Photo Essay: Early Season Brook Trout in Maine’s North Woods

Written by: Jim Lepage

Northern Maine is known for its stunning native brook trout.

My good friend Mike Gawtry and I made last-minute plans to head to northern Maine to fish at Libby Camps during their opening week. Since I have a camp in Maine, I had quarantined for more than my required two weeks and Mike lives in Maine, so we met the state’s requirements for lodge visitors. We were more than ready to get out and fish, especially during these strange times. The more we talked about it, the more excited we got. A quick call to Libby’s, and we were in the books. It was good to hear that they had a pretty full camp, with some repeat Maine customers coming up to take advantage of the often excellent early fishing. Matt Libby also told me that we would enjoy the crew that would be in camp, and we sure did. It had been a few years since my last visit, a mistake I hope not to make again. Many thanks to Libby’s staff and guides for a great four days in their north woods paradise. Here are a few photos of our trip.

We were late arrivals to Libby Camps, getting in around 8 p.m. Walking into the main lodge, you know you’re in a very special place.
One of the first cabins built after the lodge moved to the shore of Millinocket Lake in the 1950’s, Phi Gam was our home for the next four days.
When the Libby staff found out we were going to be late they kindly asked if we wanted them to save us a little bite to eat
when we arrived. This was unexpected!
Photo by Mike Gawtry
I just love the water you can get to in a short flight in the lodge’s float plane. This beautiful native brook trout took a size 16 Elk-hair Caddis tied by our guide, Scott Story. Those flies proved to be priceless during our day on the water.
Photo by Mike Gawtry
Mike and Scott hike on a trail that leads us to our next fishing hole–actually quite far from the Turnpike.
A little lunchtime fun from the staff at Libby’s.
Mike hooks up to a nice trout, which took a size 14 Copper John in a deep run. Scott is ready with the net.
Mike prepares to send a beauty back home.
Exploring new water with guide Rick Young, Mike works the tailout of a pool. Note the traditional Maine pack basket.
At the end of each day, you can come inside the main lodge, sit comfortably, and listen to everyone’s stories–fish of the day, number of moose, bear, deer or other animals seen.
Millinocket Lake sunsets are spectacular.

On our last night, the sunset was spectacular. As we reflected the plane at the dock tempted both Mike and I to stay a few more days. One things for sure, we’ll be back to this storied Maine lodge. Libby Camps needs to be on your list!

From our front porch of Phi Gam we watched the sunset, the readied plane at the dock, and we found ice from the January cutting on the lake in our Yeti cooler.

Click here to learn more about Libby Camps.

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