Charles W. (Charles Woodbury) Stevens.

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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA



PRESENTED BY

PROF. CHARLES A. KOFOID AND
MRS. PRUDENCE W. KOFOID



FISHING TACKLE.



BRADFORD & ANTHONY,

374 WASHINGTON ST., BOSTON,



IMPORTERS AND MANUFACTURERS OF



Fish Hooks, Rods, Reels, Line, Etc.,

FINEST QUALITY.

Split Bamboo, Fly Rods, and Waterproof Tapered Silk
Fly Lines, for Trout and Salmon, a specialty.



A FULL ASSORTMENT OF



ARTIFICIAL FLIES, BAITS, LEADERS, ETC.




Trout and Salmon Flies dressed to order suitable for Maine,
Adirondack, and Canadian waters.



WILLIAM READ & SONS,

13 FANEUIL HALL SQUARE, BOSTON,



AGENTS FOR



Colt's New American Gun.




This Breech- Loader has long been in preparation, and we recommend it as. the
best American gun yet produced. Of favorite top-snap action and latest improve-
ments.

Also agents for W. & C. Scott & Son's noted Breech-Loaders, and Forehand &
Wadsworth's Top-Snap Single Gun.

Also for Osgood's Folding Boat, fine Salmon and Fly Rods of all grades,
Flies, Baskets, Lines, Tourists' Knapsacks, Rifles, and every thing in Sporting
Outfits.



B. F. NICHOLS & CO.,



MANUFACTURERS OF



Fine Hexagonal Split Bamboo,

SALMON, TROUT, AND BASS

FLY AND BAIT RODS,

36 Beach Street, Boston, Mass.



SEND FOR PRICE-LIST.



NO. 2




TOMAH JO.



SILVER DOCTOR.






FLY-FISHING



IN MAINE LAKES;



IN THE WILDERNESS.



BY

CHARLES W. STEVENS.



' God made the country, and man hiadc the town." COWPER.



BOSTON :
PUBLISHED BY A. WILLIAMS & CO.



To the best of listeners, the kindest of critics,
who for many years has shared with me the cares
and comforts of a happy home, and who has been
my fond companion in my journeyings to lake and
stream ; in memory of many pleasant hours passed
in canoe and camp, this book is affectionately ded-

icated - c. w. s.



375-




WHY.




F the making of books," said a sacred writer,
" ^ iere J * s no en< ^-" Possibly the desire to
make one myself arose from the fact that I
have taken so much mental recreation in
writing these sketches, thus renewing past enjoy-
ments, and indulging anticipations of their repetition
in the future.

A part of the contents, through heavy bribes and
friendly editors, have found their way into the col-
umns of the press, though I have never learned that
the sale of the respective papers has thereby been
visibly increased.

As this book has been written by one daily en-
gaged in the cares and perplexities of a mercantile
life, I hope that it may escape, if noticed at all, harsh

5



M313066



6 WHY.

criticism. To claim for it any thing more than a
description of a sportsman's pleasures, by \ keen
lover of nature, would be magnificently absurd.

To the many friends who have encouraged this
publication, I know that its pages will sometimes be
welcome.

To those who have visited and enjoyed the locali-
ties it describes, I hope it may be. If it should call
up to all who may read it some happy remembrances
of the past, the why and the wherefore will have been
accomplished.

THE AUTHOR.

BOSTON, August, iSSo.







CONTENTS.



CHAPTER PAGE

I. STARTING 9

II. ON THE LAKE 23

III. IN CAMP 33

IV. AN UNFORTUNATE DAY .... 46
V. GOOD-BY, JOE 56

VI. DEPARTURE 70

VII. ON THE ROAD . 79

VIII. THE WHITE HILLS 91

IX. CRYSTAL AND GLEN ELLIS FALLS . . 104

X. GRAND LAKE 115

XI. HOW NOT TO GO 122

XII. TOMAH JOSEPH 136

XIII. RUNNING THE RAPIDS 147

XIV. A STIFF BREEZE 166

XV. PARMACHENEE LAKE 174

XVI. PICKEREL-FISHING IN WINTER ... 183

A RETROSPECT 194

SUPPLEMENTARY 197




FLY-FISHING IN MAINE LAKES.



CHAPTER I.

STARTING.

E was a very good sort of a man,
but he had a weakness for going
a-fishing."

If he who made this remark, in
speaking of one who had departed
this life, had profited by the les-
sons of the New Testament, he might have sur-
mised that perhaps the Master gave evidence of
superior wisdom in selecting his disciples, not from
those who bought and sold, and would fain have
pursued their mercenary traffic within the sacred
walls of the temple, but from those of an humble
calling, that hardy race of men who " go down to

9




10 FLY-FISHING IN MAINE LAKES.

the sea in ships," and who were wont to cast their
nets in the blue waters of the Galilee.

