The Maine Thing – Outdoor Life 1971

By Joe Brooks

I had fished in this very spot 25 years earlier, and the stream hadn’t changed. The fast water talked merrily as it rushed into the pool, but off to the side the surface was slick, with a circle here, a circle there, and a plop closer in as a landlocked salmon took naturals from the surface. I was using the same drive fly I had caught land locks on so long ago, a number 12 Green Drake.

I cast the flight out, dropping it quietly to the surface, and it floated right down over the spot where the nearest fish had shown. He didn’t respond. But four tries later I saw a flash under the fly, 1971 Outdoor Life Womanand the fish took. I pulled back gently on the rod and felt him, and he immediately came straight up out of the water, wriggling all over, beating his fins. He splashed back in, and when I still had him on after five more jumps I begin to think that maybe I would land this high-flying two pounder.

I finally did, and he was a beautiful sight – bright silver and a fine looking chip off his forebears, the Atlantic salmon. I put him back to grow and take some other anglers fly.

I was fishing Grand Lake Stream in Maine. Grand Lake, out of which the stream flows, and three other lakes – Sebago, Sebec, and the Green, or Reeds Pond  – are believed to be the only spots where the Maine landlocked salmon originally occurred. In the Maine Sportsman, published in Bangor in June 1903, Dr. C Hamlin give some of the history of this fascinating fish and describes his fishing experiences with them in the late 1800s. Land locks were so plentiful then that at one point Hamlin hooked 25 fish and 25 casts.

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