Fishing, Foraging, and Hiking!
by Pete Kallin
It's hard to believe this is already the sixth column of the summer. We have finally gotten some cooler weather and a bit of much-needed rain that has both cooled the lakes off a bit and stimulated the growth of wild berries and mushrooms in the woods.
The Fourth of July saw light rain much of the day but the weather broke just in time for the fireworks. My younger son, Rob, drove up from NH for the long weekend, stopping along the way to buy a new fishing pole after one of his dogs ate his old one.
After purchasing his three-day nonresident fishing license, we headed out for some fishing in the rain. Rob wanted to catch a pike with his new pole, so we headed for a few areas that had some nice weed beds where they like to hang out. After tying on a wire leader and a big jointed Rapala lure, we began trolling over the weed beds. Suddenly he had a strike and reeled in a yellow perch that was about the same size as his lure. He laughed and said, "I thought you were going to find me a pike, Dad!"
I said, "Don't worry, that's a good sign. Yellow perch are pretty much pike's favorite food. We'll go back over that spot again."
On the second pass over the weed bed, his rod bent over and line started streaming out. He said, "Back up, I think I'm stuck on the bottom." As I turned the boat back towards weeds, he realized that the drag on his new reel was set way too low. As he increased the drag, he realized that the "bottom" was moving, and he actually had a fish on. Eventually he landed a pike about 27″ long.
I am on the Stewardship Committee of the 7-Lakes Alliance and spent a couple of days last week hiking some of the local trails to make sure they survived the big storm and were safe to hike. While at French Mountain, I met Raj and his family who were visiting the area from Marietta, Ohio. They had so much fun hiking French that they were headed over to hike Mount Phillip as well.
Also at French Mountain, I ran into the extended Greenan Family who are up from South Carolina visiting Grandpa Dick and Grandma Sue, along with Jesse Stevens, a friend of Dick's 15-year-old grandson, Ben. Everyone was having a great time and anticipating a fishing trip on the Kennebec River the next day. Grandpa Dick reported the guys caught over 100 smallmouth bass in a couple of hours as well as a nice catfish. White catfish have become established in the Kennebec and are becoming more prevalent. Catfish are normally very tasty but there are fish consumption advisories against eating fish from that area of the Kennebec, so I don't recommend eating them if caught in the Kennebec.
Last week I picked both red and black raspberries, as well as yellow chanterelle mushrooms on some of the 7-Lakes Alliance properties I was visiting. In addition to a lot of gourmet cooking for free, I have been getting some of the berries into the freezer and drying some of the mushrooms for future use.
Take advantage of the rest of the summer and get out on the lakes or hike or bike in the hills. And take a kid along. You will be creating memories that will last. Check out the events at the 7-LA website and the sign in front of the Maine Lakes Resource Center. Pick up a map of the local trails at