It was close to quitting time after a slow day at work a few years ago when I went on the road for a ride around the outskirts of Westbrook. I spotted the stocking truck at Mill Brook. It seems the folks from the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife were making their third drop of trout for the season. Now I typically don’t follow stocking trucks around, but I must admit, I was excited. It had been years since I fished a small brook and it was a perfect, warm May day. I’d rather be on a remote trout pond trying for native fish, but this would have to suffice.

Feeling like a like a giddy school kid skipping class, I left work early and gathered the necessary implements. In less than an hour I was on the brook with fly rod in hand. I texted a few friends about the stocking truck, Matt Brunner and Josh Walton, avid fly fishermen in their own right, and they decided to join in the fun.

Catching just-stocked fish is no easy feat. Not only are they adjusting to the shock of the transport and transplant, they are used to eating pellet food, not natural bait. With this in mind, my plan was to replicate an insect that may have inadvertently fallen into the rearing pond. Trying a few fly imitations and mosquito replicas proved fruitless. Then my fly box flipped to ant patterns. After seeing a few trout holding against a log, my short cast found the right current and the 10-inch brownie was on. Keeping the fish away from a winter’s worth of branches and snags was a challenge, especially on a fine 1-pound tippet, but before long a perfect brown trout sat in my creel. Another repeat performance and I soon had the makings for some smoked trout, one of my favorite spring traditions.

My long-time fishing partner says the best trout fishing is when the leaf on an alder branch is the size of a mouse’s ear. I must admit I never check, I just fish for trout in early and mid-May. While fly fishing a small stream is fun, I enjoy trolling for trout, as well. Trolling for trout in early May utilizes the same gear as we use for ice-out salmon fishing. The flies remain the same, but I find a few different lure patterns work best. Small spoons 2-inches or less work well for trout as they generally have smaller mouths than salmon or lakers. One of my favorite lures is the Al’s goldfish in gold or orange. These little spoons have some great action at trolling speeds of about 1½ or 2 mph. I always watch the lure boatside and adjust the throttle so I can see how the lure is running.

One top trout lake for trolling in this region is Little Sebago Lake. Trolling in the shallows with a streamer fly is productive this time of year. Start with a Barnes’ special, which imitates a yellow perch and troll at about 2 to 2½ mph. Little Sebago has a rapidly changing bottom structure, so you have to pay attention. I’ve fished this lake for more than 20 years and I still run aground now and then. Heavily stocked with rainbow and brown trout, Little Sebago typically produces good numbers of trout this month. Happy angling and be sure to check on that alder leaf.

Tom Roth is a freelance outdoor writer who lives in Raymond on the shore of Sebago Lake and has been fishing and hunting in this region for more than 30 years.

The author shows off a whopper brown trout taken by trolling streamer flies in May.  

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