" But, my dear sir," say you, " that was their
business, and not a pastime."

" True enough ; but do you not believe that there
was something in the very nature of their calling
that especially fitted them for the great work they
were to perform?"

" Well, admit it, for the sake of the argument :
what then ?

" Simply this : if the life of a fisherman has that
about it that provokes a healthy body and a noble
soul, is it a weakness for us to choose for a recrea-
tion, and love it too, that which brings us into a
more intimate communion with nature, and teaches
us to look up with feelings of reverence and love,
from the most beautiful of created things, to Him
that has created them?"

Oh, yes, my friend ! if I could only make you
appreciate the true delights of the angler's pastime
as I feel it, there would be less of the fashionable
watering-place sojournings, I warrant you. " Come,"
said I to one who could not find an opportunity
to leave his business for more than two or three
days at* a time, "come with me : leave these piles
of brick and mortar for a couple of weeks at least,
and inhale the pure air of the mountains ; wander



STARTING. II

beside sparkling rivulets ; learn a little of the fish-
er's art, and enjoy his homely fare, his hours of ease
and nights of rest ; and go back to business with
renewed vitality, delightful recollections, and a
longer lease of life." And so at last, after much
converse, I prevailed upon my friend, and aroused
some faint enthusiasm for the excursion. And oh !
how I have heard the young man " enthuse " since
that time over the remembrance of that vacation
and several others of like nature which we have
passed together !

I had chosen a new locality. Having fished
Moosehead and other smaller Maine lakes with
success, I had decided to try the Umbagog waters,
and for seven successive seasons, a part with the
friend above referred to, have I cast my flies upon
the bosom of those charming lakes ; and, with all
respect to brother Murray, a rrtbst delightful region
have I found it. Naturally the outfit of our party
fell upon myself, and after-experiences have taught
me much in that respect ; and, were I writing for
novices, I might give some valuable hints in that
direction, a few perhaps, as it is, may not come
amiss. And, first of all, wherever you may go for
trout, in June or July, take with you a goodly quan-
tity of black-fly poison. I have used several kinds ;
but decidedly the best I have found is prepared by



12 FLY-FISHING IN MAINE LAKES.

Dr. Almy, corner of Tremont and School Streets,
Boston. A dollar box will suffice for one person for
a three-weeks' trip : it is perfectly harmless, and to
me rather agreeable than otherwise. Now take a
pair of long stockings, cut off the end of the foot,
make a hole for the thumb, and slip them on the
hand as you would a mitt, securing them at the
elbows with an elastic, and you are prepared to
resist those accompaniments to good fishing, black
flies and mosquitoes, which abound where there are
trout to be taken. A piece of mosquito-netting
usually comes in play for night service. These
three articles I consider indispensable, and should
as soon think of going on a cruise without an extra
rod as to leave one of these behind. For the
rest of your outfit, should some novice peruse this
sketch, I would refer him to " The Fishing Tour-
ist," by Charles Hallock, one of the most sensible
books on fishing that I have ever read.

My journal says it was " Monday evening on the
6th of June, 18 ," that a hack might have been
seen being driven down to Central Wharf, Boston,
on its way to the Portland boat ; on the back seat
my better half (she goes a-fishing) and myself; on
the front seat our new acquisition to the disciples
of Walton, not yet fully convinced, and wondering
if he could get a lemon on board in case of sea-



STARTING. 13

sickness ; while inside and out were numerous pack-
ages and portmanteaus which go to make up a
fisherman's outfit.

The voyage to Portland by steamboat, on a star-
light night, with a soft westerly wind and a smooth
sea, is not an extra hazardous one, nor does it
admit of any glowing imagery of description. Char-
lie didn't need his lemons, so that first conun-
drum of his was never solved. We chatted on
the after-deck, of our happy exodus, and specu-
lated on coming enjoyments, till one by one our
fellow-passengers had retired and we held full pos-
session ; then Charlie insisted that I should sing
"The morning light is breaking," which I kindly
did, although I could hardly see the appropriate-
ness of 1,he selection, saving its being the only sec-
ular piece I do sing : however, it served to stir up
things a little, for, before I commenced on the sec-
ond line, my wife and Charles bade me good-night,
and left me to finish my hymn to the mermaids.

