Fishing for landlocked Atlantic salmon on Pierce Pond in Pierce Pond Township, Somerset County, Maine (May 28, 2021)

 

Cabin life at Pierce Pond. The way life should be!

 

I’m on my annual extended Memorial Day weekend fishing pilgrimage to Pierce Pond located in Somerset County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 30 A2). Click here for a more detailed description of this water body. Six of us have gathered to spend a week together at Cobb’s Camp to recharge our internal batteries, reconnect with each other, fish our hearts out, and make life-long memories.

 

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Fishing for landlocked Atlantic salmon and brook trout in Pierce Pond, Pierce Pond Township, Somerset County, Maine (May 2, 2021)

 

Cobb’s Camp, my base of operation for the weekend.

 

Pierce Pond is a 1650-acre protected gem located in Pierce Pond Township, Somerset County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 30 A2). I have visited this beautiful three-basin lake (Lower Pond, Middle Pond, and Upper Pond) annually for well over 20 years during the long Memorial Day weekend at the end of May. The goal, always, is to catch landlocked Atlantic salmon and brook trout on dry flies during the spectacular mayfly hatches that peak during that period. This year, I wanted to mix things up a bit by fishing on opening day, which on this lake is May 1. I made prior arrangements with Cobb’s Camp to stay in one of their cozy cabins for two nights and spare me the hassle of having to haul out and set up my camping gear.

 

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Fishing for landlocked Atlantic salmon on Pierce Pond, Somerset County, Maine (May 25, 2020)

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I’m on my annual extended Memorial Day weekend fishing pilgrimage to Pierce Pond located in Somerset County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 30 A2). Click here for a more detailed description of this water body. My son, nephew, and I are spending five days camping rough on one of the island camp sites on Upper Pond owned and operated by Cobbs Camp. Unfortunately, we won’t be staying at the Cobbs cabins on Lower Pond this year on account of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Catching landlocked Atlantic salmon on the dry fly is such a blast!

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Fishing for landlocked Atlantic salmon on Pierce Pond, Somerset County, Maine (May 26, 2019)

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A quiet moment of reflection at the camp site located in the upper basin of Pierce Pond

I’m on my annual extended Memorial Day weekend fishing bonanza to Pierce Pond, located in the undeveloped wilds of western Maine (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 30 A2). We stay for several days at a camp site on one of the islands in the upper basin of the pond, but head to Cobb’s Camps located in the lower basin across from Lindsey Cove to let ourselves be pampered for four days.

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Fishing for landlocked Atlantic salmon on Pierce Pond in Somerset County, Maine (May 28, 2018)

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It’s the long Memorial Day weekend of 2018 and that means that I’m on my annual pilgrimage to gorgeous Pierce Pond in Somerset County, Maine (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 30 A2). This huge “pond” is divided into three major basins (i.e., Upper Pond, Middle Pond and Lower Pond) which together cover a total of 1,650 acres. I’m fishing for four days in this special place with my sons Joel and Jon, and nephew Salvy. We’re renting a cozy log cabin at Cobb’s Camp in Lower Pond which affords us access to an indoor toilet, a hot shower, and cooked meals off the grid in the middle of nowhere! Pierce Pond is a totally pristine and unspoiled environment. The lake is completely surrounded by forests in a protected watershed. These conditions maintain the exceptional surface water quality which supports a robust and self-sustaining native brook trout population and a healthy population of stocked landlocked Atlantic salmon. The latter range in weight from 2 to 4 pounds. General fishing laws apply, except that (a) the pond is closed to ice fishing, (b) the pond opens to fishing on May 1 (but beware that ice-out can occur well past May 1 after a cold winter), (c) only artificial lures are allowed, (d) the daily bag limit for brook trout is two fish, and (e) the minimum length limit for brook trout is 10”, with only one fish allowed to exceed 12”. Click here for a depth map and click here for the fishing rules.

