Ice fishing for brook trout on Chaffin Pond in Windham, Cumberland County, Maine (January 3, 2021)

 

The place is buzzing with activity this morning!

 

Chaffin Pond is an 13-acre body of water located in downtown Windham, Cumberland County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 C2). The pond is embedded in the Donnabeth Lipman Park, right next to the Sherwin Williams paint store off Route 302 in the business district. Click here for directions. Plenty of parking is available.

 

 

I set up shop along the eastern shoreline of Chaffin Pond in order to stay in the shadow as long as possible this morning.

 

Chaffin Pond is a highly-popular early-season ice fishing spot located in the Sebago Lake region of southern Maine, and attracts hard-water anglers from far and wide. The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife richly stocked this small water body last fall with 800+ brook trout in anticipation of the winter action. A depth map is not available. Click here for the fishing rules that apply to this body of water in the winter. Keep in mind that you will be sharing the ice with numerous other people, so don’t expect a secluded experience. A good strategy for fishing “put-and-take” trout ponds like this one is to hit them early in the season. The reason is that such ponds are fished hard and continuously as soon as the ice is safe to walk on. They are cleaned out of most of their trout by mid-to-late January.

 

Anthony is mighty pleased with this largemouth bass!

 

My morning is not running smoothly … I have to visit three separate bait dealers in the area before I can procure my shiners. As a result, I’m running 30 minutes behind schedule. I pick up my two grandsons, Geovanni and Anthony, and make a beeline for Chaffin Pond. We finally get there by 7:30 am. The parking lot is already half full. We follow a dad and his young son unto the edge of the pond. The man takes one step on the ice and immediately breaks through down to his knee! Holy smokes, the ice along the immediate shoreline has thinned out in response to the rain and warmer weather from earlier this week. I hesitate for a moment, but the presence of a dozen other people on the ice shows that it is safe further out away from shpore. We find another access spot and gingerly walk to the north-eastern corner of the pond to claim our fishing spot for the morning. Anglers along the way confirm that the 3″ of available ice is solid.

 

Geovanni is bringing home his lunch!

 

I start the process of drilling holes and setting up 14 traps in 3 to 9 ft of water. It’s quite a chore deploying that many tip-ups by myself, and it takes me well over one hour to complete the task. The boys are enjoying running and sliding around too much and can’t be bothered with helping out. That’s fine with me; after all, the ultimate goal is for them to have fun and relish the outdoors. The first flag goes up within 15 minutes of our arrival. Great, the fish are active. Geovanni tends the tip-up all by himself and, to great acclaim, ices a 13″ brookie. He decides to keep the fish and bring it home for lunch. The flag action is slow but steady over the next 1.5 hours. Anthony hooks and lands a small largemouth bass, around 8:15 am, and the two boys each catch a tiny 12″ pickerel. But where are the trout? The bite slows down markedly by 9 am, yielding only two more flags, but no fish, over the next 1.5 hours. I also jig for over an hours but generate no bites. Darn, the trout are finicky eaters this morning! We decide to call it good at 10:30 am; the boys are getting antsy and want to get back home. We talk to two groups of anglers on the way back to the car, and they too report slow fishing and few trout. The fish activity this morning was quite different from earlier ice-fishing experiences on Chaffin Pond (click here and here for examples). If anything, it goes to show that trout, even stocked ones, do have a mind of their own and that we have to play their game…

 

The results: The boys caught one 13″ brook trout, one small largemouth bass, and two tiny pickerel in 3 hours of 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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