It always did take my wife a long time to let
down her back hair : so I lit a fresh cigar, and gazed
off upon the " moonlit waves " (copied by permis-
sion). I had finished my cigar, and still sat gazing
far away to where Thacher lights were gleaming in
the distance, when a different kind of smoke from
that in which I had been indulging invaded my



14 FLY-FISHING IN MAINE LAKES.

nostrils, a sort of cross between a burning bed-
blanket and a piece of burned leather. Now, a
smoke usually proceeds from a fire j and a fire on
a steamboat outside^ of its own legitimate domains,
unless it be at the end of a cigar or in the bowl of
a pipe, is not a thing to be especially desired, and
the more I snuffed the stronger grew the smell : so
up I, got, and proceeded on a tour of investigation,
through the saloon, down between decks, forward
and aft. For five crowded minutes, accompanied
by one of the officers of the boat, to whom I com-
municated my suspicions, and who divided with me
the honors of the smell, did I search for that fire ;
when suddenly I felt something hot drop upon a
bald spot I wear on the top of my head. Now
surely there was cause for alarm : taking off. my hat,
a felt one, the origin of the fire was found ; a spark
from the smoke-stack had lodged upon the crown
of my hat, and committed an act of incendiarism.
Rather ludicrous it seemed to strike my friends, but
I was never able to see the joke in the same light
which they did. Why should I ? I told my wife, as
I climbed into the upper berth, that it was a serious
subject : the boat might have been on fire ; and,
giving a final twist to her locks, that woman who had
sworn to "love, honor, and obey," "and all that
sort of thing," actually laughed. I always get the



STARTING. 15

better of that back hair in the morning, and usually
enjoy about forty winks while it is being tortured
into shape ; but this morning the boat's crew seemed
to take especial delight in banging away below us,
while above our heads the water-bucket and the
broom were doing active service. Sleep after four
o'clock was under these circumstances something
which the inventor of, probably not having been
similarly situated, had neglected to provide for ; and
therefore we did the next best thing, lay awake till
a reasonable hour for getting up arrived, and the
colored cabin-boy had notified us by numerous
knocks upon our stateroom-door that our absence
would not be seriously missed. We then held a
council of war, and decided to dress one at a
timeyas the limited capacity of our room did not
admit of much sociability in that proceeding. Our
toilets completed, we were met in the saloon by
Charlie, who confessed to a good night's rest and a
prodigious desire for breakfast. Proceeding to the
wharf, we were, met by a most gentlemanly person,
who kindly proposed to take us in his carriage to
the Falmouth Hotel or to any other place in the
"natural seaport" which we might wish to visit.
In fact, I think we must have been looked upon as
rather important personages, as several gentlemen
joined him in offering the use of their carriages :



1 6 FLY-FISHING IN MAINE LAKES.

we, however, accepted the first invitation, and were
soon enjoying a splendid breakfast with mine host
Wheeler at the Falmouth.

The train on the Grand Trunk on which we
were to leave for Bryant's Pond Station not leaving
until two o'clock, we had abundant opportunity to
enjoy a drive about the beautiful city of Portland ;
the Promenade (so called) around Munjoy Hill
giving us a fine view of Casco Bay with its numer-
ous islands, and that around Bramhall's Hill, at the
western extremity of the city, a view of the sur-
rounding country with the tall peaks of the White
Hills in the far distance for a background.

Two o'clock, and away we go. " All aboard," has
been shouted by our veteran conductor (Gould) ;
and a dejected old gentleman views with despair
his trunk which he has neglected to check on
the platform, as we pass out of the depot. Just
a glimpse of the mammoth pier which was built
for the "Great Eastern," when she should make
the "natural seaport'" her first port of entry, but
which time never came ; a glance at the new
marine hospital at Westbrook, with White Head
towering up in the distance, and we are rattling off
into a charming country, dotted here and -there
with such farm-houses as only one can see in New
England, from the window of a railroad-car.



STARTING. I?

"Coin' a-fishin?" accompanied with a poke on
my left shoulder, drew my attention from a pretty
farm-picture on which I was gazing, to a rural
specimen of the genus homo on the seat behind
me. " What der yer 'spect ter ketch ? "

" Any thing, sir, that will rise to a fly ; wouldn't
object to a salmon, but will be content with a
trout."

" Rise to a fly ! guess if they rise to flies you'll
see lots of fish."

" Oh ! then trout are plenty this season, are
they?"

" Don't know nothing about trout, but flies air.
Where yer from?"

"Boston."

"Where yer going?"

" Upper Dam, Richardson Lake."

"Sho! she going too?"

"Yes."

"Fishing?"

"Certainly."

