Ice fishing for brook trout on Silver Lake in Phippsburg, Sagadahoc County, Maine (January 16, 2022)


The access point is at the southern tip of the pond. Route 209 is hidden behind the trees in the background.


Silver Lake is a pretty 12-acre body of water located within spitting distance of the Atlantic Ocean in Phippsburg, Sagadahoc County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 6 E5; note that the lake is shown on the map but is not specifically named). To reach this location, drive on Route 209 from Bath and pass Popham Beach State Park. The pond will appear within about half a mile from the entrance of the park. Just before reaching the southern tip of the pond, turn right on Hunnewell Avenue, which is a gravel road that splits off from Route 209. Drive 200-300 ft. on this road and leave your vehicle on the side. The access point will be to your left. Keep in mind that parking space is limited to a handful of vehicles (note: no parking is available or allowed on Route 209) and may also be a problem after a snowstorm when the road has been plowed and the narrow shoulder is filled with snow.


It’s always nice to catch a one-pounder!


I have ice fished Silver Lake on several occasions in the past (click here and here for examples). I keep on returning to this location because I enjoy its general setting, the lack of competition from other anglers, its bountiful trout population, and the unusual sound of ocean waves crashing on nearby Hunnewell Beach. The local hard-water angling crowd seems to prefer Center Pond in downtown Phippsburg; I saw over two dozen people fishing that spot on my way back home this morning. Driving an extra 8 miles greatly thins out the crowd, meaning that one is likely to have Silver Lake pretty much to oneself. The state nicely stocked this pond in the fall of 2021 with a total of 660 brook trout (i.e, 55 brookies per acre!). Six hundred of those fish are the much less interesting 9-inchers. Even though I’m aiming for the 13-inchers, I’m secretly hoping to catch one of the ten 18-inchers released last fall. Keep in mind that this pond is a typical southern Maine “put-and-take” brook trout fishery, i.e., none of the stocked fish will survive into next fall because the pond is too shallow (average and maximum depth of 5 ft. and 7 ft., respectively) and its waters become too warm in the summer to support a self-sustaining trout population. This location is open to hard-water angling under the general ice fishing laws. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information.


The eastern shoreline stays in the shadow of the rising sun long into the morning.


I arrive at Silver Lake by 6:40 am. The air temperature is a nippy 3° F but is forecast to rise into the high teens under a bright blue sky later on this morning. I put on my cleats (the ice is glare…) and hasten to make my way to the eastern shoreline because it will remain in the shadow of the rising sun well into mid-morning. I start drilling my holes over 3 to 5 ft. of water and setting up four tip-ups baited with small shiners. The ice is an underwhelming 6 inches thick. I also drill an extra dozen jigging holes all around the area. I’m done prepping by 7:30 am but haven’t seen one flag pop up. That’s never a good sign when ice fishing for brook trout at the crack of dawn… I check my traps 15 minutes later and find two naked hooks and one mangled baitfish. The trout are definitely active down there but playing games! This pattern continues for the next three hours: stolen and mauled bait, but only three flags and two trout, one of which is a fat 14-inch female full of eggs. However, I do make a first-ever ice-fishing experience with one of my traps. I have a flag but only bring in a mangled shiner. I’m evaluating the poor critter right below the water surface in the hole when its tormentor (a 9-inch brookie) swims right into the hole, picks at the bait several times, grabs it by the head, and swims off. I give it line, wait a couple of seconds, set the hook again, and catch the trout! I love to still make new experiences like that.


Jigging was the key to success this morning. I caught two trout on the tip-ups and seven while jigging!


Jigging was the key to success today, as it has been many times in the past when ice fishing for brook trout. To my surprise, even though the trout are active and continuously pester the bait fish, I do not jig my first fish until about 8:30 am. By then, the pond surface has become a cacophony of weird moans, groans, and pings as the ice warms up and expands in response to the (very relative) warmth of the rising sun. The noise is relentless and loud but somehow does not seem to bother the fish below. I end up jigging seven trout; two are of the 13- to 14-inch variety, and the rest are all little 9 inchers. Unfortunately, I never saw the 18 incher that was the motivation behind today’s fishing expedition. But, l’espoir fait vivre!


I don’t care to catch the little nine inchers put they sure fit nice in the frying pan!


The results: I landed 9 brook trout (largest was 14″) in 4 hours of cold and noisy ice 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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