Sunday, September 11, 2011

Acadia Memories: Fishing for Bass & Trout but that's not All


Since I won't be fishing this weekend with water still high, too little desire to try Round Valley Reservoir, and no ambition to attempt fishing anywhere else, I'll write about the fishing we did in and near Acadia, Maine, in 2008. We rented a cottage for a week about three miles out of Bar Harbor on a property called Eden Village. Exterior was quaint, interior had a woodsy feel with wood paneled walls and wood flooring. To the left of the front door going in, a one or two-acre pond turned out to be absolutely loaded with largemouth bass.

Appropriately allowed to use only barbless hooks and return all we caught, the biggest bass had names as the owners' pets. The very largest was a 20-inch five-pounder. I think its name was Bill; we never caught it. But my son, Matt, caught Gill, a 17-incher with a gill wound. I caught one 16 inches, my son some more that size and over 100 total that week. He could never get enough. I caught little over a dozen, leaving the rest to my son.

I felt much more interested in Long Pond, although I had hoped to find some stripers and pollock in the ocean and bay. I never found so much as a tackle shop. I couldn't believe the lack of a recreational fishing market up. I asked at a gun shop about live bait, told that no one cared to pinch pennies from that racket. I cast plugs from rocky shores--nothing. And we tried under a bridge at Frenchman's Bay with cut bait that I arranged somehow--definitely not from bass in that pond at Eden Village!--for whatever might hit. Nothing. 

Long Pond's great for smallmouth bass. A glacial lake of over 2000 acres, I suppose, landlocked salmon and trout drew the sole attraction years ago. Smallmouth bass have been making it into lakes and ponds almost everywhere on Mt. Desert Island, although introducing them is strictly forbidden for good reason, since it's a good idea to keep the trout populations pure and without competition. I was amazed at how thin the sediment deposits on rocks visible through very clear water which has filled these glacial basins for many centuries.

Mount Desert Island is one of the more authentic places I've been. Even Bar Harbor, as much as it is a catering operation, has a clean, happy feeling to it, along with very high quality restaurants, galleries, whale watching operations and of course the sandbar of Bar Harbor itself, a natural phenomena not to be missed, which at low tide allows you to cross to what is otherwise an island. All sorts of marine creatures become exposed including sea cucumbers, very large starfish (12 inches across or more) and all the mussels you can fit in your pockets to take back to your place and steam (but I don't know if this is legal!). The only thing that seems missing from the local brine is fish, but I'm sure it was just first timer's inexperience. 

I also caught a pickerel in Long Pond, although uncommon as is aquatic vegetation, which pickerel need. Mostly I used Senko-type plastics and the 17-inch pickerel jolted one of these by the Strike King brand. Before I could even name what hit it, I set the hook knowing, no less--a pickerel--and needing to set hook fast to avoid a cut off.

Smallmouths crashed into these far casting, fast sinking worms with cold fierceness. Our largest weighed over three pounds, all of our fishing done in a canoe. My graph recorder helped, and Matt had loads of fun locating smallmouths in deeper water with it, then lowering nightcrawlers directly down; so much fun that I did some of this myself. We would launch at the north end and paddle down lake a couple of miles or more and back. Twice we did this: me, my son, and my wife Patricia.

Doing plenty of internet research, I became aware of Green Lake perhaps 40 miles west of MDI, this was the one lake we could count on for accessing lake trout, which we did sort of access. Matt got a one-ounce Kastmaster down among them at 63 feet; we had loads of markings on the graph recorder, although not one hit. It felt very exciting being this close to lake trout in a canoe--20-pounders common. We back paddled against the breeze so that Matt's presentations dropped effectively enough in among those fish.

The smallmouths we caught on Green Lake added thrills along steep shorelines and giant boulders, but none of them were so much fun as trying for the lakers. 

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