© 2014 Grace Baldwin

Fall 2014: Fly Fishing in Maine

After my first experiences fly fishing in California I was excited to get back out on the water in Maine. I took one unsuccessful, frigid trip in the early Spring of 2014 and quickly discovered that my neoprene 20 year old waders that may have worked in the 70 degree California weather were not the right gear to handle the Maine waters.

After school ended I spent three weeks taking a course in Denmark and then the rest of the summer working as the Head Sailing Instructor at Pequot Yacht Club. Sadly, I never was able to get out fly fishing in Connecticut over the summer so when I finally headed back up to school I was excited to get out on the Maine rivers—after buying a pair of L.L. Bean waders of course.

I took a total of five fly fishing trips this Fall in Maine, below are some recaps of the highlights:

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A day of Brooke trout: In one of the trips, my unpaid fly fishing guide (and best friend) Jake Abbhul (pictured above) and I drove 2 hours North for a full day fishing trip. The day was magical; we caught over 20 wild brooke trout between the two of us (pictured to the left). The river we fished was extremely technical due to treacherous wading, slippery rocks, many overhanging trees, and very different geography in each hole. We used the entire arsenal of casting techniques and flies including dry flies, nymphs, and streamers. In one particular spot we actually caught over five fish from one hole! It was unbelievable, on every cast we thought it was our last fish until we caught another and another. We ended the day by fishing at a big waterfall (pictured below) that Jake said there were some very big fish lurking below. Although we didn’t get any bites in that spot it was cool to imagine the 20 inch beasts watching us from their dark depths. As we drove back to Colby we enjoyed one of the most spectacular sunsets I have ever witnessed in Maine, a wonderful end to a wonderful day.IMG_8891IMG_8899

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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IMG_9298Beginner’s luck on the Kennebec: Due to a tough semester I was unable to fish much after that initial trip, but in the beginning of November I took a trip with Jake and Professor Dave Suchoff to the Kennebec. After so many fish on my last trip, I was trying my best to keep my expectations low. We drove only minutes away from campus and fished near Anson, Maine. The spot was near a factory spitting out water. We started by fishing near the water spout, I was fishing an orange streamer which Suchoff said to splash around a lot. I really had no idea what I was doing, I would cast into the middle of the spot and then just shake my rod around and strip in a bit, but after only about 30 minutes I hooked my first fish! It was an awesome brown trout (pictured to the left), and my first Brown trout in Maine. Excitedly I continued fishing and continued to shake my rod around and actually hooked another Brown trout! (pictured to the right)10608437_771447940135_8652257633620929095_o

We continued to fish but decided to walk downstream a bit. Jake and I were trying different pools but not getting too many bites. I was fishing a spot above a waterfall that entered the rest of the river, doing my cast, shake, strip technique when suddenly I hooked another fish. As the fish danced around on the end of my rod I tried to stay calm and reel him in until slowly he stopped flopping around and I turned him into a hole. This time I caught a brooke trout, Jake came over from his spot and helped take the hook out and take a proud picture since I was sure that would be my last fish of the day.

Jake walked back over to his spot, and I shot out my streamer again, when BAM another bite, the fish flew out of the water and I could feel my adrenaline rising. I lost the fish and went for another cast, and again! another bite! It was wild, I was hooking fish on every cast I took. I kept casting and hooked another fish, this one definitely felt stronger as I slowly stripped him in. As he came closer I saw a flash of orange brighter than I had ever seen on a fish. I started calling for Jake to come over, I thought that maybe I had caught a salmon. Jake came back over and informed me that I had a caught a big, male brooke trout. I couldn’t believe how bright orange the bottom of the fish was (pictured below). IMG_9299

“Jake you gotta fish this hole!” I said to him as we put the fish back in the water. We continued to fish the hole and I caught two more brooke trout and Jake caught one (pictured to the right).

We triumphantly ended the day as the sun started to go down. I couldn’t believe my luck, that both of my Maine fishing days had been so successful. Today, though was particularly unbelievable, especially since I caught all my fish using only one streamer. After that day I was hooked! (pun intended). Jake and I decided to go out the next day for a full day fishing trip this time down river on the Kennebec. That night I dreamed of trout and curved rods as I anxiously anticipated the next day.IMG_9295

Saturday on the Kennebec: The next day Jake and I went out again on the Kennebec, but this time we drove down further and then hiked down a mile. The day was picture perfect, the sun was shining with the light beams glistening on the water. We began fishing and it wasn’t soon before I hooked a trout, but sadly I stripped too hard and the fish spit the hook. I continued fishing, and in another 15 minutes or so hooked into another fish. This time I was much more careful to let the trout run and I was able to catch him, it was a beautiful brown trout. Jake and I continued fishing and then ended up wading very far downstream. We didn’t have much luck, but Jake was able to catch an incredible Brown trout in one spot where he was nymphing (pictured below). We ended the day wading back up the river, hiking back to the car and then fishing one last spot until the sun went down. Jake actually caught two more fish at that spot. Overall another awesome day to round out an incredible weekend.IMG_9314IMG_9309
My first solo fishing trip: As my last trip this Fall I decided to go back to the spot on the Kennebec where I had caught my best brooke trout. There was one day where it was suddenly 70 degrees and sunny in mid November, which is unheard of for Maine. I texted all my fishing friends but none of them were free so I ended up driving and fishing alone! I was very nervous, but I had learned all the basic knots and knew where to go so I felt ready to take on the river by myself. Although I didn’t catch any fish I hooked into lots of fish and had fun wading and casting by myself. I found the experience to be very meditative and a nice break from my studies. There was something especially serene about fishing alone, it made me feel at one with nature and I loved how quiet it was on the river.

Overall I grew a lot as a fly fisherwoman this fall! I had a lot of firsts: first trout in Maine, first brooke trout, first time tying on my own flies, and first solo fishing trip. This fall made me feel more comfortable to try new things and take trips alone. I am excited to continue to learn more about aspects of the sport and am excited to buy a year long Maine fishing license for the upcoming year! Till then I will continue to dream of 20 inch trout and start to plan future fishing trips.

 

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