I have written a lot of articles about this pond, but this will be my last.  I can best describe it as an incredible natural trout pond nestled in the western mountains.  There has never been a stocked trout put in it.  The trout are fire engine red and the best tasting trout I have ever had.  I first went there when I was nine Years old—so I know the pond.  I have caught more trout in that pond over my life than all the other trout waters I have fished combined.  It was that good.

I headed in in July of this year.  The water was high for July but I immediately noticed that it had that chocolate look which meant it was healthy.  As I have told you before, great trout waters are not crystal clear.  Fish in Labrador and you will be fishing in water that has life suspended in it.  I don’t know exactly what it is—in the ocean it would be plankton.  So all seemed good as I headed out to my fishing spot.  The spot is actually a spring that gathers most of the trout in summer heat.  It is not easy to find, as it is about four feet in diameter and if you are a foot off, you get nothing.  You can also throw your dry flies away, because even if they rise, you will not catch them on dries.  They fin a lot there and it drives me crazy.  I have laid countless dries right in front of them and it never works.  The best I can do is fish a small nymph with a dry line.  Don’t fish a bead head because that will sink.  I lay it in the hole and move it very slowly.  They call that fishing the film, and it may work but not often.  Most of the time I fish a sinking tip, and let it go down about three feet.  When you buy a sinking tip, you have to know what waters you are going to fish.  Some are fast sinks and that is no good for this pond.  You have to retrieve it so fast to stay off the bottom that it is largely ineffective.  When I really was a fisherman, I had five lines on five different reels.  My reel of choice is a small medalist.  Many have said that a big fish will melt it—well so far it has not happened.

As I approached the spring hole, something did not look right.  I always found the spot by going to a bank of weeds and moving about ten feet from the weeds and cast toward the middle of the pond.  The bank of weeds was about five feet in width.  When I got there this year, the bank of weeds was forty feet wide.  I anchored as I always had, but it did not look right.  I tried all my favorite flies but got nothing.  I heard a rise and saw the ripples from it in the weeds.  Then another and another. “Trout in the weeds”?  Made no sense.  As is said in the market, “don’t fight the fed.”  I turned and did my best to cast where the trout were rising.  Then they started to jump quite regularly but would not touch anything I presented.  Soon I started to connect some dots.  The spring was in the weeds or more precisely the weeds had grown into the spring.  That is an ominous sign because weeds grow in warm water and it showed me that the spring was not putting out.  It would get worse.

When all else fails in fishing, try strip fishing.  You use a colorful, large fly and let it sink a bit and strip it in fast.  I strip a couple of times and leave it for a second.  You are aggravating the fish and they often hit that when they will hit nothing else.  It began to work and I caught some trout but I wish I hadn’t.  The trout were in terrible shape.  Skinny beyond belief.  I kept one about fifteen inches that would have weighed a pound and a half under normal circumstances.  These were not ordinary circumstances.  I tuned to paddle home and I would get the shock that no trout fisherman ever wants to have.

I was in about five feet of water when I saw a dead trout on the bottom.  It had just died.  It was a large trout and the blood suckers had not touched him.  In my experience a trout will be eaten by blood suckers in an hour or less.  I thought that perhaps this was a trout that I had caught and released that had died as a result, but the dead trout was about sixteen inches, and I had not released any that size.  Then I saw another and another.  All large trout recently dead.  Then I saw countless dead trout all stacked in various stages of decomposition.  Most were just the bones.  There were hundreds if not more.  Loons?  No a loon eats the fish and there are no skeletons.  Otters?  I have seen trout carnage from marauding otters, and they leave the trout dead but uneaten.  But otters can’t catch healthy trout in a pond.  They get them when the trout goes up a brook to spawn.  Eagles or fish ducks—no way.  They don’t leave the carcass.  I was looking at the death of my favorite pond

It started years ago when for some reason the brook that fed the pond mysteriously dried up for the first time in forty years.  Not lost on me was the fact that there was a major cutting operation going on a mile away, but upstream to the pond.  Still, I have no proof of the connection.  That fall I snuck into the pond to see if the trout were spawning in the brook.  Well, there was no brook but the trout (females) were trying their best tow wiggle through dry gravel, to no avail.  I could see several males waiting to fertilize the eggs.  Now I think the trout did their best to spawn at the mouth of the brook, mostly in the pond.but that area is unsuitable.  The spawn success was greatly reduced, but some spawned and the trout were larger but few and far between.  Then came two killer summers, not counting this July which was the hottest July on record.  Trout cannot live in warm water and Jewel Pond could not produce enough spring water with her major artery cut.  It was grim.

To make matters worse the beaver had lifted the pond, which most of you will say makes for colder water.  In the dead of summer all the water heats up and springs that cool it are the only chance.  The more water in the pond, the tougher it is for the springs to cool it.  I agree that in the spring before the water heats up, high water is cooler but then you get that cross over point.  Of course, the beavers don’t know

I talked to the camp owner and told him of my grisly discovery.  He said the fishing had been terrible.  The Gulf of Maine has risen to unheard of temperatures spreading green crabs that kill mollusks—global warming?  The ground fish like cod and haddock are in real trouble, although overfishing may be the cause of that.  The glaciers are melting at record pace causing the oceans to rise.  If you have a place in Florida, enjoy it because high oceans will take it all.

Jewel gave me the best fishing one could ever ask for.  When the limit was eight, I expected and did catch my limit with eight casts.  I did not like to catch and release, because it does kill fish, so when I got my limit, I was out of there.  And may I say that getting in and out was not easy.  I have spent thousands of dollars replacing bearings on vehicles that took that on.  Now it could be moody, but not often.  If I wanted trout, I went there.  It was fished a lot more forty years ago than now but the old timers shot every loon and THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE.

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