Ice fishing for smallmouth bass and splake on Trickey Pond in Naples, Maine (March 31, 2018)

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A bright and sunny, but windy, early-spring day on Trickey Pond

Trickey Pond covers 311 acres and is located in Naples, Cumberland County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 4 B5). I have fished it on multiple occasions in the past for smallmouth bass and splake. I also know from several reliable sources that this relatively small body of water grows serious landlocked Atlantic salmon in the 6- to 8-pound range! The reason I like to visit Trickey Pond towards the end of the ice fishing season is that its ice is always thick and safe, even when the hard water on other ponds in southern Maine is no longer reliable. Besides, there’s always the chance of catching a real bragging fish here! Keep in mind though that this pond has a well-deserved reputation of only grudgingly offering up its scaly denizens. So, be ready to put in time to learn its secrets if you are unfamiliar with its layout.

 

I woke up at an ungodly hour this morning and reach the entrance to the boat launch to Trickey Pond off Route 114 at 5:45 am. The short stretch of road down to the launch itself is still snow-covered and icy. I don’t take any chances. I leave my car at the top and walk the short distance down to the ice and across to the opposite shoreline. To my surprise, I’m walking on glare ice with not a trace of surface water or sloppy snow on top. Even though the last couple of days have been in the 50’s, the nights are still cold enough to refreeze all of the surface melt. My goal today is to catch some of the fat, pre-spawn smallmouth bass that like to congregate at this time of the year right on the bottom in 20 to 40 ft of water in front of their on-shore spawning beds. I drill four holes in 19 ft to 36 ft of water and deploy my traps with the baitfish placed 2 ft off the bottom. I quickly notice that even though the air temperature is a relatively balmy 30°F, the stiff breeze blowing across the lake from the northwest generates a really nasty and biting wind chill. I’m glad to be dressed for the occasion!

 

I just love catching fat pre-spawn smallmouth bass through the ice.

I don’t get any flags during the set-up process, which is disappointing considering I left home so early and it’s now prime time. I start jigging with a 3” Swedish pimple through the holes I drilled in between and around my four traps. Nothing happens for another 40 minutes until the flag in the 30 ft-deep hole goes off. Good! However, the spool is not turning when I reach the trap. The bait was stolen though, and I suspect that the bass is still lurking down there. I lower my Swedish pimple and jig for 2-3 minutes. Sure enough, I get a bite and hook a fat and feisty 18” bruiser. I rebait and redeploy my trap in the hope that I’m sitting on top of a school of bass. Meanwhile, I drill several more holes further out and start jigging. I get no activity anywhere for the next 45 minutes until the flag in the 30 ft hole goes up again. Houston, we have a pattern! The spool is motionless when I reach the trap but the bait has been mangled. Down goes the Swedish pimple and up comes another fat and angry 18” smallmouth bass a few minutes later! I drill four new holes in the immediate vicinity of my honey hole and redeploy my traps with the bait now placed 4 ft off the bottom. My honey hole becomes another jigging hole.

 

But this splake definitely tops the cake and is a fitting end to the 2018 ice-fishing season!

This being Trickey Pond, I get no activity for the next hour or so and wander off to check out other jigging holes. Then, my third flag of the morning goes off. Again, the spool is not turning when I reach the trap, and the bait is gone. Down goes the jig in pursued of the culprit. I get several tentative hits, followed by another hookup. Ooooh, but this one feels different. I’m clearly dealing with a heftier fish. That proves to be totally the case when a 21.5” (4.5 pound) enormously fat splake emerges through the hole. YES!! I’m in seventh heaven. Catching that beauty caps off a long and rewarding ice-fishing season. It’s now a little past 10 am and I’ve been at it for the last 4 hours. I decide to call it good in order to make it back home on time to get the house ready for the Easter festivities tomorrow. So long, Winter. But only until we meet again next December!

 

The results: I landed two 18” smallmouth bass and a gorgeous 21.5” splake in 4 hours of 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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