1. Don’t be afraid to fish close to shore where you may have better luck and can get out of the wind. For brook trout, jig with a Swedish Pimple and worm.
– Fisheries Resource Supervisor Kevin Dunham, Penobscot Region

2. Find a fresh spot on a lake or pond. Anglers who explore and fish new shores that have not been fished yet usually have good consistent fishing and may find larger fish.
– Fisheries Resource Supervisor Gregory Burr, Grand Lake Region

3. Pay attention to bait size. If specifically targeting lake trout and other large predators, use large bait as that does work best. However, for all other species, try small to medium sized baitfish. Salmon, brook trout, and warmwater fish species (bass, perch, crappie, etc.) won’t usually pass up a 2-3-inch snack. Larger (4-5-inch) baitfish are usually less desirable.

– Fisheries Resource Supervisor David Howatt, Rangeley Lakes Region

4. Learn to jig!

– Fisheries Resource Supervisor James Pellerin, Sebago Lake Region

5. If you are fishing for brook trout, fish shallow (in one to five feet of water), use small bait, and fish over gravelly or rocky bottom.
– Fisheries Resource Supervisor Jason Seiders, Belgrade Lakes Region

6. If you are fishing for lake trout (togue), try fishing around points of land that extend into deeper water. Focus on water depths of 15-40 feet off these landmarks and use large smelt for bait. Large togue cruise these areas searching for food and can often be caught close to the surface as well as near bottom.
– Fisheries Resource Supervisor Frank Frost, Fish River Lakes Region

7. The most important component of a good early season ice fishing trip is safe ice.
– Fisheries Resource Supervisor Tim Obrey, Moosehead Region

For the most up-to-date fishing news and suggestions from Maine’s fisheries biologists, check out the fishing report at https://www.maine.gov/ifw/fishing-boating/fishing/fishing-resources/fishing-report.

Rangeley Lakes Region
From Fisheries Resource Supervisor David Howatt

Waters to target:

•Ellis Pond in Roxbury is a 920-acre water that was recently stocked with three age classes of brook trout totaling 2,075 fish. Most of these are the 12-14-inch fall-yearling cohort. The pond also has smallmouth bass, chain pickerel, and both white and yellow perch. Angler access is very good with an MDIFW-owned access site along the east shore.
•Wesserunsett Lake in Madison is 1,446 acres and is annually stocked with 2,000 fall-yearling brook trout and 2,200 fall-yearling brown trout. Largemouth bass, chain pickerel, and both perch species are also commonly targeted and caught by anglers. It is easily accessible on both the east (East Madison boat launch) and west (Lakewood) sides of the lake.
If you are fishing with children, don’t forget about the Rangeley Region’s kid-fishing waters that are open to ice fishing (these waters are restricted to persons under 16 years of age and complimentary license holders):

•Harvey Pond in Madrid receives 250 spring-yearling and 150 fall-yearling brook trout annually. It also received brood fish this year (see above).
•Tibbetts Pond in Concord Township receives 100 spring-yearling and 150 fall-yearling brook trout annually.
•Toothaker Pond in Phillips receives 350 spring-yearling and 100 fall-yearling brook trout annually.
•MacDougall Pond in Caratunk receives 100 spring-yearling and 100 fall-yearling brook trout annually.

Ice fishing tip: I’m a proponent of using small baitfish. If specifically targeting lake trout and other large predators, I usually want to use large bait as that does work best. However, for all other species, I generally use small to medium sized baitfish. Salmon, brook trout, and warmwater fish species (bass, perch, crappie, etc.) won’t usually pass up a 2-3-inch snack. Larger (4-5-inch) baitfish are usually less desirable. Golden shiners and dace (if I can find them and they’re usually priced lower in bait shops) are my favorites.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.