Ice fishing for smallmouth bass on Trickey Pond in Naples, Cumberland County, Maine (March 21, 2021)

Trickey Pond is a 311-acre body of water located in Naples, Cumberland County, Maine (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 4 B5). The pond is easily accessible via a high-quality public boat launch located at its southern tip off Route 114. Plenty of parking is available next to the launch. Be aware that the paved access road between Route 114 and the pond is quite steep. Also, it is not plowed and can be icy or even impassible during the winter months. That is not an issue this morning because the warmer temperatures of the last couple of days have done a good job melting much of the snow and ice on the pavement. In fact, even though it’s 26°F when I arrive, the temperature is supposed to soar into the low 60’s by early afternoon. The forecast also calls for unlimited sunshine.

 

The parking lot by the boat launch is spacious and can accommodate multiple cars.

 

I have ice-fished Trickey Pond numerous times over the past two decades, with special emphasis on late-winter fishing for fat pre-spawn smallmouth bass. This pond also supports an active salmonid fishery for brook trout, splake, and landlocked Atlantic salmon. In fact, I’ve caught both my PB splake and salmon through the ice from this water. But Trickey Pond also has a well-deserved reputation as a “very slow” pond. Don’t expect fast action, because it just won’t happen. But the quality of the fish tends to be high which keeps me coming back year after year for more. The pond can be ice fished under the general fishing law provisions. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information.

 

It’s still nippy before sunrise, but the day is forecast to be glorious!

 

I arrive at the boat launch by 6 am and am the first one on the ice. I walk straight across on the glare surface (thank goodness for cleats!) towards a small embayment on the opposite shore where I have caught pre-spawn bass in years past. That embayment serves as a spawning area in May and I’m hoping that the bass have started moving in from off-shore as they typically do at this time in late winter. My strategy is to drill three holes over 15 to about 30 ft of water and place the baitfish 2 ft. off the bottom. I move a fourth trap further out in 42 ft of water with the baitfish placed 15 ft. below the ice in the forlorn hope of cajoling a splake or salmon to bite. I also drill half a dozen jigging holes parallel to my three bass traps. By the way, I like jigging for bass using a 3″ Swedish Pimple lure enhanced with the head or tail of a small baitfish to provide an enticing “aroma” to the water. My setup is complete by 6:45 am and I start jigging. NOTHING happens over the next two hours: not a flag, not a nibble on the jig, no stolen baitfish, nada. It’s like the bass just aren’t there. I need to come up with a different plan because otherwise I’ll be going home skunked.

 

I had to pay my dues before I was allowed to catch this really nice fish!

 

I drill six new jigging holes a little ways off in 30 to 45 ft. of water, on the assumption that the smallmouth bass haven’t really started moving in-shore yet. I’m jigging without paying too much attention when I suddenly feel hard resistance at the other end. Woow, something just grabbed the lure down there! I clumsily set the hook and slowly bring up a hard-struggling fish through the water column. It’s a big bronzeback! The lure suddenly unhooks as the fish pops its head through the hole. I immediately drop the rod and plunge both hands into the cold water to scoop out the bass before it realizes what just happened! Click here and here for other examples of almost-lost fish that way… The brute measures a very respectable 21″ and definitely makes my morning. I move the salmonid trap and one of the three shallower bass traps within 20 ft of where I hook this fish in the hope that there’s more of them down there. But, unfortunately, that is the one and only bite of the entire morning. One and a half hours of additional jigging and moving traps all around the area doesn’t make a lick of difference. It really appears like the smallmouth bass haven’t started congregating yet and are still scattered around far and wide… Trickey Pond is certainly living up to its reputation: sloooow action but quality fish!

 

The results: I caught one 21″ smallmouth bass after 3.5 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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