Trout and salmon fishing on Pierce Pond, Pierce Pond Township, Maine (May 22 to 24, 2014)

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Upper Pierce Pond all to myself during my early-morning troll

Upper Pierce Pond is all mine during my early-morning troll

Pierce Pond is a gem of a lake nestled in the mountains of central Somerset County (see the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 30 A2). It consists of three basins (lower, middle and upper) connected by shallow, boulder-infested thoroughfares. The water is crystal clear and its quality is superb. This water body, which covers 1,650 acres, is completely surrounded by a protected forested watershed. Hence, civilization intrudes minimally, except for a few grand-fathered camps in Lindsay Cove. The entire shoreline is deeply wooded and not a single dock or house is visible anywhere, except for Cobb’s Camp. Click here for a depth map and more fisheries information.




Morning traffic on Upper Pond

Morning traffic on Upper Pond



The local brook trout population is entirely native and quite robust. Trout in the 3 to 5 lb range are not uncommon. The State also stocks landlocked salmon, which creates a lively fishery, although those fish rarely exceed 4 lbs. The fishing rules on this body of water are strict, as follows: (a) the lake is closed to ice fishing but open to open-water fishing from May 1 to September 30; (b) only artificial lures are allowed; (c) the daily bag limit on trout is two fish with a minimum length of 10” and only one of which may exceed 12”; and (d) no size or bag limit on lake trout. Click here for more details on the regulations.


Captain Joel maneuvering the ship through Upper Pond

Captain Joel maneuvering the ship through Upper Pond

My son Joel and I get up ungodly early on Thursday for our annual fishing pilgrimage to Pierce Pond. We made arrangements with Andy Cobb from Cobb’s Camp to stay for two nights at the Bruce’s Reef campsite in Upper Pond. We load up our car the evening before our departure and are on our way at 5:30 am. We arrive at Lindsay Cove at 9 am and chat with several guys who are on their way out. The fishing news isn’t good: ice-out occurred on May 9, which is quite late, and the weather has been awful (cold, overcast, rain) over the last five days. As a result, Nature is 7 to 10 days behind schedule and the typical Memorial Day weekend may fly hatches haven’t started yet. Darn, that’s too bad! We won’t be fishing with dry flies, which is everyone’s favorite way of catching trout and salmon on Pierce Pond this time of year. The only positive outcome of this situation is that the black flies aren’t out yet either, which should make camping more bearable…





We don't travel all the way to Upper Pond to catch THAT!!

We don’t travel all the way to Upper Pond to catch THAT!!

We load up our two boats with all our camping gear and fishing equipment and motor up for about 45 minutes to reach the camp site. The Bruce’s Reef campsite overlooks Bruce’s Reef, one of the half-dozen or so “sunken islands” in that part of Upper Pond. We set up camp, have lunch, and start trolling all over Upper Pond from 1:30 pm to 6:30 pm. Joel uses a downrigger to which he attaches two fishing rods, each trailing two lures (the second lure is tied to the hook of the first lure by about 2 ft of monofilament). I also use a downrigger but only attach one rod trailing two lures. I hold in my hand a second rod with lead core trailing two lures. We both like the tandem approach (two lures on one line) because it doubles the odds of triggering a bite. We’re fishing with bronze-colored Mooselooks, DB Smelt spoons, and Governor Aiken and Senator Muskie wet flies. We place our lures between 5 and 15 ft deep. The weather is overcast and cool; the water temperature stands at 54°F. Nothing is hatching … or biting. Our five hours of trolling yields one pickerel. Joel trolls for another hour after diner (no success), while I stay behind to enjoy the views and the silent solitude. Fishing success, so far, is elusive…



This small landlocked salmon fell for a Governor Aiken wet fly

This small landlocked salmon fell for a Governor Aiken wet fly

I crawl out of the tent at 4:30 am the next morning (Friday) for two hours of pre-breakfast trolling. My experience with Pierce Pond over the years is that the early-morning troll can be quite rewarding. This morning is no exception: I land a 19” landlock salmon which fell for a Governor Aiken and also catch a 13” brookie which pounced on a yellow/green/orange-colored spoon. The small trout regurgitates over half a dozen 1-inch long bug larvae; this fish was definitely keyed in to bottom feeding. The salmon was particularly feisty, making several high jumps and ripping off line once it got close to the boat. That’s the spirit! I also catch a pickerel trolling back to camp, but we’re not going to talk about that… I rouse Joel out of bed at 7 am and prepare a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon, and pancakes. We’re both back on the water at 9 am. We troll with spoons and wet flies and fish with whooly buggers on sinking line for 4 hours in Upper Pond but don’t generate any fish. A ray of sunshine actually causes a small may fly hatch in the Back Channel (the waterway that runs behind Big Island) in late morning but the fish aren’t on the bugs, or on our dry flies. An additional four hours of trolling in the afternoon yields me a scrawny 13” brookie. I’m glad not to be skunked, but the fishing is darn slow today! Joel has yet to hook into a salmonid… We stay put at camp after diner on Friday evening, chatting, having a couple of beers, and marveling at the quietness, interrupted only by an occasional haunting loon call.


Time to load up our boats and make our way back to Lower Pond

Time to load up our boats and make our way back to Lower Pond

I once again crawl out of the tent at 4:30 am the next morning (Saturday) for another two hours of pre-breakfast trolling in Upper Pond. It’s wind still. The sky is also completely overcast with a low-hanging cloud deck draped around the surrounding mountains. The fish gods again look favorably on my early-morning efforts and reward me with a 17” landlocked salmon which falls for the Governor Aiken trolled one and a half colors down on my lead core. I return to camp by 7 am to get breakfast going. We also need to pack up all our gear and head back towards the car to dump our stuff and pick up my nephew Salvador and his friend Bill at 11 am. They drove in this morning. All four of us are spending four days at Cobb’s Camp. The two-day camping trip by Joel and I was just to warm up the engines : ).





The results: I caught 2 brookies (both 13”) and two landlocked salmon (17” and 19”); Joel got skunked (pickerel don’t count on Pierce Pond!).

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