On and Off the Trail in Acadia: Brook Trout Fishing in Acadia National Park

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A good friend of mine – and an incredible fly angler – once told me a story he called the evolution of the fly fisherman:

When someone first learns to fish using a fly rod (and the same probably holds true of a spinning rod as well) they’re hell bent on catching a fish, no matter what kind. Then they’re similarly focused on catching as many fish as humanly possible and before too long the largest fish, who’s size they of course will embellish over time. As the angler acquires skill, he or she then looks to catch the smartest fish, or, without judging the intellect of fishes, at least the more difficult fish to catch. But after these stages, the angler looks to catch the eternal fish, by which I mean that the act of fishing has become more important than the result and, more importantly, that the angler has become focused on the conservation of fish and the ability of future generations to engage with fishing.

I love that story. Especially when he tells it I’m transported immediately to the scene of Karate Kid where Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) instructs Danny (Ralph Macchio) on the proper techniques of waxing cars … “wax on, wax off.”

Well your grasshopper here isn’t sure where he sits in this particular evolutionary chain of being – likely somewhere between the big fish and the smart one, although I remain skeptical that there are such defined stages along the road toward Zen master angler.

Because I am a resident of the hamlet of Bar Harbor here on Mt. Desert Island, with a job that limits the amount of recreational time at my disposal, and because that time constraint limits me to fishing in the waters of Acadia National Park (poor, poor baby), the big fish just isn’t much of a possibility at all.

Sure, our lakes and ponds have some big, beautiful land-locked salmon and brook trout, but I’m of the persuasion or the perversion that streams are where my boots should be. I don’t much care for fishing on ponds unless they are frozen and there is beer and fire.

But my real passion is fishing in creeks with tiny, dry flies and stalking if not always catching native brook trout. These are what might you call smart fish, although I may have taken an errant turn on the evolutionary tree branch toward just very small fish.

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(Undisclosed location where brook trout can be found … with patience)

Though I’m hesitant to tell you about them all for fear you might spoil my tranquility, you should know that Acadia is crisscrossed with many such creeks that hold brook trout. There are about 46 watersheds on Mount Desert Island that feed these small streams as they make their way to Frenchman Bay in the east or Blue Bill Bay toward the West or the major ponds and lakes at the island’s center where most of you should focus your fishing.

But to those who are ready to brave the bugs and are comfortable with spending some time untangling line from the surrounding wilds that will without a doubt toy with your patience, consider these small streams. Consider Hunters Brook near Seal Harbor where the fish are especially plentiful in a last, large pool before the ocean. This is perhaps the one spot on the island where you can pretend to play Paul Maclean of River Runs Through It, with your epic false casts and all. Or consider Duck Brook right in Bar Harbor where there is one pool that I know holds a 10-inch trout. Be kind if you catch him – be sure you’re using a small hook (size 20 or smaller) where you’ve pinched the barb flat and, remember, this is a grandfather, monster fish where MDI inland fishing is concerned, don’t handle him with dry hands or keep him out of the water while you fumble with your iPhone to grab a picture. No one will be impressed, I promise.

Eventually, you will tire of these spots. I have. But I’ve developed a new approach to my fishing that will keep me interested for the foreseeable future. I’ve taken up the personal challenge of hunting these brook trout with the goal of catching said fish at the highest altitude, shooting for the pools furthest from where the stream hits the ocean, nearest the creek headwaters. Just yesterday I caught a fish about 20 yards downstream from the carriage road bridge on Jordan Stream – a new record for that stream. It was a mighty, three-inch brook trout who went after my caddis fly with the gusto of something very vicious or very hungry.

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(Beautiful brook trout in Hunters Brook)

Here’s the thing: this kind of fishing isn’t for everyone. For the true beginner, I’d suggest searching for more open spots where you can find rhythm and shape in your cast and have better chances at finding that first fish. I’ve you’re driven toward the large or the many, you will be frustrated on these streams. But if you like getting to places in Acadia where not too many people have been, if you’re intrigued by the idea of understanding fish behavior and like cataloguing that behavior, if you can appreciate beautiful colors and attributes in the small as well as the large, I’d highly suggest bringing your rod and taking a detour upstream. Hope to see you there or, better yet, know you are enjoying a similar kind of experience elsewhere on MDI.


Darron Collins is a 1992 graduate of College of the Atlantic (COA) and, in July 2011, became the seventh president of COA and the first alumnus to hold that position. Prior to coming back to COA, Collins had been managing international and domestic projects at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for a decade. After four years of work in the Amazon Basin, he was asked to lead the organization’s strategic planning process. Then, during the later half of his career at WWF, Darron served as managing director for the Amur-Heilong Ecoregion—an area the size of Alaska, encompassing parts of Russia, Mongolia, and China—and as senior advisor to the organization’s CEO.

A native of Morris Plains, New Jersey, Collins is an avid fly-fisherman, cyclist, hiker, and trail runner. In the summer of 2015 Collins climbed 40 named peaks on Mount Desert Island in one single 27-hour expedition and continues to design and execute endurance adventures annually. He lives in Bar Harbor, Maine with his wife, Karen, their two daughters Maggie and Molly, and their black Lab named Lucy.

 

It’s Smooth Sailing For Chimani Rocky Mountain National Park Brand Ambassador

Meet Chimani Rocky Mountain National Park Brand Ambassador Taylor Hartman:

Rocky Mountain National Park Ambassador Taylor Hartman
Rocky Mountain National Park Ambassador Taylor Hartman

In November, Chimani began working with Taylor Hartman, a Colorado transplant and Rocky Mountain National Park lover, as an ambassador for the Estes Park and national park region.

