Rainbow trout fishing on Middle Range Pond, Poland, Maine (November 27, 2016)

Middle Range Pond is a heavily-developed 366-acre body of water located in Poland, Maine (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 A3). A private hard-top boat launch is located at Cyndi’s Dockside restaurant (www.dockside.me) right off Route 26 at the northern end of the pond. Keep in mind that the launch fee at this spot is $8. An alternative (and free) public boat launch can be found at the northern end of Upper Range Pond off Range Hill Road. Boat access to Middle Range Pond is via a large passage underneath this road.


Christian is sound asleep for the first hour of fishing!

I lost Christian who sleeps soundly for the first hour of fishing!



Late fall can be an exciting time to go out and catch trout in southern Maine. The state has largely completed its extensive trout stocking efforts in preparation for the upcoming ice-fishing season, yet most ponds and lakes in the region remain available to open-water fishing with certain restrictions, such as use of artificial lures only (i.e., no live bait) coupled with catch and release (see the fishing laws and rules for more details on this topic). As an added bonus, most anglers have already stowed away their fishing equipment and are off the water, meaning that the hardy fishermen who can brave the elements have little or no competition. The only flip site is that the water temperature is now in the low 40’s and that catching trout by trolling can be slow business. Last month, the state stocked Middle Range Pond with about 950 rainbow trout and brook measuring between 13” and 15”. Our goal today is to catch some of those fish. I reach the boat launch at 7:30 am with my 13-year old nephew Christian. The weather conditions are favorable: the sky is overcast and should remain so for the rest of the morning, with only a light breeze blowing in from the northwest. The air temperature is a nippy 33°F and forecast to rise only into the high 30’s by noon. We are both dressed like we’re going ice fishing; we’ll need all those layers to avoid getting cold sitting still for the next couple of hours! The boat goes into the water and we’re off trolling by 8 am.


The trick to trolling is a simple portable downrigger attached to the side of the boat. Nothing fancy buit quite practical!

The trick to trolling is using a simple portable downrigger attached to the side of the boat. Nothing fancy but quite practical!

I fish with a small portable downrigger attached to the side of my boat while Christian relies on my 8-weight fly rod teamed up with lead core line. We both use two lures (mainly small Mooselook Wobbler spoons of different color patterns) attached one to the other by 2 ft of fishing line. That approach makes available four different lures to entice the trout. I focus my attention first on catching brook trout by using my fish finder to stay relatively shallow in 10 ft of water with our lures placed 5 ft below the surface. I largely succeed in staying at this depth by weaving back and forth along the shoreline, but fail to get a single hit after one hour. I also noticed that the bottom was mostly flat and featureless. Meanwhile, my nephew, who was exhausted when I dragged him out of bed earlier today, sleeps soundly through most of that first hour! Next, I follow the 15 ft depth contour, with Christian staying 5 ft below the surface and I placing my two lures 10 ft down. Another hour goes by without a single hit….





Catching this rainbow trout was the reward for all our efforts this morning.

This rainbow trout was the reward for all our efforts this morning.

Clearly something isn’t working right. We switch out the old lures and tie on different Mooselooks spoons in order to find a color combination pleasing to the trout. I now follow the 20 ft depth contour with my lures placed 15 ft down. And then I finally connect with a fish, which announces itself when my rod tip starts shaking. I set the hook and feel resistance at the other end. Great! It’s a 14” rainbow trout which was probably stocked last month. It took the lure containing a bright orange stripe. I give my nephew a similarly-colored spoon and we both continue trolling with renewed hope in 20 ft of water with all our lures placed 5 ft off the bottom. It’s now 10:40 am and Christian is complaining of getting cold. I’m not ready to call it quits just yet so I tell him to stick it out until 11 am. In return, I’ll give him some money so that he can buy himself a Mountain Dew and a snack on the way home. The bribe works but does not result in more fish… Darn! Regardless, I’m just happy to still be on the water so late in the season going after trout!


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