2/3/14: Ballard Pond, Derry NH
Conditions: overcast, calm, 40, rain midday
Equipment: ice fishing gear – jigging rods, tipups
Baits: live dillies (worms)
Far back of the Robert Frost Farm in Derry is a handsome, fairly large pond, just off a popular trail frequented by hikers and ORHV users. It’s undeveloped and shallow throughout. Snow conditions in the woods were not great and we were looking for a pond that would hold snow nicely enough for some cross country skiing. I planned on doing a little fishing exploration as well… Featured in the book Quiet Water – New Hampshire & Vermont, by John Hayes & Alex Wilson (put out by the Appalachian Mountain Club) Ballard Pond can be accessed either from the historic Taylor Mill site maintained by the State (which will require a short portage around the upstream dam to get to the main pond) or by parking at the trail access on Island Pond Road and hiking or skiing in. We choose the latter. With a picnic lunch packed, we ventured out onto the quiet pond and worked our way down to the dam, where I cut three holes in the ice to try my luck. Pickerel, by and large, are the only gamefish in this pond and I found none during our rain interrupted outing. Will be back to paddle this one!
Tower Hill Pond is part of Manchester’s water supply and feeds into Massabesic lake. The pond is a 1/3 mile hike off of Tower Hill Pond Road in Auburn. It’s undeveloped, quiet and holds decent fish: largemouth bass, yellow perch, rainbow and brown trout. 13″ of ice adorned the pond during my outing and I was down to shirtsleeves by the time I chopped my 6th hole with the chisel. Hazy sun shone on this calm day. There were other ice fishers down the opposite end. Snowmobiles occasionally went by, but it was mostly quiet and about as nice as a day at the beach. I worked 5 tipups and a jigging rod with bait. Keeping the bait moving with the rod finally yielded two 12″ brown trout that I found in 7′ of water over rocks.