This past summer I was fortunate enough to get a drift boat. If you have never fished from one before, it’s a whole new addiction. Just seeing the river standing on a boat is incredible. Rowing the boat down the river and putting your friends into fish is just as good as hooking into the fish yourself. These are the highlights of my summer in photographs.
MKFF last visited the wilds of Maine during a 2011 float trip with Fly Fishing guide Kate Farnham. Depending on where you are headed to in Maine, the drive is in excess of seven hours, a distance by any measure. It would be quicker and simpler via floatplane, bush plane or some other awesome means of transportation. Having not attained enough wealth at this point in my life for such luxuries, we hopped in the FJ on Friday after jamming the truck full of gear and headed up.
Pleasant River Campground
I prefer to camp in a primitive setting, doing so allows you to disappear far away from civilization at no cost. In addition, its more fun to escape in the woods and imagine you are Danielle Boone. Either way, you leave civilization and its burden’s for a short time and check out high quality cold-water fisheries.
The Pleasant River Campground features secluded wooded sites along the Pleasant River, a tributary of the Androscoggin. The bathrooms are of high quality and the place is generally quiet. The owner rents out Canoes and Kayaks while providing popular amenities like a swimming pool and horseshoe pit.
“Home of the world’s worst weather,” Mt. Washington, at 6,288 feet, is the highest peak in the northeastern United States. Mount Washington holds the record for highest wind ever recorded by man, a speed of 231MPH on April 12, 1934. This record was surpassed in 1996 though a human being did not actually stand there and record the wind speed as was customary in 1934. At one time, people were stationed on top of the mountain all season to record the weather.
In present day, anybody can drive to the summit on the Mt Washington Auto Road. The auto road is a 7.6-mile road that climbs Mount Washington. The road was completed in 1861 to serve carriages. The roadway has an average gradient of 11.6%; it is so taxing on your transmission that the road operators have created certain vehicle restrictions. In a future expedition, I think actually hiking Mount Washington would be interesting.
The upper Andro is a big east coast stream that consistently delivers larger than average sized Trout. Based upon Sunday’s float, there is also a population of Smallmouth Bass and Chub during the summer months. I floated the river with a kayak and used a Rapala floater on my LL Bean spin rod. The total catch was one Rainbow Trout, three Smallmouth Bass and five Chubs. I also had an air jaws on the line during a sudden summer thunderstorm that blew through. Eagles are common in these parts, they feast on the Trout and we did see one of them enjoying a meal.
Home of L.L. Bean, the giant boot and a collection of outlet shops; Freeport, Maine rose to notoriety starting in 1912 when Leon Leonwood Bean created the Maine Hunting Shoe or Bean Boot.
L.L. Bean has grown into a global retailer and manufacturer while remaining one of the last US retailers to maintain a manufacturing presence in the USA. Its reputation for quality and customer service is unparalleled and often studied in business school.
The largest city in Maine has the 19th century industrial ambiance common throughout New England. The city is a change from the lakes, rivers and forests of Maine while still maintaining the New England small town ambiance.
On the ride up it was agreed that we would all order the largest Lobster available in Maine. The cab driver recommended J’s Oyster; I ordered a heaping pile of Steamers and a Lobster. The platter was delicious although the sizes of Lobsters were fairly consistent.
The next stop was Bull Feeney’s Irish Bar; I was enthralled with their slogan and sign, “Lobsters Love Guinness.” Another excellent point about Bull Feeney’s is that they have, “Maine’s most extensive selection of single malt Scotch and Irish whiskies.”
The Long Ride Home
The trip home always seems shorter than the haul up. The problem with this is you are leaving the beautiful scenery, camping and fishing of Maine and New England in general. The drive provides ample opportunity to stare out at the many fish filled rivers of New England and hope for more good days of fishing. I hope to get back sooner rather than later!