††††††††††††††††††††††† Stories and Articles

When the Fish Arenít Biting,

††††††††††††† Read a Book.†

†††††††† By Bruce Mitchell

In June 1983 I went on a fishing trip to the town of Forest City located in Northern Maine, on the border with New Brunswick, Canada. We stayed at Wheaton Sporting Camps with plans to fish Spednick Lake and East Grand Lake. We fished Spednick Lake for several days and the action was very slow. Our target fish were smallmouth bass. The weather was cool and the fish just werenít hitting. It had been a cold wet spring and the lakes were high along with the water table at our camp. This caused problems with the septic systems within the camp. It was so bad that in our cabin the kitchen sink would gurgle every time someone flushed the toilet. Possibly this may have even caused one of our party to become sick during the later part of the trip.

 

Even though the fishing was slow, there were a few good moments during this trip. One day two of us hired a guide and got a chance to fish from a famous Grand Lake canoe. The boat was very comfortable and sea worthy. We each caught a couple of salmon trolling tandem hook streamer flies. One of the high points of the trip was when we were treated to a shore prepared lunch. The guide took us to an isolated shoreline along the lake and from his wooden pack basket removed the wood for a fire along with the cooking utensils. Within just a few minutes he had potatoes, carrots, and onions boiling in a pot. Along side of the fire on a metal grate he placed one of the salmon we had caught. The food was delicious and the experience is one I will never forget.

 

The final day of our trip I expected to fish Spednic Lake and was not too excited because the previous day I only caught one small bass. After breakfast I had sat down with a book that was published by Fly Fisherman magazine. One of our group had brought this book with them. As I was turning the pages I noticed an article about landlocked salmon fishing on the St. Croix River between Canada and Maine. It even mentioned that a good area to fish was at Forest City. I could not believe what I was reading .We were in the small village of Forest City and here was the possible opportunity to do some stream fishing for landlocked salmon. Luckily, I had brought along a pair of waders and was ready to try something different other than bass fishing from a boat.† I explained to the owner of our camp that I had read the article about the St. Croix River. I asked him where I might access the river. He told me to

walk down the road about a hundred yards and go down the path along side the second house on the left.

I got my gear together and left to fish the river. The rest of the group decided to give the lake another try. I walked down the road and found the path that led to the river. I reached the riverís edge and looked up stream and could see the dam where the water left East Grand Lake. Directly in front of me was some nice looking water with a deep run leading into a nice pool.

 

I tied on a size 8 silver darter streamer and began to make a few casts. I placed the fly directly across from me and allowed it to swing down and across the current. The first ten or so casts nothing happen. As I continued fishing I noticed a fair size dead pickerel floating by. My eyes were

focused on the pickerel when my line tightened with a hard jerk and a 16 inch salmon cleared the water. The fish jumped several more times before I was able to get him into my net. Over the next hour I caught two more salmon.

I had decided to keep two of the larger fish to show the other guys in the group that there were some salmon in the river. I headed back to camp to put the fish in the refrigerator and to review the fishing regulations. At this time I was not sure how many fish I was allowed to keep.

Back at camp I determined that the daily limit for the St. Croix River was surprisingly 6 salmon. After eating a sandwich I headed back down to the river. As I stood at the head of the pool I noticed a few rising fish. I tied on a size 14 elk hair caddis and caught several more salmon.

It was a great day and had I not looked at that book in the morning this experience would have never happened.