 

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Brook trout and landlocked Atlantic salmon fishing on Pierce Pond, Pierce Pond Township, Maine (May 30, 2017)

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This little landlocked salmon jumped four times out of the water. What a treat!

Today is, most unfortunately, the last day of fishing on Pierce Pond in Somerset County (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 30 A2) for Joel, Salvy and I before we have to leave this slice of heaven and return back home to face Life. Joel already spent 11 consecutive days on the pond before today and has discovered an intriguing pattern. The cool weather and lack of sunny days over the last week and a half has kept the surface water temperature below normal for this time of the year. The mayfly hatches have been sporadic and inconsistent at best and the fish have not focused on this seasonal food source yet. However, the cool surface water temps have allowed the salmonids to feed extensively in shallow water in search of bait fish and other bug life. Through much trial and error Joel figured out that, based on the unusual prevailing conditions, select rock piles in shallow areas of Pierce Pond (and the pond is full of those piles!) are serving as magnets for prey items and the salmonids that feed on them.

 

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Brook trout fishing on Pierce Pond, Pierce Pond Township, Somerset County, Maine (May 29, 2017)

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Excellent trolling conditions!

It’s the long Memorial Day weekend of 2017 and that means that I’m on my annual pilgrimage to gorgeous Pierce Pond in Somerset County (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 30 A2). This huge “pond” is divided into three major basins (i.e., Upper Pond, Middle Pond and Lower Pond) which together cover a total of 1,650 acres. I’m fishing for four days in this special place with my son Joel and nephew Salvy. We’re renting a cozy log cabin at Cobb’s Camp in Lower Pond which affords us access to an indoor toilet, a hot shower, and cooked meals off the grid in the middle of nowhere! Pierce Pond is a totally pristine and unspoiled environment. The lake is completely surrounded by forests in a protected watershed. These conditions maintain the exceptional surface water quality which supports a robust and self-sustaining native brook trout population and a healthy population of stocked landlocked Atlantic salmon. General fishing laws apply, except that (a) the pond is closed to ice fishing, (b) the ponds opens to fishing on May 1 (but beware that ice-out can occur well past May 1 after a cold winter), (c) only artificial lures are allowed, (d) the daily bag limit for brook trout is two fish, and (e) the minimum length limit for brook trout is 10”, with only one fish allowed to exceed 12”

 

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Brook trout and landlocked Atlantic salmon fishing on Pierce Pond, Pierce Pond Township, Maine (May 27, 2016)

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Day 3: Friday May 27, 2016

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I'm trolling this morning under a leaden sky. Good! It keeps the light levels down.

I’m trolling this morning under a leaden sky. Good! It keeps the light levels down.

Shoot, I “overslept”! I stumble out of my tent at 5 am and get ready for trolling. I don’t bother waking up Joel since he isn’t an early riser anyway. The conditions this morning are very different from the day before: a cold front moved through the region overnight, bringing in a heavy cloud deck, some rain, and lots of wind. What a difference from the perfect conditions we experienced yesterday evening, just a few hours earlier! The rain has stopped but everything is dripping wet. Fortunately, the air temperature is a comfortable 54°F. I start trolling with my usual arsenal: one spinning rod using two Mooselook Wobbler spoons with the monofilament line clipped to a 4-lb weight attached to a portable downrigger, and an 8-weight fly fishing rod paired up with lead core line fishing with a Grey Ghost and Governor Aiken streamer flies. That’s a total of four lures looking for fish 10 to 15 ft below the surface. I like using lead core line in the spring and fall when I don’t have to troll much deeper than two or three colors. In my experience, about 75% of the fish I’ve hooked while trolling over the years have been caught on streamer flies. The reason is that I make the effort of constantly “ripping” my line through the water, thereby causing the flies to make erratic and jerky movements which seem to attract the attention from the fish down below. Besides, by actively working the lead core line one can also experience first-hand the ferocious hits on the streamer flies, which is something which cannot be felt when the line is clipped to a downrigger trolling weight. I get one of those tremendous hits about one hour into my morning troll. But then the lead core line goes slack. Darn it, I missed the fish! I quickly spool in my line when suddenly a landlocked salmon announces itself by performing several crazy jumps out of the water and making two strong runs that rip line off my spool. It looks like it grabbed the Grey Ghost and just kept on swimming towards the boat until my quick spooling action caught up with it. I really like those surprises! The fish measures 18.5”, gets photographed and is released back into the water. I see no further action until I return to camp an hour later, but I’ve got my story to share with Joel over breakfast!

