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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 and hiking the nearby trails. As the air has warmed to the high 80s and the water into the upper 70s, more and more people are swimming, sailing, and tubing.
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 on several of our lakes, including Great Pond, Long Pond, and Messalonskee Lake. 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. The early morning is also a great time to watch the new loon chicks learning to feed themselves.
Last week I talked a bit about the summer camps in the area and this week I met a lot of campers on the trails, including a group of excited Camp Runoia "first years" getting ready to hike The Mountain on their second day of camp. Also at The Mountain, I helped fellow 7-Lakes Alliance board member Mel Croft lead a geology hike to help people learn how plate tectonics and the glaciers formed the landscape and then lichens, mosses, and salmon transformed the bare rocks into a complex, forested community. We had 25 eager hikers that climbed up to the Long Pond overlook and ate lunch while Mel talked about 200 million years of geological history and glaciers. The hike was followed by a short field trip to a sand pit near the Belgrade Town Office that used to be a marine delta and a visit to the Foster Point Road esker. I thing everyone learned something and had a great time.
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 7 Lakes Alliance at the Maine Lakes Resource Center. Also, please check the 7-LA Facebook page for details on some interesting events scheduled this summer. Check the web site and keep an eye on the sign out front. And make sure you take a kid along on your next outdoor adventure.
Pete Kallin is a past director of the Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance, which merged with the Maine Lakes Resource Center in December 2017 to form the 7-Lakes Alliance.