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by Pete Kallin
The summer is flying by. The weather has continued to be variable, mostly hot and humid with a few thundershowers, but occasionally really nice for hiking in the shady woods. Lots of events are going on in town and also outside. It is heartening to run into so many families out enjoying the local trails.
This past week was really busy for me. I ended up at Kezar Lake in Lovell with the Maine Lakes Society's floating classroom, the Melinda Ann. We took 30 members of the Kezar Lake Watershed Association out on Sunday and then over 30 underprivileged and economically disadvantaged campers aged 5 to about 14 on Monday. It was a very diverse group but all learned something about their lake.
I then came back to Long Pond to meet some Maine IFW fishery biologists, who were sampling Long Pond the next morning to try to determine how the recently stocked rainbow trout in the lake were doing and what they were eating. Short answer — the fish are growing well but only a few of them seem to be eating the landlocked alewives in the lake. We collected many smallmouth bass in the 4-pound-plus range that were gorging on alewives as well as a beautiful, 7-pound-plus brown trout that was safely released after being measured and weighed.
After the work in the lake, the team headed to the Stony Brook in Mount Vernon to do some electrofishing to sample the fish population. There were quite a few black-nosed dace, a white sucker, and a couple of small northern pike, one of which had just eaten a large meal. I was very impressed with the professionalism of the IFW team and how much they truly love their jobs and their role in protecting Maine's freshwater fish.
Later in the week, Matt Scott towed the Melinda Ann to Lake Saint George in Liberty, where Phil Mulville took a couple groups of young campers out to teach them about water quality measurements and give them hands on experience measuring Secchi depths, doing plankton tows, taking a benthic samples, and measuring the temperature-oxygen profile in the lake. While Phil was out with the kids, Matt and I fished for a bit for salmon, trout and bass, doing much better with the bass than the salmonids.
Meanwhile, back on North Pond, Jodie Mosher Towle's nephew, Jaiden Gingras, who came out on the Melinda Ann last week, went fishing early in the morning with his dad on his late uncle's lucky boat. He caught the largest bass of his life. I guarantee he was happy to be "taken outside" and will have memories that last a lifetime.
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 website 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.