Over the last two weeks, Jim Pellerin and Brian Lewis have prepared weekly fishing reports featuring waters they have been surveying under the Catchable Brook Trout Study. This week’s report will focus on Crystal Lake (Gray) and Sabbathday Lake (New Gloucester), the two waters that I am surveying during the month of January.

For those who may not be aware, fisheries staff working out of both the southern and central Maine regional fisheries headquarters are participating in this research project to assess angler catches of legal size stocked brook trout in different types of lake and ponds. The results of this investigation will be used to guide future stocking allocations and ramped up production of 12 – 14 inch fall yearling brook trout.

Both Sabbathday and Crystal have provided excellent fishing for brook trout, particularly during the first couple weeks of the ice fishing season. Opening day on both waters produced lots of bag limits and high catches of 12 to 16 inch brook trout. A number of anglers reported double-digit catches of brook trout. Some reported “the best fishing ever for brook trout.” A few angler catch photos from both waters are listed on the department’s Web site at www.mefishwildlife.com under the Region A link under “Fishing”, “Regional Fishing Information.”

The brook trout fishing has slowed down from the very fast pace at the onset of the ice fishing season, but both waters are still producing. I observed some nice catches of brook trout last Saturday on both waters. The most productive fishing locations are inlet/outlet areas, point bars, and shallow coves. However, many of the easy to access and popular fishing locations have been well fished, and anglers should consider also targeting brook trout in other less fished locations on both ponds. Both waters were also each stocked with 20 retired brood brook trout, and while many of these trophy-size brook trout have been caught early in the season, I still see an occasional three-pounder on the ice.

In addition to very good brook trout fishing, Crystal has provided some good fishing for rainbows, and on weekends when the pond is fished more heavily, I usually see some rainbows on the ice. The browns on the other hand, are showing up in low numbers, although folks who are jigging are picking up some browns and many of the rainbows as well. Small lures (1 – 1 1/2 inches in length), like cast masters or Swedish pimples fished in less than 15 feet of waters seem to work the best. I’ve surveyed Crystal on days when the lower end by the parking lot is peppered with anglers, and on some days the only folks that are having good luck are those working a jig stick. Rainbows and browns are running 13 to 19 inches in length, but far more rainbows are being caught.

Opening week on Sabbathday produced some very fast action for brook trout and some of the fastest lake fishing for browns I’ve ever observed. Lots of limits of browns were taken, and these fish generally ranged from 16 to 21 inches long. Some older aged browns were also caught in the four to five pound range. The largest brook trout I checked was 3.5 pounds, and although I did not see it I received reports that an eight-pound brown was caught. As with brook trout, the brown trout fishing has slowed down in comparison to opening week, but most days I continue to receive reports of trout being caught.

Although I have only been surveying Crystal and Sabbathday, we have received some very positive reports from anglers who have fished other area lakes and ponds. Middle range has produced some good fishing for rainbows and brook trout, along with some nice lake trout. Worthley Pond in Poland continues to offer good fishing for 9 – 11 inch brook trout. It’s no secret that Trickey Pond is a consistent producer of trophy size salmon, and so far this winter a number of five to six pound salmon have been caught, as well as some good catches of 15 to 19 inch long splake. Trickey is not known for fast fishing action, but it is the hope of catching a large salmon that draws anglers to fish this water.

While anglers are fishing some of the bigger lakes like Thompson, a recent aerial survey of Thompson by the local warden indicated lots of “holes” and thin spots, so caution should be exercised. Hopefully, this recent cold snap may finally button up this 4,000-acre lake. Speaking of bigger lakes, Sebago has been on a roller coaster ride since mid December, with ice coming and going. It’s plenty cold enough, but the wind continues to destroy the ice sheet. As of last weekend, ice had formed in Jordan Bay and also within a few hundred yards of shore at the “Station.” With another week of cold weather forecast, the region’s largest lake may finally get some fishable ice.

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