Fishing for splake on Trickey Pond, Naples, Maine (April 24, 2020)

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Trickey Pond has a nice hard-top boat launch

 

Trickey Pond is a 311-acre body of water located in Naples, Cumberland County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 4 B5). Public access is through a high-quality boat launch located right off Route 114 at the southern end of the pond. Ample parking is available. The pond and I are old acquaintances. I have ice fished it multiple times over the last 25 years (click here and here for recent examples) on account of its high-quality salmon, splake, and smallmouth bass fishery. In fact, I’ve caught my largest landlocked salmon (5.5 pounds) and splake (4.5 pounds) through the ice out of this pond. However, beware that even though the quality of the fish is high, the quantity is extremely low… One definitely has to put in the time to decipher this little gem and earn the right to land a fish.

 

View of Trickey Pond from the boat launch

 

It’s been too long since I’ve trolled Trickey Pond in early spring for salmonids, so I make it my next fishing destination. My goal this morning is to catch splake, which represents a hybrid created by crossing a female lake trout with a male brook trout. The offspring of this cross are sterile and therefore grow fast and fat! The state stocks the pond annually in both the spring and fall with a total of around six salmonids per acre (landlocked Atlantic salmon, splake, and brook trout combined), which is low but respectable. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information. Maine’s general fishing laws apply for open-water spring fishing at this location. My strategy is to troll over 20 to 40 ft of water along the shoreline using my eight-weight fly fishing rod and lead core line with three smelt streamer flies tied to each other in tandem (note: this pond has smelt), and my spinning rod teamed up with my portable downrigger fishing with two DB smelt spoons also tied to each other in tandem. I constantly “rip” the fly rod to cause the three streamer flies to move erratically and draw attention down below. The spoons provide their own inherent action.

 

It took a lot of trolling – and lost lures – to catch this one splake!

 

I arrive at the boat launch at 5:45 am. The air temperature is in the low 30’s and forecast to rise into the mid 40’s under a gentle breeze as the morning progresses and the sun breaks through the cloud deck. Regardless, I’m dressed like I’m going ice fishing in order to stay warm. The water temperature is a cool 44°F, which is perfect for the trolling I’m doing today. I motor off full of anticipation and deploy my strategy, with the flies and spoons placed 1.5 colors down (about 10-12 ft deep) and 15 feet deep, respectively. I slowly troll my way around the entire pond and am back at my starting point 1.5 hours later without anything to show for it, not even a disinterested nibble. Mmm, that doesn’t bode well but is not necessarily surprising considering that this is Trickey Pond after all… So, I change my approach and start trolling through the center of the pond over 50 to 60 ft of water with the spoons and the flies placed 30 ft and 20 ft down, respectively. My downrigger rod starts shaking insistently about ten minutes later. Ahah, someone is finally knocking at my door! I unclip the line and bring in a hard-fighting 18” splake. It’s nice when the plan works out (note: splake and brook trout can be difficult to distinguish because they look so much alike. I look at the back of the tail, which has a small fork in splake but is straight [“squaretail”] in brook trout). The fish gets photographed and released unharmed.

 

I wish I could say that this was the beginning of something beautiful. But I’d be lying because I didn’t get another bite trolling halfway down the water column in >50 ft of water for the next 2 hours… However, I lost a total of five streamer flies and three spoons on three separate occasions in the southern third of Trickey Pond! My depth finder did not mark any obstructions in the areas where my lures got snagged. I was also several 100 ft away from shore which precludes the presence of large sunken trees in the middle of the pond. So, what obstruction is down there? I have no clue but my lure collection was severely depleted. I’d love to hear back from you if you had this same experience on this pond in the past…

 

The results: I caught one splake (18”) in 3.5 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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