Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Shallow Waters

Supposedly derived from the Abenaki word for shallow waters, we returned to Umbagog Lake for the first time in almost 10 years. On prior trips, my wife and I stayed at one of the remote campsites managed by the Parks Department for the State of New Hampshire. This trip, we decided to rent a house on the lake and enjoy the additional amenities not afforded to those at the remote sites...not that I missed the pit toilet.

Nowadays, I often find that places change so frequently that they seem to have a different flavor each time I return. I was very pleased to see that the lake and its surroundings had not changed, at all, since my last visit.

We arrived at our rental house late Saturday afternoon and I must say, I was blown away. Having booked hotels or houses in the past, somehow the images of the places always look better online. This house blew away my expectations and in no way did the images do justice to the actual home.

back yard
As the boys and I were a bit anxious to unpack the most important gear first, our fishing rods, I climbed on to of the tire, threw open the cargo carrier and tossed the gear to my two willing helpers. We immediately headed down to the dock and I tied on some Rooster Tails for the boys to toss into the lake. No joke, my oldest's first cast and he was into a beauty.

First cast and Fish On...
Sadly, I must admit that I did not remove a fly rod from the comfort of its tube the entire trip. Spin rods ended up being the order of the day. While I really wanted to sneak away and locate some quality North Wood's riffles and cast for a few hours in solitude, I decided that the looks on my boy's faces as they nailed fish after fish was something I could not miss out on this trip. We had rented a small motor boat from the homeowners and trying to manage 3 or 4 people spin fishing simultaneously was challenge enough.

just the right size
A trip to local outpost, L.L. Cote, in Errol NH, provided us the opportunity to stock up on lures for the week. The gentleman working the fishing department took plenty of time to explain the various lures and show us what was reported as being hot in recent days. As I snuck out with a bag of lures, that required me to hide the bill from my wife, the boys were giddy with excitement to use lures they had chosen for themselves.

Days were spent fishing, hiking, fishing, swimming, fishing, boating, fishing and fishing. Did I mention that we managed to sneak in some fishing during the week. After a few days, my better half even got into the action and landed a few on her own. My youngest took home the prize for the 2 largest fish of the week. When I fish with the boys, if they hook up, they are one their own. It's their job to reel in their catch - how else ya gonna learn? So Nate lays into a decent fish and his little spin rod is bending to a point that am I not sure how it survived and yet, I resisted the urge to help him reel in his prize. I played net man and coach as I instructed him how to get the fish nearer to us and in range of my net. I'll let the picture finish the story.

As it was only our second day, Bear was not ready to hold the fish for his money shot, that took a few more days...we continued to fish for the remainder of the week and caught more than I could count...

Toothy bastard
a nice fight
warmed up to bigger fish and lookin' the part
need to work on the fish handling skills a bit :)
The Great North Woods remains on of my favorite places. The ability to hop of the grid, not have a cell phone signal and really, not see many other people for a week was just what the doctor ordered.

I have had the good fortune to travel to many places across the globe and have yet to find a sunset that can rival Umbagog.
amazing colors
photo credit: Vaggie
As we have now decided to make this an annual trip, I can only hope that the change that permeates our lives continues to bypass these shallow waters. Special thanks to Bob and Donna Folsom, the kind folks who allowed our kids the run of their beautiful rental home.


  1. Great post, I have to agree with you on the sunsets on Umbagog. What stil breaks my heart even though they do provide a great deal of fun, is the smallmouth bass. My friend who has his cabin on the other end by the Rapid tells me stories when he used to get nothing but brookies and landlocks off his dock and never a single bass. Oh those were the days I'd imagine.

    Nothing beats some family time and some fishing thrown in. Good times

  2. Thanks Rich - there was a big article on the front of the Sunday Maine paper discussing the impact of these invasive fish species due to illegal stocking and how it is and will continue to impact the brook trout population. While the smallies where alot of fun, I to would have preferred to lock into some trout of the dock!

  3. That's a wonderful place for the family to get together.
    Lots of fresh air, fragrant smells, good food, good stories, and fishing.
    Well done.

  4. Thanks Alan. Unspoiled surroundings, family and friends - didn't get much better than that!

  5. Wonderful pics, now I am really looking forward to the trip.

  6. Thanks Mary...the entire region is truly a gem!