July 7 – 13, 2017Vol. 19, No. 5

Grandkids and Loon Chicks Back on the Lake

Tools of the trade: water quality meter, Secchi disk, Aquascope, and a nice brown trout caught by fishing at the right depth in the temperature-oxygen profile.

by Pete Kallin

Last week began with a couple of days in Orono at the Maine Lakes Society's annual meeting. The Maine Lakes Society, on whose board I serve, is a statewide nonprofit membership organization dedicated to the protection of all of Maine's lakes through science-based education, advocacy, and action.

The only other statewide lakes nonprofit is the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program (VLMP), for which I am a volunteer water quality monitor. The VLMP trains, certifies and provides technical support to hundreds of volunteers who monitor a wide range of indicators of water quality, assess watershed health and function, and screen lakes for invasive aquatic plants and animals. Formed in 1971, Maine's VLMP is the longest-standing state-wide citizen lake monitoring program in the U.S., as well as one of the largest, with more than 1,200 active volunteers monitoring more than 500 lakes statewide.

On Sunday morning, I was recertified for taking temperature oxygen profiles. I collect dissolved oxygen and temperature profiles every two weeks. That information not only helps monitor lake conditions, but gives me insight into where the fish (especially salmon and trout) will be hanging out.

Grandson Nathan with a Long Pond bass.

Now that school is out I also get to spend a little more time with my grandkids. My grandson, Nathan, came to visit for a couple of days while his sister was attending an acting camp. Nathan is an avid fisherman and we spent most of a day fishing, catching a few bass and a bunch of yellow perch that made a nice breakfast the next day. Nathan honed his skills in operating the electric trolling motor and improving his flycasting with a conventional flyrod. He has been using a Tenkara rod for a few years, which is much easier to use but doesn't really do the distance and depth necessary for fishing a big, deep lake like Long Pond. We also got to see a lot of birds and other wildlife and spend some time checking out the bog bridge under construction at BRCA's Fogg Island preserve.

A highlight this week was the appearance of at least three loon chicks on Long Pond. The new generation is beginning to appear at all the lakes in the area and it is a special time to watch the parents nourish their young and teach them to survive on their own. Bring a pair of binoculars so you don't have to get too close. I will be talking more about loons in a couple of weeks after the annual loon count on July 15.

Loon chicks, born last night, with their mother.

There were frequent showers this week but I squeezed a couple of hikes in between the weather. I began searching for chanterelle and black trumpet mushrooms, which I anticipate will be appearing shortly but so far, no luck. This area offers some great outdoor recreation, whether you like to hike, bike, birdwatch, fish, sail, or paddle a canoe or kayak. Pick up a map of the local trails at Day's Store or from the BRCA at the Maine Lakes Resource Center. And make sure you take a kid along on your next outdoor adventure and help create some memories.

Pete Kallin is a past director of the Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance.