One delightful benefit of Maine Women Fly Fishers’ trips is getting to know new people. Nothing bonds folks like hours on the water struggling to acquire new skills and, hopefully, fish.

This past June I joined a group of women with an age span of 50 years at Weatherby’s Fishing and Hunting Lodge at Grand Lake Stream in Maine. We self-selected into groups depending on whether we wanted to try the famous salmon pools or a nearby (in Maine terms) river. It was pure chance that the two oldest women chose the same group. We became a perfect pair.

Our guide, Roland, took us below the dam, placing Maggie and me at each end of one pool, the two younger women in the deeper waters just outside. He set us up with different flies and different techniques as he got to know both our abilities and the salmon’s preferences.

After a time nymphing, I switched to a dry fly. On the first cast towards the bank a little salmon jumped over the line. At the upstream end of the pool Maggie could see the fish she was trying to entice with her underwater setup, and I could hear the occasional splash signaling success. Part way through the morning we changed positions, which also meant changing method. I resumed tossing and mending, trying to drift the tiny fly to a hungry fish. Maggie began casting a dry fly.

You can catch more than fish, and we did. Maggie tangled up in the tree at the edge of the pool. I set my hook firmly on a huge rock. Unable to free the line, I waited while Roland coaxed her fly from the branch. Unfortunately, I had set the hook so well that in the process of freeing it the line broke. We lost my entire setup.

We ignored the mist that turned to rain. Everyone in the group caught fish, some quite nicely sized, although none that made the bragging book of 20 or more inches. The time set for us to return for lunch came and went, but we were all reluctant to leave.

Our patient guide was never flustered. Maggie had a few more battles with the tree, and Roland was not always successful in extricating the flies. He was on the bank gathering Maggie’s fly when my own fly once again connected with the same rock as before. Seeing the bent rod, Roland called out “fish or rock?” “Rock,” I sheepishly admitted.

As he walked my rod upstream the snag suddenly gave way. This time the line had not broken, but it was obviously dragging something. Miraculously, I had hooked the rig I had lost in the morning! They say sometimes, you get what you give. Whether in fly fishing or friendship, it certainly seems apt.

Maine Women Fly Fishers is an outreach activity of the Sebago Chapter of Trout Unlimited for women who are passionate about fly fishing and/or just want to learn.

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