Friday, July 26, 2013

Grand Lake Stream Provides Epic Recreational Opportunities!

The Downeast Lakes Land Trust (also on Twitter @downeastlakes and Google +Downeast Lakes) is an organization dedicated to the preservation of the Downeast economy and environment. They are based in beautiful Grand Lake Stream, Maine and their mission is to protect the lakeshores, improve fish and wildlife habitats, provide public recreation opportunities, offer educational programs, and support jobs in the forest and on the water.

On a recent family trip to Grand Lake Stream we were fortunate enough to have an opportunity to participate in some of the hiking trails and other recreational opportunities this group has worked hard to organize. Below are a few of the photographs from that trip!

Want to make your own fantastic memories? Just check out the Down East Lake Land Trust Website for detailed information on Wabassus MountainDawn Marie Beach and The Little Mayberry Cove Trail.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Top Ten List: Why I Should Hire A Maine Guide?

This top ten list on why you should hire a Maine Guide came from the Grand Lake Stream Historic Museum. While the museum was officially "closed" when you know the right people in town, magic tends to happen. We were provided a personal tour of the facility and fascinated by the many quality exhibits that were on display. Old photographs of Grand Lake Stream in its heyday, old outboard motors, maps, taxidermic specimens and many, may other amazing sights to see. If you are ever in GLS and have a chance to stop by and see this gem be sure to do so!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Wildlife Quiz - Bluefish

A highly sought-after, tasty and popular species of game fish, Bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix) possess a voracious appetite and reputation for being especially strong and aggressive. An exciting pursuit, angling for “blues” typically yields fish averaging between 10-15 pounds with exceptional specimens weighing as much as 20 pounds and 40 inches in length. The North American record bluefish, weighed 31 pounds 12 ounces.

Bluefish bodies have a blue-green coloration dorsally, fading to a silver-white on the lower sides and belly. Well adapted to their aquatic environment, a broad, forked tail drives this predator at high speed, while sturdy dorsal and pectoral fins provide excellent maneuverability. Exceptionally fast swimmers, boasting mouths full of razor sharp teeth, bluefish are well equipped to chase smaller forage fish and evade larger predators.

Opportunistic feeders, the favored prey of Bluefish includes a diverse list including: shrimp, small lobsters, crabs, menhaden, eels, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and alewives. Schools of bluefish will often eat voraciously, dashing about wildly, biting, crippling, and killing numerous small fish. These sometimes-epic feeding frenzies can turn shallow water red with blood and litter beaches with the bodies of dead, half-eaten baitfish.

A migratory species, Bluefish spend the winter months off the coast of Florida. As waters warm, they begin moving northward up the eastern seaboard throughout June, July and August to feed and reproduce along the shores of Cape Cod, Nantucket and the mouth of the Merrimack River. Both male and female bluefish reach sexual maturity by 2 years old, with females capable of producing about one million eggs per year. By early fall, the quality of the fishing rapidly declines as blues depart the New England coastline, once again heading back to southern waters.

Wildlife Quiz Questions: 
1. What fish do Bluefish eat?
2. How much did the world record Bluefish weight?
3. Where do Bluefish primarily congregate during the winter months?
4. Are bluefish good to eat?
5. When do Bluefish reproduce?
6. Do bluefish travel and feed in schools?
7. At what age do bluefish reach sexual maturity?
8. How many eggs do female bluefish produce each year?

Wildlife Quiz Answers: 
1. Bluefish eat a wide selection of fish, including: menhaden, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and alewives.
2. The world record Bluefish weighed 31 pounds 12 ounces.
3. During the winter months Bluefish congregate around the coastal waters of Florida.
4. Bluefish having a high concentration of fish oil, fillets should be marinated in lemon or lime juices to lighten the flavor and maintain a good taste.
5. Bluefish reproduce during June, July and August.
6. Bluefish normally travels in large schools, which may contain up to several thousand individuals. One unusually large school sighted in Narragansett Bay in 1901 spread over a 4-5 mile distance.
7. Male and female bluefish reach sexual maturity by 2 years old.
8. Female Bluefish are capable of producing about one million eggs per year.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Things that go Bump in the Night

Not a fan of summer’s high temperatures, on days where the mercury pushes high, I typically hide out in my basement, patiently waiting for the sun to dip below the horizon. Nighttime affords the perfect opportunity to enjoy favorite outdoor pursuits, without needing to contend with the sun’s brutal rays. Individuals wanting a truly unique experience will find that the woods after sunset are a beautiful and exciting place and that going “nocturnal” is loaded with potential advantages. Hikers enjoy abandoned trails, anglers paddle lakes absent of roaring outboards and stargazers can stare into the starlit heavens, enjoying the quite tranquility.

