Fishing for rainbow trout on Little Ossipee Lake in Waterboro, Maine (November 24, 2018)

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We came prepared to launch the boat using the 4X4!


Little Ossipee Lake covers 564 acres and is located in Waterboro, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 2 A4). Access to this body of water is via an excellent hard-top boat launch located next to Route 5 along the western side of the lake. Ample parking is available next to the launch, as are two porta potties. The lake supports a well-known and popular regional salmonid fishery (rainbow trout in particular, but also brook trout and landlocked Atlantic salmon) which the state maintains via an aggressive annual stocking program. It is also a well-known bass-fishing hot spot. Its easy accessibility and smorgasbord of desirable species ensures that the lake is pounded hard each year during the ice-fishing season, including a well-attended annual ice-fishing derby. I’m going to get a piece of this sweet pie ahead of the crowds…


This bow told us to fish higher up in the water column using smaller lures. We listened!


My son Joel and I decide to spend a couple of hours on Little Ossipee Lake this afternoon trolling for bows before the water freezes solid. I fished it last week and hooked but lost two trout in short order before my outboard engine stalled and I had to paddle back to the launch… The shoreline is well-developed and the lake is a beehive of activity during the busy summer months. But not today. The air temperature is in the mid 30’s and the water temperature is a frigid 39°F. But the wind is light and the sun is out. Not surprisingly, we have the place all to ourselves, just as I hoped and expected. The water column is crystal clear. The lake has a mean and maximum depth of 21 ft and 74 ft, respectively. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information. The fishing rules fall under the general fishing laws, except that from October 1 to December 31, only artificial lures are allowed and all salmonids have to be released at once.


My turn came too, but only after the disappointment of loosing a really nice rainbow trout right in front of the boat…


My failed fishing attempt from last week on Little Ossipee Lake provided me with three pieces of important intel: (a) the boat launch was unplowed which meant that I had to drag my boat by hand to the water’s edge (I didn’t bring the 4X4), (b) I hooked the two trout 20 ft down over 30 to 40 ft of water along the western shoreline of the lower lobe of the lake, and (c) I caught these two fish on a DB smelt spoon and a large two-hook smelt-imitating streamer fly, respectively. We will therefore bring the Jeep to put the boat in the water, and focus our fishing efforts on that eastern shoreline. We’re on the water and trolling by 1:30 pm. I use my small portable downrigger for the DB smelt spoons, and lead-core line for the streamer flies, to place my lures 20 ft down over 30-40 ft of water. Joel also deploys his downrigger, but he doesn’t have lead core line. Instead, he uses his fly rod with regular sinking line and a small one-hook smelt-imitating streamer fly to put that lure about 4-5 ft below the surface. The latter approach turns out to be the key to our success this afternoon…


Joel was the clear winner today.


I open up the proceedings within 20 minutes by hooking a feisty 18” to 19” rainbow trout on the DB smelt (it turns out to be the largest fish of the day). I fight the fish and bring it next to the boat when it suddenly… unhooks! SH*T, again!! The next three hits are for Joel. The first two fish also unhook, but the third one ends up in the net. The important signal, though, is that his three hits were all on his sinking line which is fishing much closer to the surface instead of 20 ft down. It looks like the fish are feeding higher up in the water column and chasing smaller bait compared to last week. We adjust the fishing depth of our lures (5 ft to 10 ft down) but stay trolling over 30 to 40 ft of water. We also downsize all our original lures by selecting smaller ones. To make a long story short, we end up with a total of 14 hits, 9 hook-ups, and 4 rainbow trout in the boat in 2.5 hours of fun and exciting fishing! The bite was steady and aggressive until about 4 pm when the sun went down behind Ossipee Hill. Somehow, the majority of the trout found a way to wiggle off the hook before they could be netted, which was frustrating. Regardless, Joel and I had a fantastic father-son bonding session on a beautiful late-fall day tussling with bows. Does anything else really matter in life?


The results: I landed one 16” rainbow trout, whereas Joel landed three rainbow trout (largest 17”) in 2.5 hour of top-notch fishing.


It doesn’t get more peaceful than this glorious setting.


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