On Saturday I was supposed to take our rowboat up to Megunticook Lake in Camden but it took too long for me to get the trailer ready and I abandoned plan A. I had already planned to meet Ian at Pat's Pizza in Bethel at 6PM, then spending the night at Neighbor John & Sarah's camp in Hanover; only 10 miles from the trailhead for the the Grafton Notch Loop run. After futzing around, I finally decided that I'd go to Evans notch and combine a short trail run and flyfishing. Getting to Evans Notch in the summer is not much fun. Rt. 302 simply sucks. It was a beautiful day and everyone was on the water. Standing room only at the Sebago public launch.
I finally got to Evans Notch and was deciding between the Mud Brook trail up Caribou Mtn. or the Highwater Trail along the Wild River. The appeal of the Mud Brook trail was the little native Brookies in Mud Brook - I'd seen them on a previous hike. But I was going to be doing a long mountain run the next morning so I was looking for a more flattish, easy run. Plus the 6 inch brookies wouldn' t be much of a fight on a 5 wt. rod.
That meant the Highwater trail, which I had never been on. I packed my camelbak with my fly reel and my flies, and I carried my fly rod in hand. My rod is 8'6" and is four piece. I have a soft sleeve to hold the pieces and this rolls up into a very carryable package. The Highwater trail was exactly what I was looking for. It has a really small, shallow hill somewhere in the first mile but was very flat after that. And in great shape for running.
Two problems though. 1) it was 3:30PM and I had to meet Ian at 6PM at a location that was about 25-30 minutes away. Given that it takes about 10 minutes to get the rod, reel and line all set to fish, that didn't leave me much time for running *and* fishing. 2) I don't have a NH fishing license and the Highwater trail quickly crosses from Maine into NH. I took a look at a map and it looked like the trail dodged away from the River for a good section at the beginning and returned to the river right about the NH line. I got to that point after about 1.8 miles and I wanted to get a 4 mile run in, so I kept going into NH. It was really hard to turn around because I was enjoying the trail, the river, the temperature, the terrain, the.. but I turned around at 2.8 miles and ran back to the 1.8 mile mark and called that Maine.
The Wild River at this point was a beautiful set of riffles with some shallow pocket pools. I started out with terrestrials (beetles and ants) because I have these and never catch fish with them but have been told that this is the time of year to use them. I didn't catch any fish with them. I switched to an old standby dryfly - a royal wulf - and worked my way down to what looked like a big pool downstream. At this point I had been fishing for about 30 minutes ad had about 10 minutes left to fish and still had 100 yards to the pool, so I skipped all the lower part of the riffles and set up right where the riffles go to slack water. Boom - small trout hit right away. It was a beautiful rainbow trout, about the length of my forearm (15 inches). It was skinny relative to a Rapid River brookie of the same size and didn't put up a fight that a 15 inch brookie would have. Still, it was a sweet fish for Aug 8. A small hatch was occurring but I didn't have time to match it. A few more failed casts and I had to close up and run the 1.8 miles back to the car. On the sweet trail. (in looking at the gps track it looks like I wasn't quite back in Maine. Oh no guilt!).
Ian and I had a beer at Pat's then went to BBQ Bob's for pulled pork. Perfect day!