Another big benefit, includes being able to introduce kids to this mysterious world, teaching them from an early age that they do not need to be afraid of the dark. Good Gear Makes for a Good Night To be a successful creature of the night, it pays to invest in a high quality headlamp and flashlight. Petzl headlamps ( are the ONLY headlamps I ever buy, their durability and performance are legendary. I have owned mine for over a decade and it has never failed. When paired with a high output Streamlight flashlight (, you will own even the darkest night. Users can choose from dozens of different models, based on their intended outdoor passion. While both are pricy, the benefits and years of service quickly outweigh the initial costs.

I prefer headlamps for their hands free operation. Light Emitting Diodes (LED) on these units provide adequate illumination for hiking and close proximity work. LEDs also require very little energy to function and therefore last a long time before needing new batteries. High output flash lights can reach out 100 yards and quickly illuminate large areas, should the need arise (think tracking a wounded animal at night). They do however often require pricy specialty batteries and drain quickly when compared to the energy efficient LED. A consideration, if you do not require a high power hand held flashlight, would be to purchase a very nice primary headlamp and a smaller, lighter weight (pocket sized) secondary headlamp. Always having two sources of illumination, guarantees not being stranded in the darkness, should the batteries die in the primary unit.

Eyes will adjust to darkness in steadily increasing increments, with major improvements occurring at approximately 20 seconds, 2 minutes, and 2 hours. After 2 hours eyes will be completely adjusted to the darkness and night vision likely not improve much beyond that point. Using a flashlight or headlamp, resets this clock and quickly negate any gains. Using a red or green filter on your headlamp or flashlight, instead of the standard white lens, will allow night vision to be more easily preserved and allow for faster recuperation of previously made gains.

Good Night Hiking
Trimble Mountain (DeLorme’s The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer (MAG), Map 37, D-2) boasts impressive views of the St. Croix River Valley and is a great spot for first time night hikers. Travel Route 1 South past the Calais/Robbinston line. In approximately 1.5 miles, turn right onto the Number 3 (Brewer Rd) road (if you pass the Redcliff Restaurant on the left, you have gone to far). Take a right at the fork and go about half a mile and then turn right onto the McNeil road. Drive straight ahead till you reach a sizeable parking lot. The last quarter mile to the summit is barely passable with a four-wheel drive vehicle and should be hiked. Trimble Mountain is privately owned and maintained, so visitors are asked to be extremely respectful and pack out all garbage, this will ensure continued access so the area and continued enjoyment by future generations.

For those interested or involved in the exciting sport of geocaching, two nearby caches will test the intestinal fortitude of even the steadiest nerves. Nearby by Brewer Cemetery (N 45° 04.806 W 067° 07.26) and Robbinston Ridge Cemetery (N 45° 04.925 W 067° 06.486) offer spooky early evening caches. For those with less resolve, the Robbinston boat landing (N 45° 04.925 W 067° 06.486) also has a fun cache in much less spooky surroundings. Please remember that whenever entering a cemetery, to always be extremely respectful and to obey the legal access times when these areas are open to the public.

Stargazers frequently use Trimble Mountain to peer into the heavens. Junior astronomers need not have an expensive telescope to enjoy the view of the heavens, as an inexpensive set of binoculars will allow viewing of many impressive astrological bodies, not readily seen with the naked eye. Though not occurring until next month, the impressive Perseids meteor shower is scheduled to occur around August 12th and promises to provide an impressive show that will quite literally be out of this world. Determining the viewing schedule and linking up with a local stargazing group is a great way to enter this hobby, without a large-scale initial investment.

The Downeast Amateur Astronomers ( is hoping to offer several events in the Calais and Machias area throughout July. For more information, see the Downeast Amateur Astronomers website or contact, Charlie Sawyer at 214-5706 or

Good Night Bass Fishing
The warm waters of July, mark the return of the bass’s feisty attitude. Early mornings, late evenings and even the dead of night certainly top my list as favorite hours to fish. These times typically see less boat traffic and paddlers are less abused by high winds that tend to blow throughout the day. Add to these benefits, the possibility of viewing beautiful sunrises and sunsets and it isn’t hard to understand why the best time to be on the water usually starts or ends in the dark. Big bass tend to emerge from their shadowy underwater lairs to feed long after boat traffic has departed. Dark colored lures like Jitterbugs and other surface disturbers are the preferred lures and are guaranteed to elicit brutal strikes from hungry aquatic predators hiding in the shadows. Crawford Lake in DeLorme’s The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer (MAG), Map 36, D-2, is a great spot to begin your night angling obsession and promises excellent after dark bass fishing action.
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