" Gosh ! cummin' all the way from Boston to go
a fishin'. Not in them clo'es, is she ? "

We explained that our fishing-outfit was quite
different from our present dress, and that we were
accustomed to roughing it. The idea of our
" cummin' all the the way from Boston to go



1 8 FLY-FISHING IN MAINE LAKES.

a-fishin', and she goin' too," so impressed the
old gentleman that he lapsed into profound medi-
tation, and we heard nothing more from him till
we stepped from the car at Bryant's Pond, when I
overheard him say to an old lady opposite,

" Jess think of it ! he said they'd come all the
way from Boston to go a-fishin'."

The stage-coach that old-fashioned, charming
vehicle of locomotion which we had been advised
would be in waiting to take us to Andover
greeted our vision as we alighted from the train ;
and, scrambling for outside seats, we little heeded
the remark of our driver, that " she wouldn't bal-
ance unless some of us got inside."

Get inside? not much. We had anticipated
this glorious ride too much for that : so we stowed
our luggage on the lower deck, with one or two
way-passengers, and kept our lofty seats, hugging
to them, and to each other, as we sped away right
merrily down hill and up hill, stopping now and
then to deliver a lean mail-bag to some female
government attache f^ who would cast shy glances
at the members of the party on the outside, who
"cum all the way," &c., and then trip gayly back to
the post-office, to sort the mail, and guess at the
contents of the letters.

We soon found our driver to be a lively and



STARTING. 19

communicative chap, as they usually are ; and
before we had proceeded many miles he had
sifted us down pretty well, and given us a very
good history of himself, family, and horses.

One of us observed that the leaders didn't ap-
pear to be quite well matched.

" Well matched ! Gentlemen, there never was
a pair of better-matched horses than them air
leaders. You see, the off one wants to do all
the work, and the nigh one is perfectly willing
he should."

That wasn't bad, and we gave it the laugh it
deserved. The next year I got the witticism with-
out any suggestion on my part, and didn't laugh
quite so loud. I have heard it seven times, and
the worthy deacon seems to enjoy his little joke
more and more. I can see him now, gathering
himself up, and giving the " nigh one " a little
tingler on the left ear, as introductory.

Well, here we are at Rumford, ten miles from
Bryant's Pond, and as many more to Andover,
where we are to spend the night and make our
preparations for departure to the lakes. The driver
informs us that we sup here. The landlord looks
inviting, and the table more so. We do full justice
to the meal ; but "six boiled eggs," Master Charles,
I will never confess to. We have disputed that



20 FLY-FISHING IN MAINE LAKES.

point many times : I acknowledge four, but "six "
excuse me.

"Beg your pardon, madam," said a lady to Mrs.
S., as she was leaving the parlor for her outside
seat. "Do you not remain with us?" My wife
remarked that our journey lay farther on, behind
the hills.

" Oh, I am so sorry ! this is such a lovely spot,
so romantic ! such a superabundance of beauty, it
would seem as if nature had thrown every thing
into wild confusion." Fortunately, before we had
quite digested this burst of eloquence, the cry of
" Stage ready " prevented our being obliged to ex-
tend the conversation ; but as we whirled away from
the door I launched at her from my lofty pinnacle
a few harmless, disconnected adjectives, just to
show her we knew how it was done.

A short ride brings us to the banks of the
Androscoggin, dividing the village of Rumford,
and which we cross on what is known as a rope-
ferry, a rope stretched across the river, on which
runs a pulley attached to another rope made fast to
the boat : the force of the current, with a little guid-
ance from the " bold ferry-man," is all that is re-
quired to land us on the opposite shore, up which
our horses canter, and we are bowling along at a
lively pace toward Andover.



STARTING. 21

Our mail-bags grow leaner as we pass them out
from under the boot ; the deacon has talked him-
self out, and with an occasional, " Rup there,"
"Whoa, Sail," we hear but little from him. The
madam leans rather heavily upon my right shoul-
der, as if her journey, Rumford eloquence, or ca-
tering, had been too much for her. Charlie thinks
his creature comfort demands his winter overcoat.
The patriarch of the flock lights his pipe, and, fail-
ing to arouse any enthusiasm over what a charming
sunset there might have been under certain con-
tingencies, sink's into a brown study, cogitating what
flies he will use for his first cast. Darkness settles
down upon us, and the sparkle of thousands of
fireflies seem but the reflection of the twinkling
stars.

"Only one mile more," from the deacon, rouses
us from our meditations ; and, as the village bell
rings out the hour of nine, we whirl up to the door
of the Andover House.

