“You can go for warm-water bass and cool-water trout in the same pond,” Dietrich says. “It’s quiet, still, and secluded on the ponds, and the fishing is a lot more subtle.”
Cape Cod was carved into its 412-square-mile, bicep-flexing form by glaciers during the last Ice Age about 10,000 years ago. As the glaciers receded, chunks of ice broke off and were surrounded by sediment. The ice melted into self-made holes, and the ponds were formed. Today, the acidic pH of any decaying organic matter in the water is offset by the basic pH of the sandy lime soil, leaving the water clear and healthy for a number of fish species. The sandy pond bottoms are relatively free of algae and hook-snagging vegetation, thanks in part to environmental measures that limit phosphorus discharge and water-quality checks by towns. These kettle ponds, as their name implies, are kettle-shaped, sloping from banks to deep depressions in the middle.
Due to a gradual slope toward a deep middle, the ponds support a diverse mix of both warm- and cold-water fish. Smallmouth and largemouth bass, perch, pickerel and sunfish prefer the warmer water near the shore, especially under the cover of plants and tree branches. The rainbow, brown, and tiger trout that are stocked in spring and fall in many ponds like to stay further down in the cooler, deeper water during summer, and come closer to the surface during chillier months.
Dry flies work well for trout in cooler temperatures. During the warmer months, weights or a sinking line are recommended to get your fly down to the cooler water of the 20-foot depth zone, where streamers, wooley buggers, and nymph patterns are a good choice. Bass can be played year-round with poppers, clousters, and wooley buggers. Warm-water fish can be found schooling 10 or so feet from the shore, especially around partially submerged trees and brush. Docks, diving platforms, and other structures are also great places to cast flies to schooling fish.
“The seals are pushing fish farther out in the saltwater, so it’s getting harder to fish from the saltwater beaches,” says Steve Kean of Cape Cod Fishing Expeditions. “The ponds are a blast to fish, and there’s hardly ever anyone on them. With the warm weather we’ve been having the past couple of seasons, the ponds are fishable year-round.”