When does the fishing season start
Ice fishing enthusiasts in southern Maine have caught a break this year after two consecutive delayed seasons caused by unseasonably warm Decembers.
Fishing has been underway for several days at lakes and ponds in the southern portion of the state. That’s in stark contrast with last season, when most bodies of water in southern Maine did not form adequate ice for fishing until well into January.
“The last couple of years were abnormal, ” said Jim Pellerin, a fisheries biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. “This year’s a little bit ahead of two years ago, and way ahead of last year.”
Pellerin said the early-season cold has made for some excellent ice fishing opportunities in the southern part of the state.
He said those looking for good early-season fishing for trout should try Otter Ponds in Standish, Littlefield Pond in Sanford, Barker Pond in Lyman, Knights Pond in Berwick, Hall Pond in Paris, Moose Pond in Acton, and Worthley Pond in Peru. Pellerin said the best places to take kids ice fishing in southern Maine are Round Pond in Lyman and Lower Hinckley Pond in South Portland.
“There are a lot of people out already, and there is more than a couple of inches of ice on the smaller ponds, ” he said. “A lot of the bigger lakes are still open in the middle, but the shoreline and coves have frozen over.”
Larger bodies of water containing rainbow trout may not be sufficiently frozen over until after Jan. 1, Pellerin said. Those include Stanley Pond in Hiram, Norway Lake in Norway, Little Sebago in Gray, the Ranges in Poland, and Crystal Lake in Gray. Most of those should have adequate ice for rainbow trout fishing by the first of the year.
But smaller, shallower ponds containing brook trout are more than ready for fishing, he said. Pellerin said those looking to catch brookies should fish shallow, in water that is 5 feet deep or less. He recommended small bait, such as worms or small shiners, and said don’t be afraid to use a small jig as well.