I don't suppose that Uncle John Merrill, our
landlord, will ever forget, or cease to remind me,
how resignedly my wife fell into his arms that night
as she descended from her lofty perch. Charlie
and myself had no such kindly reception, but were
made very welcome, and were soon on nearly as
intimate terms with our good-natured host, who



22



FLY-FISHING IN MAINE LAKES.



had been apprised of our coming, and whose best
chambers had been swept and garnished for our
arrival. A short talk over our prospects at the
lake, and we were ready to test John's mattresses.




CHAPTER II.




ON THE LAKE.

HEN you have reached a quiet
country village, late at night, after
a long day's journey, refreshingly
tired, have you not thought how
you would sleep long into the morn-
ing? And when the early morning
came, did you not find yourself sadly disappointed ?
Talk about the country stillness ! generally speak-
ing, that's all moonshine : you hear plenty of noises.
The " early village cock " is the first to give token
of the morn ; then some noble Newfoundland, or
cur of low degree, launches his bark on the sea
of time's new day ; and you wish, just for that brief
interval between trying to get a morning nap and
finally giving it up, that you were back again to your
own bed and listening to the accustomed sounds
which you do not hear. However, when you do

2 3



24 FL Y-FISHING IN MAINE LAKES.

become fully aroused, shake off the bedclothes, and
put your head out of the window, and get a sight
of the far-off hills, and one good wholesome coun-
try smell, all animosity is fled : you forgive both
fowl and beast for early rising ; and you sit there
in the cool of the morning, or I often have, drink-
ing in the glories of the budding morn. Oh ! isn't
it delicious ? One doesn't need to pour exhilara-
tion down his throat to give him an appetite for
breakfast : it is drank in through the other senses,
and sends a thrill of pleasure over the whole body.
And when we all sit around John's neatly-spread
table, and taste the fresh eggs and the dainty
trout, we begin to feel already a newer life and a
most voracious appetite.

"It does me good to see you take hold," said
John, as he bustled about the table, his gray hair
and long beard glistening in the morning sun.
" But, bless your souls ! this is nothing to what you
will be able to do when you get back. And now
hurry up, and get ready for a start : the buckboard
will be at the door in half an hour."

If our friend, who interviewed us on the cars,
could have seen us as we were ready for departure,
he would scarcely have recognized us ; " them
clothes " having been laid aside for the fisherman's
garb. My wife never looked better in my eyes



ON THE LAKE. 2$

than she did when about to mount tlie buckboard :
a bloomer suit, made of dark waterproof, good
stout boots, buck gloves with armlets reaching to
and well secured at the elbow, a gentleman's felt
hat, and white tarltan veil fastened to the band,
completely encircling the head, and secured by an
elastic to the collar of the dress, thus affording an
effectual barrier to the flies and mosquitoes that
awaited our coming and were thirsting for city
blood.

After three miles of quite rapid travelling over an
ordinary country thoroughfare, we left civilization,
and turned into the road which leads to the arm
of the lake, nine miles through a dense forest
where locomotion becomes slow, and were it not
for its novelty might become tedious, as it takes
three hours to accomplish the distance. But we
are a gay and happy party, and with jokes, stories,
and song the hours soon slip by ; and, before we
begin to feel at all wearied with our jaunt, we come
out upon a small clearing, and our driver says,
" Here we are." We see a small black-looking
camp, but no lake, so completely is it hidden by
the dense woods. Here we prepare our lunch, and
eat it with a hearty relish, first making a smudge on
the cook-stove to clear the camp of " flies and
sich." Our guides unloose our baggage from the



26 FLY-FISHING IN MAINE LAKES.

buckboard, and, hoisting it upon their shoulders,
disappear through a labyrinth of trees and under-
brush, while we stand wondering where they are to
find boats and water. But we have faith, and show
it by our works, as we pick up some of the lighter
parcels, and follow.

" Don't stumble, Frank ! look out there ! Don't
you see you have the package marked ' Glass, with
care'?"

" I know it, sir ! and I'll take good care I don't
drop it : I allers look out sharp for them packages
contents good for wet soles, ain't they, sir? "

" Yes, and dry uppers."

" Well, sir, here's the boat, she's all right : the
lady had better stay by that smudge till we get her
stowed the boat, I mean."

We see the boat, and believe in that, also in our
guides ; and our faith, though slightly wavering as
we gaze down the narrow, dirty stream not ten feet
wide, still holds out. Charlie will insist upon my
unloading my revolver, which I had carefully laid
in the stern sheets for the benefit of some erratic
loon ; which done, and the madam called and com-
fortably seated on the softest blanket, we push off
with kind good-bys and good wishes from Uncle
John.

We thread for a moment or two the narrow wind-


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Online LibraryCharles W. (Charles Woodbury) StevensFly-fishing in Maine lakes; or, Camp-life in the wilderness → online text (page 1 of 11)