Paddling Trip in Washington County, Maine

Tying a fly on an island campsite in Washington County, Maine
Tying a fly on an island campsite

Last week I went on a great paddling trip through some lakes in Washington County, Maine. I’ve done numerous river trips on the nearby St. Croix river, but the lakes above Grand Lake Stream are an area I’ve been meaning to explore and fish for a while, and this year I finally made time to go.

My friend Shawn and I stopped at the Pine Tree Store in Grand Lake Stream in order to get some leaders and tippet material, as well as some local flies. Not only does it help local, small businesses, but people are usually more apt to talk to paying customers than they are to people who just show up looking for information. We talked about fishing and our trip with the owners for fifteen minutes. In addition to running the store, they make pack baskets in the winter. In the window of the store was the largest pack basket I’ve ever seen – it must have been 5 feet high! My ash basket was in the back of my truck, so we talked baskets for a bit before we pushed on to our put-in. If you’re ever over that way be sure to stop in to the Pine Tree Store – the people are friendly and helpful, just as you’d expect the proprietors of such a store to be.

Our route traveled through Pocumcus, West Grand, and Junior Lakes. We spent several great days on the water, and it felt good to push the canoe through the water. As we paddled I investigated all the campsites we passed in preparation for future trips with larger groups. It’s great to be on a large lake with a wild shore. It gets rarer and rarer these days. Maine is one of the few places left where every inch of shoreline isn’t built up with camps and, becoming more common these days, mansions. The pressures to develop the few remaining wild lakes, and to make them like everywhere else, is great. I’m constantly amazed at our shortsightedness. Thankfully the people around these lakes have put together the Downeast Lakes Land Trust to preserve this beautiful area.

One of the dangers of blogging about fishing and different locations is that you’ll let out all your secrets – secret spots, what you used, etc. But for me, the desire to keep this information to myself outweighs any sort of ego-boost I’d get from revealing all and positioning myself as the great fisherman. So I’ll say that the fishing was good, and leave it at that.

Since returning home I’ve been busy working in the garden and doing other outdoor projects in preparation for the Earth Skills Summer Program. More about this coming soon.

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