This is the first of a multi-part series on fishing in Northwest Maine
My brother Lou called and invited me to join him on a fishing trip, trout and salmon fishing in Maine. It sounded like it might be fun. As boys we had fished together and always had a great time. I used to enjoy trout fishing but gave it up after all my rods, reels, and other gear were stolen. Lou offered to lend me some rods and reels; I still had my fishing vest and a few other odds and ends. The rest I could replace with a trip to the Kittery Trading Post. I agreed we should explore this more.
Later Lou called to tell me that he had learned more about the Kennebago Lake region and some places for us to stay. He was very enthusiastic. This trip could be as good as Labrador! Labrador? What about Labrador? Oh, this was the trip, he explained, when he, his partners, and all supplies for a week had to be flown in via seaplane. Had to be flown in? Of course, he explained, it was a remote area of Labrador. I questioned myself - are any parts of Labrador not remote? I told him that in my mind Labrador was the definition of remoteness.
“No, of course not,” he assured me, “remoteness is when you are more than 300 miles from any place with electricity.”
The idea of flying into a remote lake gave me concern, even more so when I learned that the pilot simply dropped them off with just enough supplies to last the week and a promise to return to pick them up again at week’s end. What if the plane had crashed? What if he never came back? Three hundred miles from anything that resembled civilization and plunked down in the middle of grizzly bear territory, wolves howling at night and only a tent for protection-- it gave me pause.
My tension dropped somewhat when he explained this trip was into the Kennebago Lake region of Maine, and no airplane was involved. Yes, but remembering all the great times the Army gave us on bivouacs, I needed more assurances. He jerked my concerns into line when he explained this trip was a "Maine sporting camp " - it had cabins. In fact, Presidents Eisenhower and Hoover had stayed in these cabins. That little bit of info sounded reassuring. These two guys would not go very far from civilization; there was nothing to worry about.
Then I started to think. Eisenhower was a soldier before he was President. I remembered his first and only home was in Gettsyburg, Penn. Great! Ike probably lived most of his life in a pup tent and when he finally purchased a home it was on the edge of a battlefield. Oh boy! How about Hoover? What did Hoover do before being President? Yes, Hoover was a mining engineer, living in some of the world’s most grim places. And he enjoyed this place? It is no wonder he never reacted to the Great Depression; he thought it was prosperity! Wait, the Bush Family lives in Maine. But they always stay on the coast - do they not? I wonder why they don’t occasionally go to Kennebago Lake, Rangley Lake, or Lower Richardson Lake? Probably for a darn good reason! Boy! I saw the pattern and my uneasiness was escalating again.
Mail from Lou brought relief in the form of a brochure about his final selection of a camp. He had selected Lakewood Camps on Lower Richardson Lake near Middle Dam and included a brochure describing the fishing areas, the cabins, the dining facilities, and tips on what to bring for living in the camp. The camp was on the Full American Plan which means all basics included. Each cabin had a bathroom, a fireplace, private bedrooms, a living room, and all meals were served in a common dining area. Sounded pretty darn good to me. It was my style of “roughing it.” It was settled: the decision was final; we would go to Lakewood Camps for three nights. Now I had to get cracking on those flies.
I had to wade through all of the various fly names in order to select the ones for the area we were going to. As a start, Lakewood Camps provided a basic list of flies in the brochure. But embedded deep in the soul of every trout fisherman is the supreme suspicion that any specific fly information volunteered is only a wily subterfuge. It is basic fly fisherman knowledge that the only information on flies worthy of trust is that gained via usage of authentic medieval tortures by thumb screws, toe wedges, and tongue-slicers, to name the most popular. In fact, these methods are encouraged in most fly fishing circles. Therefore, it was mandatory for me to explore libraries, the internet, and Kittery Trading Post in finalizing my selection. I selected some Mickey Finns. What the hell – knock them out if necessary. My selection included Black Wooly Buggers, All White May Flies, Stimulators and Nymphs.
A Mickey Finn
Finally, departure day came. The last thing Lou said as we left was “Let’s stop on the way and pick up some Montreal whores - eighteen to twenty range okay?” The image of my wife standing slack-jawed in the doorway stayed with me all the way into Maine.
July 7, 2005
|Copyright © Rye Reflections 2005. All rights reserved.|