Ice fishing for brook trout, brown trout, and rainbow trout on Worthley Pond, Peru, Oxford County, Maine (January 1, 2023)


The public access is plowed during the winter and provides plenty of parking spaces


Worthley Pond is a 354-acre body of water located in Peru, Oxford County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 11 A3). The public access point is located on East Shore Road and is clearly indicated by a blue boat launch sign. This well-maintained hardtop launch is plowed during the winter to provide parking and allow easy access to the pond.


This nice early-morning bow tells me that the fish are actively feeding in my area this morning.


Worthley Pond is a well-developed lake surrounded by numerous forested hills and is situated just south of the Androscoggin River. It supports a popular regional salmonid fishery maintained via an annual stocking program involving rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout. The state released 900 11-inch rainbow trout last spring, plus 400 12-inch brown trout, 300 13-inch brook trout, 25 19-inch rainbow trout, and 15 19-inch brookies this fall. Overall, these numbers are relatively modest but suggest that the pond is managed primarily as a rainbow trout fishery. This water is open to ice fishing using traps and live bait starting January 1 under the general fishing laws. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information. The weather has been strange over the last several weeks, with cold stretches favoring ice formation, followed by warmer and rainy periods causing the new ice to melt and thin out. I decide to fish Worthley Pond because it is far enough west to have safe ice and because all existing ice in southern Maine will become iffy in the coming days on account of warm rainy weather coming our way. I fished this pond last month before the ice formed and was thrilled to catch three salmonid species. I am eager to see if I can repeat this feat over hard water.


This small brookie is the second salmonid species I catch this morning


I drive into the parking area by the boat launch at 6:55 am. The sky is overcast. The temperature is in the mid 30’s and forecast to rise into the high 40’s this afternoon. I actually love ice fishing under those conditions because one is not fighting against the cold! I will fish the same general area I hit last month, i.e., over 4 to 8 ft. of water to the right of the launch. I use my trusted ice spud to check the thickness of the ice and am relieved to see a solid 4 inches, except for one specific area further out with < 2 inches, which I make sure to avoid. I drill 16 holes across the entire area and deploy baited traps in four of those holes, reserving the remaining ones for jigging. I am working on setting up my third trap when the flag on the second one pops up. Great, I have been at it for only 15 minutes and already have action. The spool is turning nicely when I look down the hole. I carefully lift the trap out of the water, unspool some extra line, wait until the fish removes the slack, and set the hook. I am greeted by an angry creature at the other end which puts up a serious fight. The fish tires after making several strong runs which rip line from my fingers, circles the hole, and finally plops on the ice. I am delighted to see a gorgeous 17-inch rainbow trout. What a way to start the morning. The fish gets photographed and quickly released back to the water.


I use these two jigging lures this morning. Note their diminutive size. They are both enhanced with the sight and scent of a PowerBait egg pinned on the hook (not shown). The brown trout falls for the pink fish lure.


The action is slow over the next three hours, resulting in two more flags and a 13-inch brookie. Instead, I focus my efforts on jigging. My two lures consist of a brightly colored 2-inch THKFISH ice fishing lure with glide tail wings, and a small jig head combined with a plastic multi-legged bug creature. Both of these diminutive lures have worked well for me in the past. I enhance each one with a red Power Egg to add extra color and scent. It is fun to jig at this location because the water is transparent and the sandy bottom is clearly visible through the hole. Hence, it is easy to see the lure and observe any bites. I miss two rainbow trout, one of which is quite substantial in size. I observe it come back three times in a row to attack the plastic creature jig but I fail to properly set the hook each time. That is quite frustrating but this kind of sight fishing is truly a blast. Fortunately, a  brown trout falls for the fish lure and completes my quest to catch the three salmonid species stocked in this pond.


And this brown trout makes it a trifecta!


A local home owner pays me a visit and we have a pleasant chat. I learn that Worthley Pond regularly yields serious brown trout in the 6- to 8-pound range, mainly because it supports large numbers of yellow perch and a very healthy rainbow smelt population. Even though the pond gets hammered hard during the hard-water season, trolling with smelt- and yellow perch-imitating lures right after ice-out can be blisteringly hot. I am already planning a return visit in April!! I leave the ice by 10 am, fully satisfied with my morning: I caught a trifecta of trout species (always exciting) and obtained fantastic intel that I will put to good use in early spring. That is a great way to start the new year!



The results: I caught three trout (largest = 17 inches) in 3 hours of slow but 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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