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Swamptrout

Expedition: BrookTrout

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Its that time of year again, the water is cooling and the fish are moving.  I've been tying flies for two weeks, gathering supplies and making long distance plans in anticipation of our yearly family adventure into the wilds of Northern Maine.  This years trip would consist of seven days and six nights.   Forecast looked pretty good, not too warm or cold.  Hopefully the fishing would be on.

After about 3 hours on the road I met up with the rest of the crew which consisted of my father, 2 uncles, 2 cousins and a family friend.  Another friend would be arriving mid week or so on his own.  After the link up another 5 hours was spent in route via pavement and lots of dusty roads.  Finally we arrived at the put in and began the process of distributing a weeks work of supplies in 5 canoes.

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Time to get moving. We got to paddle about a quarter of the distance, the rest was spent dragging.  We left a colorful trail of red and green scrape marks along the way. 

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After another few hours we finally arrived to our home in the woods for the next week.  Tuesday leading into Wednesday was calling for heavy wind and rain so my cousin and I put our lessons learned in our happy youths of building countless tree forts and got to work constructing a shelter for the cooking and gathering area.

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Everything was lashed together with rope, bungie cords and a lot of good ol ducktape. By the time we got camp all setup we had maybe an hour to spare before the sun went down to wet a line off the sandbar near the inlet. 

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After just a few casts with my favorite bugger pattern I went tight to something big!  It was staying deep and going all over the place, after several runs I actually had a chance to use my reel for the fist time all year! After what seemed like forever I was finally able to catch of glimpse of something big and rather pale. A big hen brookie I'm thinking? 

Nope....a togue!

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The first of many actually for the week, even got some up in the stream later.  Also a handful of surprise whitefish were caught by my uncle off the bar.

Shortly after it was full dark and we made our way back to the site to eat, drink, and be merry!

That was until I pulled my 6 month old LL Bean Waders off Ive used mabye 5 times and discovered I was wet from the waist down.....

So the rest of my time would be spent in the canoe....not optimal but it worked with the duel anchor setup made from rocks strung from each end of the canoe to keep it from swaying about in the wind and current.

I don't remember what time I went to bed or ever getting into my sleeping bag but I must of made it at some point.  I do remember waking up in the middle of the night to answer the call of nature and thinking...boy...its kinda cold out here.

The next morning we awoke before dawn, according to my vest thermometer is was 25 degees out....yay!  Well at least I wouldn't have to worry about crawling into waders that suddenly were able to stand up by themselves hehehe.  I stuffed a couple handwarmers into my pockets and off we went to frozen hands and little action for the morning.  After a few hours we all headed back to camp for breakfast and to warm up by the fire for a bit.  After the temps finally crept up to the mid 40's by the early afternoon we headed out again, this time upstream for a bit.

After rounding a bend we saw that we weren't the first to make it to our favorite spot.

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We ended up seeing this moose almost every afternoon in the same spot.

After beaching on a small sand bar we spread out and started working the water under the fallen trees.

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Well...that didn't take long uncle!

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Soon after my father came tight with a nice one.  This one was a real thrasher, had to use the net.

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My cousin then hooked into a nice colorful male.

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We stayed there for most of the afternoon working the bottom with full sink and buggers with good results. 

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After this we headed back to camp for a bit and got something to eat before heading back out to the sandbar at dusk. 

The next morning we were back at it again, out on the bar at day break.

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Lots of willing fish, the ratio of chubs to trout was about five to one.  The chubs liked to hang out near the weed bed and the trout were staying right on the edge of where the sand meets the weeds chasing fish and bugs. Lots of little size 22 and size 12 white mayflies and a scattering of big drakes were present at most times.  But the fish really didn't care for matching patterns, just had to get something near them that moved.

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After another good morning we headed back to camp for some morning grub.  Things were starting to get a little dark, that rain was coming sooner than expected.  We spend that afternoon and night huddled under the tarp playing cards, losing money, and telling stories as the monsoons came and went thru the night. 

The next morning came and with it day long sprinkles and scattered downpours.  We headed up river and for whatever reason the rain triggered some type of hatch because the water was boiling!  After a few lackluster attempts with dries I tied on my favorite emerger pattern and got 2 fish, and missed 2 on 4 casts!  

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After the fourth fish my father couldn't take it anymore, it was time to fork the pattern over.   I had a quite a few tied so I handed him one and for the next two hours we had to best time of the whole trip.  3 times we had doubles and by the time things slowed down we were both in the double digits with big solid brookies.

