Jason Seiders, the regional fisheries biologist in the Region B Sidney office for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, recently suggested four good waters in central Maine to ice-fish for brook trout and two dynamite destinations for landlocked salmon when the ice is safe. Some of these waters offer a decent fishery for both species.

For brook-trout enthusiasts, Seiders began with brookie opportunities in 99-acre Minnehonk Lake in downtown Mount Vernon, one of those waters that produces enough action to attract crowds. Last fall, DIF&W stocked this water with 13-inch fall-yearling brookies, 13-inch fall-yearling splake and 19- to 20-inch brook-stock brookies. In spring, DIF&W also released 10-inch spring yearling there.

Minnehonk has a long, narrow gut that extends from the northern end in the 60-foot-plus depths down to the 53-foot deep section about halfway down the basin. It’s a good spot for fish to congregate, but in winter brookies also can be shallow.

McGrath Pond in Oakland also made Seiders’ list. DIF&W released fall yearlings there, including 13-inch splake and 13-inch brook trout. The department also added 19-inch brood-stock brookies. Like in Minnehonk, DIF&W stocked spring-yearling brookies in May. Seiders said when ice formed on McGrath back in late fall, anglers were reporting 30-fish days here, but ice became more iffy the week before Christmas.

According to the “2013 Maine Fish Stocking List,” Jamies Pond in Manchester received nine different brook trout stockings between April 22 and Nov. 20, including 10-, 13-, 8- and 20-inch long brook trout. This lovely 107-acre pond has a maximum depth of 75 feet; the deep water lies on the north end and runs south to beyond the single island. Surprisingly, this jewel lies about five miles from the State House in Augusta.

Echo Lake lies in picturesque country, covers 1,061 acres and has a 117-foot deep hole just west of the huge peninsula that juts north and splits this water in half. The department releases fall-yearling brookies 13-inches long and fall splake 14-inches there, and brookies drop down from Parker and Minnehonk lakes, too. The smelt population in Echo looks strong, so the salmon fishery has responded well.

For landlocked salmon and brook trout, Seiders recommended St. George Lake in Liberty, a 1,017-acre water with a 65-foot deep hole southwest of Millstone Island. The salmon run to 4 pounds, respectable in central Maine, but this water has another bonus, a good brookie fishery with trout up to 17 inches long.

Seiders likes Maranacook Lake these days, a 1,673-acre water with a 128-foot deep hole that lies in the southern basin. Salmon can grow over 20 inches, and Seiders said reports tell of 5-pound-plus fish, thanks to an abundant smelt population. One reason for the smelt increase, he said, is “the lake trout population is down. Smelts are up.”

Without this big char eating smelts, there are more of these schooling baitfish for salmon. The department stopped stocking lake trout in 2000 but natural reproduction doesn’t hurt the salmon population.

I seldom talk to a fisheries biologist in Region B without inquiring about Little Pond in Damariscotta. Yes, DIF&W closed this water to ice fishing, but the magnificent brook-trout fishery there keeps me curious. Seiders said this water has the best growth rate for brookies in the state. He also said the biggest brookies may top 4 pounds – a small pond right on our Atlantic Coast in a heavily developed region.

Speaking of Little Pond … before retiring a few years ago, DIF&W fisheries biologist William Woodward of Monmouth said DIF&W trapped 7-year-old stocked brook trout there during his last year with the department – quite old for hatchery brookies.

Back in the 1970s, DIF&W stocked too many salmon and trout in Maine waters, resulting in poor growth rates. These days the department’s fisheries biologists do a much better job of matching stocking numbers to available feed.

In conclusion to my interview with Seiders, he mentioned that landlocked salmon have fallen on hard times in Long Pond, once one of my favorite Maine waters. For two decades I left a fishing boat on this water year-round, but I haven’t fished Long Pond for years, such a shame. At one time DIF&W biologists, at least some of them, called this one of the best three waters in Maine for big salmon.

Ken Allen of Belgrade Lakes, a writer, editor and photographer, may be reached at

[email protected]