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Beginner’s Guide to Ice Fishing Maine’s Glacial Lakes

Ice Fishing Maine’s Glacial Lakes

Maine Outdoors Adventures with Twin Maple Outdoors

By Richard Yvon – Twin Maple Outdoors

Every Maine winter can unarguably be considered unique. The weather has become more and more unpredictable and every year ice conditions can vary drastically. Typically February and March are the two best months for fishing large glacial lakes. Why? The northern lakes of Maine are so expansive that winds stubbornly keep ice from forming resulting in a late freeze up. There certainly other factors such as springs, river current, snow cover and of coarse the obvious, air temperatures. My personal favorite time of year to ice fish has always been March due to the warmer sunny days and the safety of thickness of ice that has been forming all winter long. Nothing beats being able to fish on a calm, cloudy, mild March day! Those perfect days are far in between, but when we have them, they hold forever in our minds as we dream upon another year of ice fishing!

Ice fishing in Maine
Photo Credit: Richard Yvon

Gearing Up on Togue and Salmon

Trap fishing is a fun way to cover distance and varying water depth.

Fishing big glacial lakes always have the potential of hooking into extremely large fish. Lake trout are one of Maine’s oldest living and largest inland freshwater species. For this reason having adequate equipment is essential. Outfitting with larger 43” traps and 4” spools allows an angler to work with plenty of line and affords excellent visibility. Ice fishing line comes in many fashions. To start with, having a minimum of 20 # braided line is essential. It’s easier to handle and will hold up to cold temperatures. In addition to your fishing gear, personal effects are essential! Also, a good pair of sunglasses like Typhoons Schooner  on a bright day will help see those flags on a lake with lots of glare!

Jig fishing is very productive giving a live flashy action in the water for weary Lake Trout. Jigging a Daddy Mac Lure such as an albie jig will get you into some fast action using a medium heavy jib rod and 12 # test ice fishing line.

Ice fishing gear
Photo Credit: Richard Yvon

Tip: A Styrofoam ice bucket with a battery-powered aerator can keep your bait alive for long periods of time. Adding duct tape to the Styrofoam can prolong life of your bucket!

ice bucket
Photo Credit: Richard Yvon

Checking the Ice before you go Ice Fishing

You are about to step out onto the ice but you see no signs of previous activity, now what? The only way to check the ice is to make test holes with your auger or ice pick. Keep in mind that the shoreline typically freezes first on a lake or pond. So ice can get thinner as you venture away from shore. Study the ice color, clarity and conditions.

An approximate guide for blue, black or clear ice only

  • 2” or less stay off ice
  • 4” Ice Fishing/Ice Skating
  • 5” Snowmobile or ATV
  • 8”-12” Small Car or Pick Up
  • 12”-15” Medium sized Truck

note* – White—or snow—ice is about half as strong as new clear ice. Double the below thicknesses guidelines if you are traveling on white ice. Also, river ice is approximately 15% less strong as new clear ice.

Ice Trap
Photo credit: Richard Yvon
lake trout
Photo credit: Richard Yvon

Togue Table Fare…

Lakers make great fish fry’s! Fish in general always cook and taste much better fresh. This holds true especially for Lake Trout. Once frozen, these fish do not do well in flavor and texture. Every year on Schoodic Lake’s annual fish derby, lake trout along with salmon can be found in camp kitchens across the frozen lake. So before you right off these indigenous, wild trout, give it a chance and cook a fresh one for a shore lunch. The Dexter Outdoors knives will fillet these fish in a breeze! These fish are in abundance in Maine’s glacial lakes and by eating some you are helping the fishery as well as your stomach!

Bon Appe’tit!

lake trout
Photo credit: Richard Yvon
fishing in Maine
Richard Yvon

If you are interested in this trip or any other North Maine Fishing or Hunting Adventure, please reach out to me! Due to limited space, booking in advance is highly recommended.

To Book…  EMAIL, Call: 207-907-9151 or CLICK HERE!

Luxury Sport Lodging also Remote Cabin and Primitive Tent Camping

Ice FishingLodging, Heated Fishing Shelters, Instruction


  • Moose
  • Deer
  • Turkey
  • Partridge

Fly or Spin Fishing

  • Streamside
  • Drift Boat
  • Jet Boat Fishing Trips

Recreation Trips

  • Moose Safaris
  • Hiking (Ice Caves, Waterfalls, etc.…)
  • Kayaking/Canoeing
  • Historical Tours

Questions? You may contact Rich at: Call: 207-907-9151



Learn more about Ice Fishing in Maine 

Learn more about Hunting in Maine

Twin Maple Outdoors

ice fishing


Florida born, Maine living. Outdoor life is for me. I love adventures - hiking -photography - running - camping - reading - creating - learning - traveling - deep eddy vodka - cats and living, basically. Follow me on social - @DanielleDorrie