 

 

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Brook trout and landlocked Atlantic salmon fishing on Pierce Pond, Pierce Pond Township, Maine (May 28, 2016)

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Day 4: Saturday May 28, 2016

 

I love the ambiance of a wind-still foggy morning on Pierce Pond!

I love the ambiance of a wind-still foggy morning on Pierce Pond!

 

Now that is one fat native wild brookie!

Now that is one fat native wild brookie!

Today is our last day at the Cobb’s camping site on the Upper Pond island before we move our operations to one of the cabins at Cobb’s Camp in Lower Pond. I once again crawl out of my sleeping bag at 4:30 am for my morning troll. It rained heavily last night but now it is wind still and the whole lake is covered by a heavy blanket of fog, which is very much to my liking! I’m fishing alone since Salvy needs to catch up on his sleep. I’m using my usual technique of two Mooselook Wobbler spoons on a down rigger, and two streamer flies on my lead core line fished 10 to 15 ft down. I’m on the water for no more than 15 minutes when my downrigger rod starts shaking. I put down my lead core line which I’m holding in my hands and quickly remove the downrigger rod from the rod holder to unclip the line and set the hook. Shoot, I’m pulling water… I bring in the spoons, cast them out, and start futsing with the downrigger clip when my lead core line suddenly begins shaking violently. Holy mackerel! It looks like the fish which missed hooking itself on the spoon subsequently bit one of the streamer flies when they both passed it by 30 seconds later! And this fish ain’t no minnow either!! I get several powerful runs but no acrobatics. It must be a large brook trout, which it is! The fish measures a relatively short 18.5” but has a hefty girth of 11.5” and weighs in at around 3.3 pounds! It gets carefully measured, photographed and released to grow bigger and be caught again at some future date. Now here’s a fish to brag about around the breakfast table! But I’m not done yet for this morning. Twenty minutes later, I hook but miss a 16” landlocked salmon on one of my streamer flies, and 30 minutes after that I land the smallest salmon (8”) I’ve ever caught on Pierce Pond over the last 15 years. It fell for the Grey Ghost. I’m experiencing a magic morning: the fish are active, the fog is slowly burning off by the rising sun, the water surface is calm, and I’m engaged in my favorite activity. It doesn’t get much better than this…

 

 

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Brook trout and landlocked Atlantic salmon fishing on Pierce Pond, Pierce Pond Township, Maine (May 26, 2016)

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Day 2: Thursday May 26, 2016

 

Good morning, Pierce Pond!

Good morning, Pierce Pond!

I drag myself out of my sleeping bag at 4:30 am for early-morning trolling. I like fishing at the crack of dawn because the bite can be quite good before the sun rises and drives the fish deeper. The weather is beautiful, with light wind, temps in the mid 50’s and full visibility. Regardless, I’m dressed like I’m going ice fishing. I know from experience that I feel cold this early in the day because I’m still half asleep, move little, and haven’t had breakfast or a hot beverage. All my efforts are for naught though because I do not get a single hit in the next two hours, either on the streamer flies or the Mooselook Wobbler spoons. Regardless, I deeply enjoy my “alone” time and like the experience of seeing a new day emerge from the night. I return to camp by 7 am. Joel and I prepare breakfast, which for me consists of a healthy portion of pancakes, scrambled eggs, and pork patties, washed down by two cups of hot tea. I’m fully awake now!

 

 

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