In the spring of 1970, a man from Millinocket introduced me to his secret trout pond.

The pond was breathtaking in every way that a remote trout pond can be. It was a small kettle pond gilded with spiraling spruce and fir trees lending a rich sap green to the still, gin-clear water. A mountain rose above the pond shielding the West side from the late afternoon sun.

V. Paul Reynolds, Outdoors Columnist

An hour before sunset the mirror-like surface took on a new look that drives most trout men into ecstasy. Surface feeding trout began leaving random dimples (rise forms) from one side of the water to the other.

If you could delicately cast a #14 Parachute Adams or Blue Winged Olive so that it flitted down upon the center of the “trout dimple,” you got a hookup, almost every time.

It was love at first bite.

My life has never been quite the same since. Every June for most of the past 50 years, this bewitching, seductive place has found a spot on my calendar. Over the years, one of my boys, my wife, or a close fishing friend has shared this special spot with me and enjoyed it as much as I have.


A new twist this year, though. Nobody that I love or trust — not one — was available to share my canoe and help with the grub, the cooking and the heavy lifting.

“No,” Diane said. “Absolutely not. You are not going into that remote area alone!”

“C’mon, Di,” I pleaded with a hang-dog look. “I will be careful, wear a life jacket on the water and take no chances. I promise.”

“Paul, you are too old and you know it. It’s just plain irresponsible,” she insisted.

Flash forward.

Yep, I finally had my way. The stalemate was finally broken when my eldest son lobbied his mother on my behalf.


Actually, the loan of a cutting-edge electronic device belonging to my son, a PLB (personal locator beacon), clinched the deal. As he explained to his concerned mother, if I got into a jam, a push of the red button would summon search and rescue to my precise GPS location.

As I departed civilization and flashed a grin and a yellow PLB, wife gave me an extra squeeze and a final admonition, “You be careful.”

Well, the old man got back in one piece. The fishing was as good as ever. The weather window held up. The sunsets were magnificent, and the resident loons kept up their haunting vocalizations all through the night. The food wasn’t bad, either.

Four days in the woods alone was a new experience, even for a seasoned outdoors veteran.

I expected some lonesome moments. But, in June, good trout ponds in Maine rarely escape visitations – even secret ones. As it turned out, a retired game warden, also camping solo, invited me for lunch and we visited on and off, sharing camp fires and stories from our old days at Maine Fish and Wildlife. A thoughtful guy, he willingly helped me with my canoe and heavier gear.

No matter how many years you visit a place like this, you do not take it for granted. Most remarkable is how little this particular place has changed in more than a half century. The fishing is almost as good as it was when I first fished it so long ago.

Although I am in no rush to pencil in my trout dates on next June’s calendar, I pray and plan that trip will once again be possible, and that my usual fishing buddies will be able to join me. If not, I will look back with a thankful heart and a pocketful of wonderful memories.


V. Paul Reynolds is editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal, an author, a Maine guide and host of a weekly radio program, “Maine Outdoors,” heard at 7 p.m. Sundays on The Voice of Maine News-Talk Network. Contact him at

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