Ice fishing for brown trout on Pettingill Pond in Windham, Cumberland County, Maine (February 22, 2022)

The public access point to Pettingill Pond is unobtrusive and unmarked. No parking is allowed in this vicinity.

 

Pettingill Pond covers 36 acres and is located across from Seacoast Adventure in Windham, Cumberland County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 C2). The public access to this body of water can be tricky to find under the snow in the winter. While driving on Route 302 in Windham (direction Raymond and Naples, i.e., north), turn right at the light on Anglers Road just past Bob’s Seafood Restaurant, go down that ruddy road for about 0.4 miles and look for house number 48. The small, unmarked public access point will be to your left immediately past that house (and across from house #51). You have gone too far if you reach Mud Pond Road. Keep in mind that Anglers Road is narrow, potholed, and trafficky, and no vehicles are allowed to park on it or by the public access. The only readily-available place to leave your car is by Route 302.

 

 

I set up shop along the shoreline in 3 to 8 ft. of water next to a drop-off.

 

Pettingill Pond is one of my favorite go-to locations when I desire to catch brown trout through the ice in the winter. A major reason is that it receives the highest pond stocking density for this species in the whole of Cumberland County, which translates to about two brown trout per acre released each fall. This body of water is also capable of producing some nice-sized browns considering its relatively small surface area. However, of all the locations I have fished throughout Maine over the years, this one is the most developed, with close to 100 houses and cabins visible all along its busy, three-lobed shoreline, and at least as many dwellings further away from the water! So, don’t expect much privacy. Ice fishing occurs under the general fishing laws starting on January 1. Only artificial lures (no live bait) can be used from October 1 to December 31. The pond has a mean and maximum depth of 12 ft. and 29 ft., respectively. It also supports several other fish species, including largemouth bass, pickerel, and yellow perch. In my experience, the largemouth bass are plentiful but typically on the small size. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information.

 

This brown trout fell for a small shiner

 

I arrive at the public access point of Pettingill Pond at 6:20 am, off-load my equipment, drive back towards Route 302, and leave my truck over there. It’s a nice morning, with temps in the low 30’s and a fully overcast sky. These conditions are great for ice-fishing. I don my cleats because the unusually warm weather of the last couple of days has melted all the snow away. The ice is now glare and very slippery. That’s fine with me because it makes pulling a sled a whole lot easier! My strategy this morning is to place four tip-ups baited with small 2-inch shiners over 3 ft. to 8 ft. of water along a stretch of shoreline in an area where the water quickly gains depth to about 15 ft. That approach has worked well for me on this pond in the past. I also drill about a dozen jigging holes all around my traps. I’m all done 45 minutes later. I don’t get a flag during the set-up process, which is not surprising. Unlike brook trout, which are typically stocked at much higher densities, fishing for brown trout is invariably a “slow” affair that requires a healthy dose of patience…

 

This slightly smaller fish fell for the jig

 

I finally get my first flag in the shallowest trap at about 8 am. As I reach the hole, out of breath, I noticed that the line is angled sideways but no longer coming off the spool. Mmm, that’s not a good sign. I slowly bring in the slack and suddenly feel resistance at the other end. I immediately set the hook and bring in a small (14-inch) but spirited brown trout. Great, I’m not skunked this morning! I decide to jig in the two shallow holes around this location. Fifteen minutes later, I feel a slight bump on my jig. Ah ah, someone’s ringing the dinner bell down there. I continuously and gently shake the jig, and get a hit and a hook-up 20 seconds later. It’s another brown trout, but this one is only a 13-incher. I decide to move my two farthest traps into this active area, drill another 6 jigging holes in the vicinity, and start jigging with renewed hope. Unfortunately, that is the extent of my fishing success this morning when I leave at 9:30 am: one flag on the tip-up and one bite of the jig. Yet, I have no cause for complaints because I caught two brown trout through the ice in less than 3 hours, which is actually a good batting average.

 

This small multi-colored jig did the trick today. Note that I added a small piece of “meat” to the back hook to add flavor to the water and enhance the attraction.

 

The results: I caught two small brown trout (largest = 14 inches) in 3 hours of slow but successful 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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