The recently established Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument protects a swath of 87,563 acres in Maine’s iconic north woods east of Baxter State Park. It is contiguous with state and private conservation lands, creating a landscape-scale reserve for native fish and fauna. This wild, mountainous country holds many ponds and a network of rivers and streams, including 20 miles of the East Branch of the Penobscot River that is key habitat for endangered, sea-run Atlantic salmon. Additionally, 10 miles of Wassataquoik stream and seven miles of the Seboeis River support robust populations of native brook trout and landlocked salmon.
Katahdin Woods and Water National Monument
A pristine north woods setting where anglers have a legitimate shot at a three-pound brook trout, and a very good chance of seeing moose. “I’ve been fishing the upper East Branch of the Penobscot since the 1980s,” Warren Winders offered, “and as surely as a river carves its way through a valley toward the sea, the East Branch has carved its way deep into my heart. We’d leave the Boston area where I live late at night, stop at L.L. Bean en route, and pull into camp at 5 am…and start fishing soon after. My first visit, back in the 80’s, one of my friends handed me a worm container. I said, ‘No thanks, I can catch ‘em on flies.’ I did, and soon my friends were using flies too.” The East Branch is a broad, beautiful river, eminently wadeable, with a host of hatches—especially in the spring. “When the monument was being considered, the governor said there was ‘nothing there but a bunch of bugs.’ He was partially right—mayflies, stoneflies and caddis…though the black flies are pretty bad around Memorial Day. Nonetheless, the Hendrickson hatches around that time can be tremendous.” Moose are commonly encountered on the East Branch. “My brother was fishing on one occasion and heard a grunt,” Winders recalled. “He turned around and saw some saplings. When he heard the grunt again and turned, he realized those saplings were moose legs!”
My brother was fishing on one occasion and heard a grunt,” Winders recalled. “He turned around and saw some saplings. When he heard the grunt again and turned, he realized those saplings were moose legs!Warren Winders
Bring a few Hornbergs. “Though it was developed in the Midwest, this fly is a staple in northern Maine,” Winders added. “You can fish it dry or like a streamer. If you can’t figure out what’s happening on the water, throw on a Hornberg.” (Bucktail streamers with yellow or red – like Edson Tigers – are also effective.)
Support public lands and look good doing it!
The Maine Council of Trout Unlimited and TU staff carefully reviewed the Monument proposal and continue to work with the National Park Service to ensure that trout and salmon habitat protection is a priority as infrastructure and management policies are developed. TU volunteers have also been documenting trout populations in previously unsurveyed small ponds on and near the Katahdin Woods and Water since 2012. One pond on the monument, Moose Pond, has been protected as a “State Heritage Fish Water” and there are several other candidate waters that are still under review.
Make a Difference
Take Action today to protect public lands like Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Visit Standup.tu.org to tell decision makers that you oppose proposals that would weaken the Antiquities Act or rescind or diminish any national monuments. Please give today to keep America’s rivers and streams cold, clean and fishable.