Taylor, who lives just 45 minutes from RMNP, spends much of her time hiking and spending time with her son in the park.

“I am a frequent visitor, usually 1-2 times per week, to Rocky Mountain National Park so I am very familiar with the area,” says Taylor.

Taylor Hartman with a Rocky Mountain National Park app by Chimani Download Card
Taylor Hartman with a Rocky Mountain National Park app by Chimani Download Card

When asked what draws her to the national parks, Taylor said “What draws me to the national parks is how we can enjoy the land in its untouched, natural state. I love visiting the national parks, especially Rocky Mountain because I am at complete peace when I am in the park. If I am stressed out about school or life, escaping to the park for the day puts everything at ease. I think it is so important that people get outside and visit their closest national park to learn more about the land and take in all of the vast beauty that nature has to offer.”

On how Taylor believes the Rocky Mountain National Park app by Chimani benefits park visitors, “Offering free travel guide apps helps the community and people coming from all around tremendously. Many will use the excuse of not knowing their way around the park as a reason to not visit. Having the free travel guide can show someone everything they want and need to know about the park. If someone is unsure about a hike the app will give them all the details, mileage, difficulty level, along with a map that outlines the complete hike. Free travel guide apps will bring more visitors into the park!”

Follow along with Taylor when she takes over Chimani’s Rocky Mountain National Park Instagram @RockyMountainNationalPark or on her personal page @tayhart24

Download the Free Rocky Mountain National Park app at https://www.chimani.com/#rockymountain.

Apple Features National Parks App By Chimani In Time For Mother’s Day

Are you scrambling to find something fun to do with Mom this weekend? Mother’s Day is this Sunday and Apple’s iPad App Store Team thinks that taking your mom to a national park is a pretty great idea; we tend to agree!

IMG_1684The National Parks app by Chimani is currently being featured in the iPad App Store under the “Spend Time With Mom” category. The pop-up category shares the App Store home screen with “More Great Gifts For Mom” and “Games To Play With Mom,” creating a one-stop digital shop for last minute Mother’s Day shoppers.

Many of us were introduced to national parks by our mothers and fathers, so it seems a natural fit for park enthusiasts to return to these places with them. The National Parks app by Chimani, along with Chimani’s suite of over 25 individual national park apps can help you plan your trip, and explore the park with mom, without the need for a cell connection. This means more time to make memories, and less time fumbling with maps or asking for directions.

The National Parks app by Chimani is available for free in the Apple App Store , as well as the Google Play Store, and Amazon Appstore. Chimani’s suite of national park apps currently include over 25 individual apps, with all 59 national park apps available on June 1st.

Photo: Dave Sizer/CC by 2.0
Photo: Dave Sizer/CC by 2.0

Happy Mother’s Day! Do you have a favorite memory of visiting a national park with your mom? Share your photos and stories with Chimani on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Planning Ahead For National Park Week

Photo: NPS

As National Park Week approaches, April 16 to 24, 2016, the National Park Service is gearing up for the unofficial kickoff to its Centennial celebration. What’s hailed as America’s largest celebration of national heritage, National Park Week is all about connecting with your community, discovering and exploring America’s amazing outdoor places, and enjoying time with your friends and family in our national parks.

With less than a month until National Park Week, now is the time to start planning your trip to our national parks. Here are some of the events that coincide with the weeklong celebration, courtesy of the National Park Service:

  • April 16–24: Visit for free!
    Throughout National Park Week in 2016, every national park will give you free admission!
  • April 16: National Junior Ranger Day
    Explore, Learn, Protect! Kids can take part in fun programs and earn a junior ranger badge or become a Centennial Junior Ranger.
  • April 22: Earth Day
    On Earth Day, if you want to roll up your sleeves and pitch in with a project, look for a park where you can help out.
  • April 23: National Park Instameet
    Join an InstaMeet in a park. Gather in a designated place at a specific time to take photos and short videos to post on Instagram (and other social media) with the same hashtag: #FindYourParkInstaMeet, #FindYourPark, #NPS100
  • April 24: Park Rx Day
    Parks will host fun recreational activities that encourage healthy lifestyles and promote physical and mental well being.

When planning your trip, don’t forget to download your favorite national park apps by Chimani on the App Store, Google Play, or Amazon Appstore.

To learn more about how you can support the national parks, visit www.nationalparkweek.org.

 

Chimani Hot Springs: ‘Take the Waters’ With Our Newest National Park App

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Bathhouse Row, Hot Springs, Ark.

In the days before every hotel had a spa, people would travel from all over the world to “take the waters” at the natural mineral springs in Hot Springs, Ark., heated miles below the surface and bubbling to earth through rock fissures. Native Americans were the first to discover the healing powers of the hot springs, and the area’s popularity led to it receiving federal protection as a park (the Hot Springs Reservation) in 1832, making it the oldest park managed by the U.S. National Park Service. Continue reading “Chimani Hot Springs: ‘Take the Waters’ With Our Newest National Park App”

‘Surf’ Through the Waterpocket Fold with the New Chimani Capitol Reef App

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Capitol Reef National Park (Photo: Greater Southwest Exploration Company/CC by 2.0)

Capitol Reef National Park has a name that confuses a lot of people: it’s not the capital of anything, and there’s not a coral reef in sight. In fact, this is a desert park shaped largely by tectonic forces, although weather and man have had a hand in creating Capitol Reef’s unique landscape, as well.

Download the new Chimani Capitol Reef app (free for iOS and Android devices) and you’ll learn how pressure caused a 100-mile-long uplift of ancient sedimentary rock in central Utah, creating a formation known as the Waterpocket Fold. Continue reading “‘Surf’ Through the Waterpocket Fold with the New Chimani Capitol Reef App”