Adam Farrington of Poland and the late Rene Lavoie of Lewiston show off a nice Range Pond rainbow trout caught while ice fishing a few years back. Tom Roth / For Lakes Region Weekly

As I look out on Sebago Lake’s Jordan Bay, I am sad to see open water. It looked like it was locked up and would freeze last week, but a warm stretch melted my hopes. However, some smaller ponds nearby have been providing anglers with their first stab at ice angling this year. The nearby Range Pond chain in Poland (Middle, Upper and Lower Range ponds) has frozen and anglers are reporting good catches of bass and panfish, plus some of the three trout species stocked there.

Over on the Standish side of Sebago Lake, the Otter Ponds are shallow and freeze quickly. On top of that, they are heavily stocked with brook trout, to include some larger brood stock brook trout.

Crystal Lake in Gray is another early freezer that sees action from local anglers. Also known as Dry Pond, it’s stocked with brook, brown and rainbow trout. Additionally, last year it received brood stock brookies and rainbows.

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.

In Naples, Trickey Pond is stocked with brook trout, landlocked salmon and splake. What is a splake, you ask? Splake are formed by crossing brook trout with lake trout. They have the fight of a brookie with the rapid growth rate of a laker. They are thrill to catch and provide great sport and eating. Sadly, they rarely reproduce in the wild, so they are a put-and-take commodity, but they grow rapidly, making them a desirable fish to catch.

Nearby Tripp Pond in Poland is a good bet if you are looking for salmon. Tripp is stocked with salmon and brown trout. Shallow depths help Tripp Pond freeze fast and anglers can access it easily from Route 11. Give it a try.

Bait on a tip-up is the preferred method for fishing these ponds and lakes early season. If I am fishing brook trout waters, I like to thread a gob of nightcrawlers or worms on a hook and set it close to shore. Sometimes a foot or two of water is all you need. If I am fishing farther out, I will use a small or medium shiner. In salmon waters, set the shiner just a few feet under the ice. If targeting trout, try bait on the bottom as well as midway up in the water. Splake can be jigged like their close cousin the lake trout. Try a small or medium Swedish pimple lure tipped with the tail of a shiner. Bounce it on the bottom for a half hour or so, and if you don’t have any luck, move. Repeat until you have achieved the desired results.

I will remain hopeful that Jordan Bay locks up and freezes this year. We missed fishing it last year and don’t want to forego another year on her ice. Be careful and always check the ice before venturing out. Good luck and happy angling.

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