The boat launch is unimproved, steep, and gravelly…
Silver Lake (a.k.a. Figure Eight Pond) is a 29-acre body of water located in Sidney and Manchester, Kennebec County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 12 B5). To reach this location, drive on Route 27 north (towards Belgrade), turn left on Summerhaven Road, go for about 0.6 miles before turning left on Baxter Drive, drive for about 0.2 miles and turn right on Community Drive. The southern lobe of the pond will soon appear on your right. The public boat launch consists of loose gravel and is otherwise unimproved, but can accommodate small trailered boats. However, keep in mind that the launch is fairly steep; I had to use four-wheel drive to pull my boat up the wet and gravelly incline on my way out. In addition, the water by the launch is rather shallow, which requires backing into the lake a fair bit before the boat will float off. I also had to put on my hip boots to manually guide my boat back on the trailer on account of the shallow depth by the launch. Parking space is limited on Community Drive and occurs along the side of the road next to the launch.
It’s crisp and cold this morning. Time to rise and start ice fishing!
It’s the annual winter school vacation, so it’s high time to go camping and fishing with the kids… on the ice! My son Joel and I are eager to make it a success because this will be a new experience for his two boys. The goal is to find a spot on a local lake where we can drive up, pitch the family tent, and be reasonably assured of catching quality fish to keep the two boys engaged and entertained. Previous fishing experiences on Panther Pond in Raymond, Maine (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 B2) has shown us that this body of water supports a serious smallmouth and largemouth bass population of braggin’-size fish (click here, here, and here for examples). My son Joel and I are putting that information to good use.
Bradley Pond Road is one continuous sheet of slippery ice this morning!
Bradley Pond is a 34 acre body of water located in Lovell, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 10 D2). To reach this destination, drive north on Route 5 from Lovell, and turn right on Bradley Pond Road. Drive down this winding road, keeping right at the split, until the pond appears to your left. The ice can be accessed via the rough boat launch indicated by a sign. No real parking is available during the winter because the small launch area remains unplowed, so vehicles have to be parked as best as possible along the side of the road. Fortunately, the road itself has no through traffic since it is a dead end that serves only the three houses present along the western shoreline.
The morning fog is lifting as the sun is about to emerge over Hancock Pond
Hancock Pond covers 858 acres and straddles the boundary between the towns of Sebago and Denmark in Cumberland County and Oxford County, respectively (see The Atlas and Gazetteer map 4 B3 and 4). The public access is located along the eastern shoreline at the intersection of Hancock Pond Road and Wabunaki Road. The boat launch is hard-topped and can accommodate large motorized craft. Ample parking is available on Hancock Pond Road behind the large white electrical switch boxes across from the entrance to the launch. This pond, one of many in southern Maine which are stocked annually with brown trout, is known to grow some serious fish. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information. I have it on good authority that 6++ pound brown trout behemoths swim around this body of water… This species is hardier than our native brook trout and also does better in the presence of other competing fish species, which is why browns are stocked in “marginal” brook trout waters. However, they are weary creatures and are less likely than brookies to grab artificial lures like spoons. I take advantage of the fact that I can still use live bait before the seasonal rule change on October 1, when only artificial lures are allowed in southern Maine. Continue reading →
Crystal Pond (a.k.a. Beals Pond) covers 47 acres and is located in Turner, Androscoggin County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 11 C4). This body of water is immediately adjacent to Route 4. Ample space is available to leave vehicles next by the pond, but be aware that this parking area is typically not plowed in the winter. During my visit, the snow was all packed down and icy due to the recent thaw, and I was able to park my car off the road. That may not be the case after a snow storm or if the snowplows have left behind a deep snowbank next to the road. In that case, vehicles must be parked in the breakdown lane of Route 4.
Stearns Pond covers 255 acres and is located in Sweden, Oxford County (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 10 E3). To access this pond from Waterford Road (Route 93), drive down Hardscrabble Road and turn left on Wint Road. Drive down this road for 0.25 miles before turning left on Town Landing Road. The public access point to the pond is located at the end of this gravel road. The boat launch is unimproved but consists of firm sand and can easily accommodate small trailered boats. Ample parking is available next to the launch.
Lake Arrowhead provides hundreds of acres of shallow coves and bays
Lake Arrowhead covers 779 acres and is located in Limerick and Waterboro, York County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 2 A2). This lake has two trailerable boat launches. The first one is located off New Dam Road by the dam over which flows the Little Ossippee River. The second one is about two miles further south also off New Dam Road but closer to Chadburne Ridge Road which separates this lake from Little Ossippee Pond. I put my small aluminum craft in the water by the dam. The water is deep enough at this location to dispatch large boats. Plenty of parking is also available next to the launch. I arrive at the launch by 10 am and am greeted by a friendly and chatty boat inspector. The lake has been infested with Eurasian milfoil, an aggressive invasive plant species, for over 20 years. She checks every boat going in and coming out for fragments of this aquatic pest to ensure that the infestation does not spread to other water bodies.Surprisingly, considering it’s the long July 4th weekend, I only see three other cars with trailers parked by the launch.
The unimproved boat launch at Pickerel Pond can only accommodate small trailered boats.
Pickerel Pond covers 46 acres and is located in Limerick, York County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 4 E3). A small unimproved boat launch is found by the outlet at the southern end of the pond right off Route 11 (Central Avenue). The substrate by the ramp is sandy and firm but the water level is rather low. Only hand-carried craft and small trailered boat can be dispatched with ease from the ramp. The parking area is rather restricted and can only accommodate 3 or 4 vehicles with trailers. Salvador and I arrive at the launch at 10 am, eager to wet our lines. The sky is mostly overcast with air temperatures in the mid to high 70’s. It feels muggy and we have to face a stiff breeze blowing in from the northwest.
The public boat launch on Sokokis Lake is sturdy and the adjoining parking area can accommodate multiple vehicles and trailers
Sokokis Lake (a.k.a. Holland Pond) covers 192 acres and is located in Limerick, York County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 4 E3). A nice, hard-top boat launch is located at the southern end of the lake by its outlet right off Route 11 (Central Avenue). Enough space is available to park over a dozen vehicles and trailers on the public parking area located next to the launch. Salvador and I arrive at our destination at 2 pm and are greeted by a polite high school kid who checks my boat and trailer for fragments of aquatic vegetation to prevent introducing an invasive plant species into the lake. My boat and trailer get a clean bill of health. The weather has improved greatly since this morning, when conditions were overcast and gloomy. Now the sky is blue and the sun is bright, but the breeze is still blowing in briskly from the northwest. The air temperature is in the balmy low 80’s.
Three inches of water on top of the ice make for a floating trap and a slushy mess…
Parker Pond covers 166 acres and is located in Casco (Cumberland County), Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 5 B1). I choose to ice fish this body of water today because it is located right next to a major road (Route 121). Southern Maine has been walloped by over 3 ft of snow over the last two weeks. Since I do not own a snow mobile, and hence have to walk everywhere on the ice, I want to fish close to a road. Route 121, which runs along the western shore of Parker Pond, has two 300-ft long “pull-outs” that run parallel to the road (and are typically plowed in the winter) and where anglers can park their cars to gain instant access to the ice. Parker Pond is a shallow body of water with an average and maximum depth of 10 and 19 ft, respectively. It contains your typical collection of “warm-water” species, such as bass, chain pickerel, yellow perch and white perch. The state also frugally stocked the pond last fall with 410 brook trout measuring 12” and 13”, resulting in a stocking rate of between 2 and 3 trout per acre. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information.