Fishing for splake on Indian Pond in Greenwood, Maine (October 7, 2018)

The boat launch at Indian Pond is unimproved but can easily accommodate small trailered boats

 

Indian Pond covers 68 acres and is located in Greenwood, Oxford County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 10 B5). The access point is on Hobbs Road, off Rowe Hill Road, at the northern end of the pond. Drive on Hobbs Road for 0.6 miles until you reach a gate with a “no trespassing” sign. The boat launch is on the right just before that gate. The launch is unimproved but can easily accommodate small trailered boats. Parking is on the side in the woods.

I’m interested in trolling for splake this morning. I have successfully caught this species through the ice (click here and here for examples), but have not yet targeted it in open water. This hybrid fish represents the offspring of a cross between a male brook trout and a female lake trout. As a result of this mixture, the splake has a split personality derived from its cold water-loving, pelagic mother and its somewhat less temperature-demanding, shallower-seeking father. It’s not always easy to figure out the “mood” of this creature…

 

Indian Pond is small and pretty, and the weather conditions are perfect: overcast with occasional drizzle but no wind

 

I do research to locate a suitable splake pond for my first open-water fishing trial, and find it in Indian Pond for the following reasons: (a) the pond is stocked each spring with 8” splake at a density of 4 fish per acre, which is a high stocking rate by Maine standards, (b) the pond is relatively small which limits the amount of space where these fish can hide, (c) the pond is closed to ice fishing which would otherwise deplete the available splake population, (d) the pond is open to fishing between October 1 and November 30 using artificial lures only (click here for more fishing rules) which allows me to fish it today, (e) the pond has an access point from which I can launch my small trailered motor boat which I need for its depth finder, and (f) the pond has a relatively large expanse of deep water (maximum depth of 62 ft), with an oxygenated hypolimnion (i.e., the cold water layer below the thermocline), and a healthy rainbow smelt population. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information.

 

The fall foliage still has a ways to go before it peaks but the current colors sure are pretty!

I arrive at the boat launch at 6:45 am and push off 20 minutes later, eager to start fishing. The weather is completely to my liking: temps in the mid 50’s, overcast with chance of light rain, and little or no wind. The surface water temperature is a relatively balmy 62° F. I also have Indian Pond all to myself since most anglers have already stowed away their fishing gear, even though two long months of great open-water salmonid fishing are still awaiting us! I begin by probing the water column below the thermocline, which I’m assuming is located about 30-35 ft down below the surface. I lay out six colors of lead-core line with three smelt-imitation streamer flies tied to each other in tandem, and a regular spinning rod attached to a portable downrigger fishing with three DB Smelt spoons tied to each other in tandem placed 40 ft down. I pay close attention to my depth finder in order to stay in water over 50 ft deep. An hour and a half of trolling yields nothing, except that I lose my three streamer flies and three spoons because they get hung up on the bottom way down low. Grrr!

 

This little guy was caught 30 ft below the surface and grabbed the silver-colored spoon

It’s time to change my approach… I troll a little closer to shore, placing my two sets of new lures 30-35 ft deep (i.e., at the presumed depth of the thermocline) over 40-45 ft of water. That effort yields an important signal: a 13” splakeling fell for a silver Mooselook spoon (after loosing another string of three streamer flies to the voracious bottom…). Based on that information, I remove from my lead-core line the streamer flies that have done nothing for me this morning and replace them with three 1.5” silver ACME Phoebe spoons. Unfortunately, I spend another 1.5 hours fruitlessly trolling around and around Indian Pond for splake at the thermocline depth.

 

This 17″ splake was an incredibly-powerful fighter that gave it its all

It’s now 11 am and I’m discouraged by the meager results of all my efforts thus far. It is clear that the lake trout-side of the splake’s personality is not active this morning. So it’s time to investigate the brook trout-side of its personality by placing my lures above the thermocline. Besides, trolling shallower and even more inshore might yield a nice bass (click here, here, and here for examples). I place my lures 20 ft deep over 30 ft of water and start trolling again, always paying close attention to my depth finder. I get a tremendous hit on my lead-core line with the Phoebe spoons within 10 minutes of this new arrangement. It sure feels like a nice bass, except that the fish does not want to breach the surface. Holy cow, I realize that I hooked into a half-decent splake! And it gives me THE longest and most-powerful run on my lead core line that I have ever experienced. What a tremendously-tenacious fighter! I land the 17” splake, photograph it, and release it back to the water where it takes a couple of minutes to recover from the strenuous exercise. Mission accomplished! And I also catch a small 14” smallmouth bass to boot. I’m happy with the results and the lessons learned (i.e., in early fall, troll for splake over 30 ft of water with silver spoons placed 20 ft down), which will be applied elsewhere at a later date.

 

This 1.5″ silver ACME Phoebe lure did the trick this morning!

The results: I caught two splake (13” and 17”) and a smallmouth bass in 4.5 long 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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2 thoughts on “Fishing for splake on Indian Pond in Greenwood, Maine (October 7, 2018)

  1. Thanks for continuing to share your experiences. What are your thoughts on fishing for largemouth bass this time of year (October)? I fish from a kayak so I dont do much trolling so bass are usually my target fish. Are they still active enough now to make the effort?

    • The honest answer is that I’m not enough of a largemouth bass angler to know how this species behaves in the fall because I switch my focus entirely to chasing salmonids after October 1. I’ll occasionally catch largemouth bass as an accidental “by-catch” but not because I’m specifically targeting them.

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