Summertime in the Belgrades
July 21 – 27
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by Pete Kallin
It's hard to believe this is already the seventh column of the summer. I couldn't believe it when my morning paper had a "Back to School" flyer in it already! I don't think the kids are reading the paper, though. They are too busy having fun in and around the water.
As the water has warmed into the mid 70s, the trout fishing is slowing down, but the bass and pike are continuing to feed on schools of alewives. The bass are also hitting big Hex mayflies that are hatching in the evening and early morning. I have had good luck with spotting feeding fish on the surface early in the morning and casting big flies or poppers to them. A three-pound smallie on a 6-wt flyrod is a lot of fun.
I got cheated the other day though as I was doing my water quality sampling on Lower Long Pond, east of Green Island. I spotted a flock of great blue herons that landed on top of the trees on the island. I headed toward them to try to get a better picture when I spotted a school of fish feeding on mayflies about 30 yards away. As I pointed the boat that way, a shadow passed over my boat as a big eagle flew right over my head and grabbed a nice bass right off the water just before I got ready to cast. The rest of the fish went deep and I never got one to come up to my fly. But I had an awesome memory I will never forget.
There are a lot of kids on the lake from all over. Half the cars in the village have out-of-state plates and there are lines at Lakeside Scoops behind Day's Store. My neighbors, the Landrys, who winter in Virginia are up for a while with their friends the Lowrys. They are getting a lot of use out of Grandfather Lincoln Nye's swim float.
I've been getting a few hikes in and doing some mushroom foraging in the Kennebec Highlands. With the recent rains I am seeing pretty good numbers of some of my favorite mushrooms. I am also seeing a lot of kids out hiking with friends and family. This morning I met Lacey Markham from Vienna and Stephanie Austin from New Sharon getting ready to head up BRCA's trails on The Mountain with their kids. The older kids had hiked the trail in June on a school field trip and had so much fun that they talked their moms into taking them back. The kids were poring over their maps trying to figure out which trail to try first. It was fun watching them apply their map reading skills.
Another fun event this week was helping my friend, Warren Balgooyen, learn how to use his new (??) motor boat. Warren is really a big kid in an old man's body. He is always looking for adventure and after nearly eight decades of paddling and rowing all over lakes and streams in Maine has finally decided it is time to get a boat with a motor. Although, as you can see in the picture, he continues to keep an oar close by just in case.
We launched his boat at North Pond and did a little fishing while he learned how to start, shift, run navigation lights, horns, etc. His motor is an Evinrude 18 HP Golden Jubilee Edition, presumably manufactured to celebrate Evinrude's 50th anniversary, which would have been 1959. The motor was a bit louder and smokier than my Honda four-stroke but ran pretty well for an old motor.
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.
Pete Kallin is a past director of the Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance.