Skunked Again: Trout fishing good in Franklin County

8 mins read

My fishing excursions have been fairly frequent as of late in Franklin County, a special region of Maine where trout are sustained by the large and scenic western Maine mountains. The rainfall that has soaked these mountains, trickled through its soil, escaped the thirsty roots of hardwoods and evergreens, and converged into small springs, provides a well-balanced solution for the survival of our local cold-water fish. 

I often ponder over the geological and biological significance of mountains themselves, and, though it may sound strange at first, I find it hard not to consider water (whether it is run off or water temporarily absorbed by foliage and animals) as the blood of mountains – that is, the water that constantly circulates within and outside of the surrounding terrain, nourishing the ecosystem. This water, or blood, is of a particular type here in Western Maine; for the high altitude at which it begins provides a long, downhill journey to become oxygenated.  Now, I did not get the job working for the University of Maine in Farmington to test the waters of the Sandy River, but if I had, I bet  I would have found that, despite our acid rain (thanks Ohio), the Sandy River is a highly sustainable area for salmonids, and a suitable place to throw in a worm. And throw a worm in I did.

Though I did not fish the Sandy itself, I fished Temple Stream, a large tributary of the river. This stream is a worthy place to travel along with a couple packs of worms simply because there are miles of opportune waters and countless trout-holes.  If I could offer any advice to anyone thinking about skipping dinner and getting an evening fish in: bring a gold spinner, a bunch of worms, and a little bug-dope – that’s all you need.  Now, the bug-dope is optional, but the worms are not; do not expect them to stay on the hook very long!  

My good friend, Emily, took me to a spot on Temple Stream near the area she grew up, located just off Route 43, DeLorme Map 19 C-5.  Although she knew where some of the serious fishing went down in Temple, she had never caught a fish, and I was determined to remedy that situation.

It was an overcast day, the moisture in the air was thick, and the black-flies made sport of us as we swatted the air ineffectively and continuously sought refuge from them further down stream.  I once learned that the density of these flies, and microinvertebrates in general, can correlate directly with fish health and population, so I took the swarming masses as a good sign even if Emily did not.

The author tries his luck along the Temple Stream.

We quickly reached our first pool where the stream flowed around the side of a large ledge section and spilled out into a long, deep, trench-like pool just below.  My first cast was hardly admirable, and I retrieved my line after my worm fell short of its mark. I was aiming for the deeper section of the pool below the ledge formation – here I figured there would be a trout waiting, scanning the waters for food drifting along.

My second cast flew straight, and my worm fell into the edge of this quick water. As my gob of bait drifted towards the edge of the current  I got a surprisingly quick tug-tug.  I attempted to set my hook, but my hook, worm, and sinker all came careening out of the water, and I hastily reset myself for another cast.  My second attempt was more successful, as the trout hit a second time, and I found myself fighting a fish of particular strength.

A brook trout, caught out of the Temple Stream.

In a matter of seconds I hauled the fish, flopping and splashing through the shallows, to where I stood on the bank an undetectable distance away.  It was a healthy trout, measuring 10 inches long, and speckled with a healthy array of yellow and red dots.  The red dots have always been my favorite, for a subtle blueish coloring wraps around each of these dots, adding to the unique splendor of the beauteous brook trout.

Now aware of the fish inhabiting this pool, I threw a cast deeper into the backwaters, seeking another trout that might be surveying this particular section for food. I instantly got a massive hit, and yelling to Emily, I had her quickly grab the pole from me in order to attempt landing the fish. It wasn’t easy, for it was a much larger trout than I had just caught, but she soon had it ashore, and I discovered discreet signs of pride in her face, kindled by her first fish caught.  The trout was close to 12 inches long, fat and healthy, and simply a monster compared to any that I have seen recently.

Emily and I made our way downstream and hit up the next couple of pools waiting behind large boulders in the stream or just below collected debris.  We both caught another trout each, though neither of them compared to the ones earlier.  However, I did receive two marlin-like hits that left me exclaiming “Aw!” and frustrated when the trout refused to strike again.

We only had a little daylight left, and there were plenty of spots upstream Emily was anxious to show me, so I reluctantly retreated from the stretch of stream that left such a remarkable impression on me.  The area was a unique one, one that invites a traveler just off the beaten trail to enjoy the rich bounty of Western Maine.  As the two of us walked up the trail toward Route 43, and the alders that hugged the path swung back into place behind us, even the buzz of the flies seemed to dwindle behind us in disappointment. 

We got out of the woods very much alive, and we found that it was a successful trip in general; Emily caught her first fish, and I was able to experience a promising new waterway in Franklin County.  If anyone is looking for a spot to cast a worm or sling a fly, Temple Stream has ample waters to choose from, and the trip requires only the initiative to get outside and enjoy. Happy Fishin!

Emily looks out over Temple Stream.

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1 Comment

  1. Nice article Sam, I enjoyed it! We’ll have to hit up some trout holes soon before the summer ends!

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