George's Outdoor News

George’s new outdoor issues blog. He goes all over the state. He listens. And he reports on issues of concern to sportsmen, conservationists, and environmentalists.

Legislature overrides Governor's veto of Public Lands bill

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 After several years of intense effort, a bill governing our public lands has been enacted, thanks to votes in the House and Senate to override the Governor’s veto of the bill. Several legislators, including my State Senator Tom Saviello, and our state’s major environmental groups, deserve credit for crafting this bill and never giving up on it. Last year, the same bill was vetoed by the Governor, and the veto override failed.

Among other things, this bill:

Botanical Gardens are spectacular this time of year

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Boothbay Harbor
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 Get yourself down to Boothbay Harbor now, to enjoy the spectacular flowers in the Botanical Gardens.


Attean Lake Lodge is an amazing sporting camp

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           The website of Attean Lake Lodge describes it as a “unique” place, and it is, but it’s much more than that. It’s an island paradise which draws visitors back year after year.

You’ll love this 1901 article about Maine guides

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 Enjoying a notebook of historical stories at Attean Lake Lodge in Jackman, I came across this wonderful article about Maine guides. Wanting to share it with you, I asked Andrea Holden to copy it for me. I am sure you will find it as interesting and enjoyable as I did. The article, published in Outing magazine in 1901, was written by Herbert L. Jillson.

The Maine Guide and The Maine Camp

The Maine guide, in the mind of every sportsman who has “done” Maine properly, is closely associated with memories of pleasant and successful days with the rod on lake and stream, or long tramps through the woods with the rifle. It is his guide, not the sporting camp proprietor or the people he meets, that the sportsman, after return to civilization, remembers most of all.

George Smith and the Quest for a Most Favorite Fly

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 By Jim Hynson

I made my first trip to our camp at Camp Phoenix on Memorial Day weekend of 1991. George came for his first weekend the following week. That gave me one week’s head start in discovering what fly might work on the lake at that time.

George spent much time before his trip collecting what seemed to be every trout fly commercially available in the State of Maine. He reported having shopped at the Kittery Trading Post, LL Bean, the Maine Guide Fly Shop, Van Raymond Outfitters, and the North Woods Store, just to name a few. He accumulated a vast store of flies but also a much thinner wallet by several hundred dollars.

Great stories from a Maine bush pilot

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 Jake Morrell offers many great stories in his book, Hardscrabble Lodge. I got to visit with Jake at an authors’ event in Boothbay Harbor and eagerly grabbed a copy of his book.

Jake and his wife Beth lived an interesting and unusual life as the owners of Hardscrabble Lodge in the north woods. They purchased the abandoned and dilapidated remote camps and turned them into a popular destination.

Jake loved flying, and most of the stories feature his flying adventures and challenges. And yes, some were scary. Glad I wasn’t in the plane that time his engine quit – twice! His story of a trip to northern Quebec brought back my memories of fishing in that same region.

Not all stories are about planes. Wait ‘til you read about that time millions of blue insects surrounded the camps! There are also some great color photos in the book.

Shocking decline in northern Maine angling

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 I was astonished earlier this week to be on a northern Maine lake that once drew lots of anglers, and to see only a handful of anglers in two days.

I guess it should not have surprised me, because I recently read Jeremiah Wood’s report about a sharp decline in northern Maine angler use between 1996 and 2016. Wood is a fisheries biologist with Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

And his compelling and concerning report should be read by all of you. This is why many of our sporting camps are struggling. There are lots of great places to fish in North America, and Maine is no longer on many of those lists.

Wood’s Report

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