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After a bit they started ignoring our emergers, I did manage a couple more on slim jims though.

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Then I tied on a kenebego muddler and after getting ready to cast again, as the fly was dragging across the surface a massive brookie broke the surface twice swatting at the fly!  It was huge!  We stayed there for another hour trying everything but things had gone dead.  I'm going to remember that one for sure.

Shortly after the rains came again we retreated back to the tarps for the rest of the day. 

The next morning broke it was bright and sunny!

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Unfortunately, we got a little bit too much rain and the river had come up overnight and had turned into chocolate milk.  It would stay that way for 3 more days, the fishing there shut down completely.  So the rest of the time was spent on the sandbar dragging buggers along bottom.  There is a big stump there that was got to have at least 500 flies on it!

One afternoon my two cousins and I decided to do some exploring up and around the ledges near camp. We found a big hole.

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Ancient signs warning us to keep away?

Lets find out!

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Getting deeper.....

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Did you hear that?  Hear what?  That!!!  I'm out!

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And that was pretty much it, lots of fishing, lots of drinking, lots of eating, lots of old stories told around the fire and new ones made for telling later.

On the way home I stopped at Beans handed my waders back in and got a gift card, I am done with them.  My wife can buy herself a nice overpriced coat or a dog bed with the funds. 

Oh...fun fact.  A 50 dollar coleman cooler full of frozen milk jugs can keep your food and beers cold for 7 days....no second mortgage required!

Cya next near!

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Awesome report and pictures as always thank for sharing!

Beautiful brookies!

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Quite a trip.

Nice to see some big, well-formed brook trout.

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Great report Brad!

Awesome pictures!!

One question, how do you have time to take so many great photos and still have time to catch so many fish?

Again, thanks!

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19 hours ago, TightLinesMaine said:

Great report, both togue and whitefish on the fly? Very cool!

Fall togue happen often up there, the whitefish....not so much.  Usually we get into them pretty good in the spring trolling around the inlet.  They sure are good eating, its like a giant white perch and most of the time they start at around 20 inches or more.

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8 hours ago, plecain said:

Quite a trip.

Nice to see some big, well-formed brook trout.

Yes, they still exist, in large numbers even.  Just gotta get the heck outa dodge to find em.

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6 hours ago, arrowflinger said:

Great report Brad!

Awesome pictures!!

One question, how do you have time to take so many great photos and still have time to catch so many fish?

Again, thanks!

Easy! The fish are plentiful and easy to catch  :)

I'm still using the same point and click, it has a permanent home in my front vest pocket.  Its ready to go in seconds unlike a phone which you have net the fish, bring fish to shore, pose phone on a rock, hit the timer, get a good photo hopefully.

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Amazing trip! Hard to beat Maine fishing once you get far out there. Any photos of the whitefish? Thanks for taking us on an adventure :)!

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Nice brooktrout man..  Terrific looking water too...

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Excellent report and a heck of an annual trip.   Something special to be able to do with your family; great that you keep it going. 

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20 hours ago, alas said:

Amazing trip! Hard to beat Maine fishing once you get far out there. Any photos of the whitefish? Thanks for taking us on an adventure :)!

Nope, my uncle pretty much lived on the sandbar the whole trip, he's the one that got them.  The only one I saw was dead, we had a big one for dinner one night along with a bunch of deer meet....yum yum!

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18 hours ago, Bigspencer said:

Nice brooktrout man..  Terrific looking water too...

Thanks, welcome to my happy place :)

Best weeks worth of sleep I've had all year!

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2 hours ago, caught_the_fever said:

Excellent report and a heck of an annual trip.   Something special to be able to do with your family; great that you keep it going. 

When I first started my father was the one dragging the canoe, now its me doing the dragging.  Three older fellas each got a helper this year(That beer doesn't haul itself!) In a few more years my kid will be ready, the tradition continues.

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What a great time you must have had. I miss the days gone by in which I too did a lot of that kind of fishing. Really enviuos !!!

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Love the report.  Great pics.  Love those multi day trips really allows for settling into nature and soaking in the experience.  Thanks for sharing. Jealous 

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23 hours ago, searsportshuffle said:

...Love those multi day trips really allows for settling into nature and soaking in the experience.

Isn't that the truth.....

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What an awesome trip, that is some good living right there. Glad to hear that it is a "family event" which is being enjoyed by both the young and old of the group.

Beautiful pictures and many memories were made. Thank you for sharing!

Sixguns

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