Maine Back Woods Trout Ponds - Part 2

Posted by Christopher Paine on

Trout Season Early Ice Out Tips

Fly fishing varies depending on what season it is. The ice can melt anywhere from early April to mid-May, but it all depends on the area and the elevation. With the water temperature being in the 30's and low 40’s, brook trout are not very active and there is not a lot of action around. A lot of the largest fish are caught in spring which can be described by when ice-out occurs. Springtime is managed by anglers who use stout rods and sinking lines with slow retrieves. In small ponds where insects and small fish are common trout food use dragonflies nymphs, wood specialties, and other small bucktails are usually very effective to mimic their diet. Marabou Muddlers, crayfish, salamanders, and leeches in various sizes and colors also account for many fish.  Fishing the coastal town waters of Maine will be my first move for this season mostly because it's where the ice thaws first. Start casting to shore, structure and rock outcrops like at Bubble Pond or Hadlock Cove, or venture Downeast to Fox Pond or Simpson Pond in Rogue Bluffs.

You don’t have to get up early for spring fishing to have success. Over the years with frozen fingers and eyelets, I found that during early April and May, fish during the warmer part of the day around lunch to catch most of your fish. So wardens will gladly share their advice while your out on a early April morning catching absolutely nothing. Like “I’ve been watching you guys since daybreak, and noticed that you didn’t have any luck. This time of year, the fish bite best between 10am and 2pm.  Tomorrow, why don’t you sleep-in and try it again then.”

In larger bodies like lakes and big ponds, plankton forms the base of the food chain which smelts thrive around. Trout thrive around smelts and is a large part of their diet. For example as a result, early season efforts should focus on inlet and outlets of brooks that surround the Moosehead Lake area, such as Rum Brook, Wilson Brook and Roach Pond. Because smelts spawn in these brooks or tributaries just as ice out. Almost every fish is drawn to these areas to pick up a quick snack. From a boat, trolling with tandem-hook smelt patterns like Grey Ghost, Governor Aiken or Barnes Special is the popular method during spring on larger bodies of water. If you can reach the inlets while wadding along the edges of some ponds can be very productive. Especially in the moving water areas.

Trout Season As Water Warms Tips

As soon as the water warms, fish start to take an interest in the insects and usually by June fishermen catch trout fairly consistently with dry-flies. A Long-time Bangor Daily News columnist always used to say, “if a fly fisherman only had one week of vacation a year, he should take it in June, because at this time of year, there is something available for everyone.”  Fisherman in the western mountains can easily fish at places like Quimby or Beaver Pond by staying at one of Rangeley's motels. They can even camp out at Rangeley State Park to have a more authentic fishing experience. A variety of sporting camps, such as Tim Pond Camps and Bosebuck Mountain Camps can provide more exclusive access to some of the remote ponds in this region. Some other FFO ponds in the area, like Horseshoe Pond, West Branch Pond and the Lyfords can also be reached from many of the Moosehead Lake sporting camps.

June is a great time to visit Baxter State Park, which you can reach in two hours north of Bangor. This place is a 200,000 acre semi-wilderness. The 100 ponds within its boundaries have wild populations of trophy brook trout. All these ponds are managed under the FFO guidelines, which are working well for this species. For example, all these ponds have increased size and reduced bag limits. Daicey and Kidney Ponds are located in the lower southwest of the park and provide great fishing for trout in the 10”-12” range.  Cabins and canoes can be rented at great rates, give you great access to see moose, deer and rabbits up close, like the one in the photo.

These ponds are heavily fished, probably because they're accessibility. Yet both contain a significant number of large trout. Larger trout are taken in the evening period during the hatch.

Cabins located on Daicey and Kidney ponds are close enough to nearby Rocky, Little Rocky, Polly, Celia, Jackson or Lily Pad Ponds. So anglers that stay at these cabins can easily reach these other ponds and have a variety of water to be able to fish. Many of the ponds in this area produce large fish up to sixteen inches. Cabins can provide you with a canoes that you can rent from us for use on the water. Fishing requires time to learn. However, casting at the shoreline using flies such as Little Brook Trout and Warden’s Worry, to shoreline structure is productive in Rocky, Little Rocky and Polly. Maple Syrup nymphs, Hornbergs and Woolly Buggers fished on a sinking line are good choices for Celia pond. Standard dry flies, especially a #14 Adams will consistently produce fish in Jackson and Lily Pad. In the park, anglers should also try to spend at least a day on nearby Nesowadnehunk Lake, which is often referred to as the “trout factory” by the fisheries biologists. Nesowadnehunk Lake and the only FFO water around Baxter where outboard motors are allowed. Due to its size, Nesowadnehunk gets a lot rougher during the course of the day. Some experienced fishermen only fish early mornings and evenings because of this. Crayfish pattern along the bottom right at sunrise is perhaps the best way of catching a trout in this lake.




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