Exciting spring fishing opportunities abound for anglers in the Down East region. Many lakes and ponds will be ice-free later in April with immediate action for trout and salmon. The following lakes and ponds represent waters recommended to anglers by their regional fisheries biologists: Greg Burr, Joe Overlock and Rick Jordan during April, May and June.

This week’s focus: Washington County waters.

Brook trout

Simpson Pond (Roque Bluffs): This pond is situated in the middle of Roque Bluffs State Park and is the first pond to go ice-free in early April. We highly recommend this as an early fishing destination, as well as later in May after the pond receives its annual stocking of 200 spring yearling 8- to 10-inch brook trout. Simpson Pond also gets stocked with 75 brown trout. The pond holds trout to older ages and larger sizes. It’s not uncommon to catch brook trout from 11 to 15 inches. It also produces good numbers of 15- to 17-inch browns with an occasional larger fish.

West Pike Brook Pond (T18 MD): Located just outside of Cherryfield, this pond is a local favorite for anglers who like to hook into brookies between 12 and 15 inches. The pond is stocked annually with 1,200 6- to 8-inch fall fingerling trout with good survival for good numbers of larger individuals that anglers begin catching as soon as the ice starts to recede from the shore. Most fishermen shore fish with artificial lures, but there is also a boat launch for small craft, and some anglers prefer to spin or fly cast from a canoe.

Montegail Pond (Centerville): This pond is tucked away in the blueberry barrens and is stocked annually with 2,500 6- to 8-inch fall fingerlings and 300 8- to 10-inch spring yearling trout plus 175 large 11- to 14-inch fall yearling trout. It has many springs where trout like to hold out in midsummer. Anglers who fish this early can have some fantastic fishing.

Huntley Creek Pond (Cutler): This old Navy base pond gets stocked annually in May with 600 spring yearling 8- to 10-inch trout. It’s a great spot to take a child or the whole family for a day of fishing and picnicking.

Six Mile Lake (Marshfield): This lake is located just outside of the town of Machias off Route 192. It is stocked heavily annually with 1,950 6- to 8-inch fall fingerling and 700 8- to 10-inch spring yearling trout. This pond produces some holdover trout of larger sizes so that early spring anglers commonly catch fish from 12 to 16 inches.

North & South Meyers Pond: These kettle-hole ponds are “kids only” waters that sit side by side off the blueberry barrens in Columbia. Separated only by a thin esker, kids and their parents have a choice of which they would like to try first. If the fish aren’t biting in one, just hop over the hill and try the other. These waters are stocked heavily in the fall with 250 and 150 6- to 8-inch trout that hold over to sizes of 11 to 14 inches. These ponds are very good fishing and are well worth taking the kids to.

Pineo Pond (Deblois): This fly-fishing only kettle-hole pond is situated just off the Deblois blueberry barrens a few miles off Route 193. Fishermen can easily fly fish from shore or launch their canoe from the access road. This pond is stocked with 300 6- to 8-inch fall fingerling trout. It commonly holds over trout to 12-16 inches.

Monroe Lake (T43 MD): This is a remote pond located just north of the Stud Mill Road. It is stocked heavily with 3,150 fall fingerling brook trout. It is closed to ice fishing so the early spring angler can have some very fast fishing. Trout here average from 11 to 15 inches.

Pork Barrel Lake (T6 R1): Pork Barrel is a wilderness pond located just northeast of West Grand Lake. Anglers reach it with with four-wheel drive vehicles. Its access road is located off the Amazon Road about 12 miles outside of the village of Grand Lake Stream. The pond holds lots of 12- to 14-inch trout and is stocked with 650 fall fingerlings. It’s best fished from a float tube or canoe, and the carry-in off the access road is 100 feet.

Middle River (Marshfield): This stream runs beside Route 192 just north of Machias. It has a “kids only” section and it’s stocked twice between the end of May and the beginning of June. It’s great place to stop roadside and help your child cast a worm to catch their first trout.

The following are some of the best wild brook trout streams: West Branch of the Machias River, Crooked River, Fifth Lake Stream, Old Stream, Chandler River, Dennys River, Mopang Stream, Little Mopang Stream, East Machias River, and the Pleasant River.

Landlocked salmon

Grand Lake Stream: One of the top five landlocked salmon fly-fishing rivers in the state, this water produces fast fishing in the Dam Pool in early April and May as fresh salmon arrive from West Grand Lake and disperse into the lower pools. This memorable and beautiful stream averages 100 feet wide and is hard to beat for catch rates of fish between 16 and 20 inches.

Cathance Lake (Cooper): This lake is one of Washington County’s premier salmon waters. It is stocked annually with 900 to 1,200 spring yearling 8- to 10-inch salmon. It grows fish quickly, with salmon averaging between 16 and 20 inches with some reaching up to 4 pounds. It also has a fishery for wild brook trout that occasionally reach lengths of 12-18 inches. This water can have fast fishing immediately after ice-out, which usually occurs by April 20.

West Grand Lake (Grand Lake Stream): This 14,000-acre lake is one of the top salmon waters in the state and can yield fast top-water fishing within one to two weeks after the ice goes out. This lake is usually stocked with 10,000 to 11,000 salmon annually and fish average between 15 and 19 inches.

Brown trout

Pennamaquan Lake (Charlotte): This lake produces some of the nicest-sized brown trout in the county. Trollers here are running lures and flies along the dropoffs to catch fish between 16 and 22 inches.

Because many of the waters in this report have special fishing regulations, anglers are advised to consult their lawbook or the online listing of fishing regulations at the following link: www.maine.gov/ifw/laws_rules/fishing/openwater/index.htm

Greg Burr is the Assistant Regional Fisheries Biologist for Jonesboro.