamed up with a spinning rod and two Mooselook spoons, and my nine-weight fly-fishing rod with lead-core line fishing with a streamer fly. My research for this fishing trip shows that the pond contains landlocked alewives, which presumably serve as key forage for both trout species. Rummaging through my streamer fly box, I pick up the stubby-nosed and articulated “Mini Galloup’s Bangtail T&A” as a decent imitator of a juvenile alewife. I start trolling around and around in the smaller lobe (the one by the boat launch) with my lures placed between 12 and 18 ft below the surface over 25 ft of water. I pay close attention to my depth finder in order not to stray too shallow or too deep. That streamer fly is really working because I catch six bass over the next hour and a half! But bass are not what I’m after this morning…


Yeah, I agree… It’s not much of a fish considering the effort, but it has an adipose fin and therefore counts!


I cross into the larger northern lobe and use the same general approach, and therefore get the same result: three small bass caught on the alewife streamer fly but no trout after another hour of trolling. I’m definitely storing this experience for future reference because that Bangtail streamer fly is clearly a bass slayer on ponds and lakes containing landlocked alewives! But I need to change my game plan if I want to catch trout. I replace the streamer fly with two small spoons. I also place my lures 5 ft and 10 ft below the surface and fish over 15 ft of water, i.e. higher up in the water column and in the shallower parts of the northern lobe. That new approach pays off: I catch a small 12” brown trout which probably came from the batch released earlier in late September. I’m hoping that I finally figured things out and continue trolling shallow with renewed hope for the next 30 minutes, but I get no more takers. Besides, I’m getting wet and cold from the relentless drizzle. It’s time to call it good. In summary, the trout fishing this morning was really slow but I at least caught my target quarry. Although clearly “bassy”, Silver Lake did not yield bass of any great size, with most fish measuring between 10” to 14”.


That’s the biggest smallmouth bass I caught trolling this morning.


The results: I caught one brown trout (12”) and nine bass (largest = 15”) in 3.5 hours of drizzly trolling.


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