WILTON — Salmon and brook trout were taking bait fish on ice-fishing trap lines Friday morning on the eastern end of Wilson Pond, while most anglers waited out the wind inside their vehicles parked onshore.

Wind chills were near zero with the air temperature 26 in and out of snow squalls coating the ice with a fine layer of flakes.

Josh Clifford of Bristol pulled up a nice, nearly 20-inch salmon approximately 75 to 100 feet from shore and released it on the ice. While he baited and reset the trap before placing it in the hole, the salmon flopped around the edge of Clifford’s angling supplies sled.

Clifford walked to another trap with its black flag up and wiggling about 20 feet from shore. Kneeling on the ice, he used his bare hands to pull up several feet of line through the hole in 6-inch-thick ice to find a brookie about 7 inches long. He removed the hook and released it back down the hole.

“Too small,” Clifford said. “I love to catch them even if they’re not large.”

Clifford said he’s a lobsterman who has to be outdoors doing something. “It beats sitting at home going crazy.”


He said the ice is only one to two inches thick in ponds along the coast where he lives, but it wasn’t the thicker ice that brought him to Wilton on Friday.

“My girlfriend’s family lives up here and we’re having Christmas tonight,” Clifford said.

This time of year, he said he can only go lobstering once or twice a week because of bad weather. “It’s too windy,” he said.

He said he’d been catching salmon and brook trout since he arrived at 8:30 a.m. and hand-augered holes for his traps.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife stocked the pond this fall with 1,000 8-inch brook trout, 100 16-inch brookies, 300 11-inch brookies, 300 11-inch landlocked salmon and 1,200 13-inch brook trout, according to the stocking report for Franklin County.

Farther east from where Clifford had set up his spread of traps, several anglers waited inside their parked pickup trucks and cars while watching their traps set up in and around the swimming area beside Lake Road opposite Bass Park.


Near the dam at the foot of the lake, a few anglers sat in idling sport-utility vehicles in the public boat launch parking area watching their traps just offshore.

After setting his traps, one man relaxed, stretching out on the ice against a large, flat rock angled up along the shoreline, a pair of ice skates on the ice by his booted feet.

Several ice fishing shacks and anglers dotted the ice off the Kineowatha Park swimming area.

After asking if anglers off the Bass Park swimming area were catching their limits, Clifford reeled in the line a bit, re-baited the hook and dropped it through the hole before resetting and placing the trap. Then he headed back toward the trap on which he caught the salmon.

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