Today you are hearing from Anna Harris, project leader at Maine Ecological Services Field Office
I grew up alongside the Connecticut River in New Hampshire, but it wasn’t until I spent a summer in Montana that I truly become a fisherwoman.
My shift at the dude ranch in Big Sky ended by 3pm, so every afternoon I was off exploring the range. The Lodge was Orvis Endorsed, meaning there were some of the best guides in the world spending their summers guiding clients in boats and on the banks of the Yellowstone, Madison and Gallatin. World class trout streams surrounded me. Since it takes years to become one of the top guides for Orvis, many junior guides were willing to take anyone out on the water, even willing to teach me how to fly fish.
My ethic became catch and release. My rod became a 9 foot 5 weight. My attire now included boots, waders, a vest and net. I brought my new fishing accessories back east as I returned to West Virginia to start my senior year at University.
West Virginia has incredible waters. The Bluestone River in south central WV, the North Fork of the South Branch of the Potomac, and Seneca creek were some of my favorite waters to explore.
Moving to Virginia meant finding new water. I started to fall in love with fishing for native brook trout. Small streams in the Shenandoah National Park became my passion. I’d spend weekends fishing Jeremy’s, Cedars and Big Run and camping in the park.
Moving closer to Washington D.C. meant finding new water and new fishing gear. Luckily D.C. has many organizations active in recruiting anglers to the area. Between Trout Unlimited and the Tidal Potomac River Fly Rodders, many fishermen and woman were willing to share their fishing spots with a new-to-the-area angler. I increased my rod to an 8 weight and changed the tackle to include Clouser Minnows and the “SpongeBob square pants” fly in order to catch small mouth bass and shad around the Capital.
I met my husband through fly fishing and together we explored trout streams in Maryland including our favorite limestone stream, Beaver Creek. We began to travel around the east coast together, learning new forms of fishing and finding new waters to wade in.
Together we moved west in 2014. Oregon is an anglers paradise. We had the opportunity to fish for steelhead, salmon and cutthroat trout. Unlike many of the states I’d fished in back east, we could fish any time of year, for many fish species. The waters of Oregon, with the diversity of fish species and river access, make it one of the most incredible places I’ve ever lived for fishing.
Now we are back east, closer to home, in Mid-Coast Maine. The bugs have been unbearable but the brook trout fishing has been phenomenal. Meeting and sharing stories with anglers along the St. George River has reinforced my sense of connection to the river and the state.
As I’ve moved around the country, I realize that no matter where I’m headed or where I’ve came from, there is always a place to fish. I continue to find my solace on the water, a connection to the community, and a fondness for casting a line into the water waiting for a tight tug, a hard hit or the rise of a fish after my fly.