Everyone has their fishing “bucket list”. The places you want to fish in your lifetime. High on my list is the Maine backcountry chasing big brook trout. It’s probably one of the east coasts most wild, untamed resources that remain sparsely populated. It’s as close to a Canadian adventure you can get without the passport and bulging wallet.
Being a Western Massachusetts native, I feel somewhat comfortable in the northeast. Although my Northeast fishing adventures ended when I was a teenager and I never got a chance to land a nice brook trout on a fly rod. Most brookies I caught were on ultra-light spinning gear, tossing spinners in small urban streams sometimes littered with tires or shopping carts. The kinds of places nobody would ever imagine finding trout. We managed to find fish mostly because we looked were most folks forgot existed. The places we fished were only those that were within a bike ride from the house, so we were creative. One of our favorite places to fish was a 575 acre state park which existed as a buffer between the suburban world of houses and a local air force base. It was hardly wilderness and the sound of giant C5A Galaxy planes reminded you of right where you were. The park contained a few small streams, some of which were damned by beavers which created an oasis of great brook trout fishing. In the words of Rod Stewart, “I wish I knew then, what I know now”. I certainly wish I had things too; like a camera, Google Earth, some solid fishing gear and a little patience. I caught a few great fish as a kid. No photos of course. But who would want to see them if there were. I’m sure me in velcro shoes and high striped athletic socks wouldn’t find its way to my man room wall.
I’ve revisited these places over the last few years when returning home to see family. Sadly they are nothing like they were 20 years ago. The streams are low and dark, not clear and cold as they were. Beaver dams were removed and bridges installed to accommodate hikers and mountain bikers. It has left me seeking the same type of adventure I remember as a kid; chasing brook trout in beaver ponds and wild rarely fished streams. Maine seems to offer this adventure on a much larger, wilder scale. My Dad has told me stories of when he was a kid, staying with his grandfather in a remote part of Maine in a cabin near a pond where he would toss in a bobber and the water would boil. So as I’ve dreamt of these places, fate was weaving a plan. And what a strange plan it is. One that will bring me on a ride into some great fishing and family history.
My Dad came up with the idea about a month ago and I had been procrastinating on developing a plan of how I could escape the confines of work and responsibility to go on a week and a half long road trip. The sort of thing I’ve only done after I’ve been laid off. Over the last few weeks we have been ironing out details and reaching out to a local Maine guide for some advice and assistance. Low and behold, the place where we will find the adventure I’ve been seeking, is the place where my great grandfather was laid to rest and the area where my father remembers fishing as a kid.
All of this will make for a really long wait until July.