Editor's note: This enjoyable post comes from my good friend Aaron Swanson. He and our buddy Tommy recently made a memorable trip to Maine to catch big native brook trout.
Fishing in Connecticut during the month of May presents the versatile angler with a problem: too many opportunities. Of course, this is a good problem to have – variety as they say, is the spice of life.
Inland streams are flush with hungry salmonoids; many looking up to slurp the first large rusty colored mayflies hatching in the rapidly warming water. Coastal rivers and tidal zones are infused with the first anadromous visitors – some joining their counterparts who stayed the long grey winter. Post-spawn pike, pre-spawn bass; both brown and green and pre-spawn carp all present varied and exciting prospects – and this abbreviated list would surely have some grumbling for species omitted. When presented with the virtual piscatorial mayhem at hand in the Constitution State a friend and I made the easiest choice possible: get away from it all.
An invite to stay and fish in western Maine is one that – if possible – you don’t turn down. There, in those woods, resides a special population of brook trout, native char that grow large in the cool clean waters far from parking lots and suburban developments. This invitation was extended to us; just as warming temperatures drove the intensity of the local fishing scene to a level nearing combustion.
The stampede of anglers falling over each other to get their piece of the local action, the prospect of finding ourselves as far away from people and civilization as we could get sounded just about right. As we set out on our six-hour ride, the 91 degree reading on the truck’s thermometer, the crowded roadways packed with Friday afternoon traffic and the sizzling pavement only helped to reaffirm our decision and destination.
The rivers we fished in western Maine (and the large lakes that feed them) harbor the last of an incredible strain of brook trout. These fish were recognized by turn of the century sportsman to be worth saving. Thanks to foresight and conservation, there are still a handful of waters where trophy quality brook trout can be found stateside. Combining tips and assistance from one of the area’s top guides with fortuitous timing and find them we did.
But the fish aren’t the only reason to visit this special area. The sensory experience of living history helps to transport you away from the everyday grind of reality experienced back home. The complete lack of cell service instantly facilitates a decreased use of electronic devices and we found ourselves refreshingly unplugged. When we got down the logging roads to Forest Lodge we were reminded of the way folks used to live. This opens the eyes to how good and in some ways, bad we have it.
Sitting on the Aldro’s back porch after one of the best days of fishing of our lives while guests use the wood-fired hot-tub and the river plays the only soundtrack that fits the scene at hand – this provides a kind of therapy found nowhere else.
We were invited to dinner, to sit in a rustic country kitchen where people have sat for more than a century. We enjoyed a fine meal around the table with a dozen friends, none of whom we had ever met. That is to fully experience a place where history was chronicled and written and that is a feeling that will take you a million miles away – even if you do have to do the dishes as compensation for your meal…
Special thanks go to Dan Thrall of Rx Outdoors for hosting, sharing his immense knowledge of the local area and being an all-around good guy! Thanks to Rufus too...