While the big lake hasn’t seen any ice yet, I remain confident at least Jordan Bay will lock up by February. But anglers itching to get on the ice need not despair; there are a few smaller lakes and ponds worthy of setting a tip-up or two.

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

Close by in Standish, the Otter Pond chain never disappoints. Heavily stocked with some decent brook trout, Otter Ponds #2 and #4 are the ones to concentrate on. In addition to fish in the 8- to 14-inch size, brood stock brookies as long as 18 inches are planted on these ponds. These are some real big tank scrubbers!

To the north a bit, the Range Pond Chain ices over quickly and provides some top-notch angling. A great place to take kids, the Range Chain is stocked with all species of trout and has an abundance of native fish such as bass, panfish and pickerel. Just last month, the folks at Fish and Wildlife stocked some 24-inch rainbow trout in Middle Range Pond along with some 19-inchers in Middle and Upper Range ponds. These are old brood stock fish, but hundreds of brown, brook and rainbow trout are stocked into these ponds annually.

Also in Poland, Tripp Pond freezes rapidly as it is shallow, and it is also visited heavily by the stocking truck. Stocked with brown trout and salmon, Tripp Pond is a great spot to fish this month. Easily accessed off Route 11, Tripp is a prime spot for January anglers itching to get on the hard water.

Anglers Adam Farrington, left, and Rene Lavoie show off a Range Pond rainbow trout.  Tom Roth / For Lakes Region Weekly

Early ice fishers do best with offerings of live bait. Shiners are always a top pick for me. When fishing waters with brook trout, try a big glob of worms or nightcrawlers. Small jigs also work for fish and allow you to be active and move around to find the fish. Small fish-shaped jigs in silver and gold are good first picks. I like to set four traps (where the limit is five) and jig one hole, moving around constantly. This jigging-on-the-move tactic has always paid off.

New sporting goods store opens

Of interest to local anglers, hunters and shooting enthusiasts, a new sporting shop opened up in the region. Sebago Outfitters opened late last year at 1254 Roosevelt Trail in Windham. They now stock a great selection of guns and ammo and will be expanding to offer fishing and outdoor-related equipment. This region needs a good outdoor store, and we wish owner Leah Drinkwater and her staff much success, as her goal is to sell the fishing items we use on Sebago and area lakes.

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