Guide Dan Legere (left) of the Maine Guide Fly Shop points down the East Outlet of the Kennebec River as Brandon Prescott looks on during a drift boat trip on Sunday, June 18, 2017. Credit: John Holyoke

For the 17th straight year, I’m happy to share with you, our BDN readers, these magic words: Our “Win a Drift Boat Contest” is open. Feel free to start entering to win a prize you’ll never forget.

Begun in 2003 as a promotion by our marketing folks to help introduce the BDN’s new outdoors columnist (me) to the public, this contest was unveiled at an outdoors expo and was an instant hit.

The reasons for the promotion’s popularity were pretty easy to track after talking with entrants. First, the winner of the trip gets to spend a full day fishing on the East Outlet of the Kennebec (or, in odd cases, the West Branch of the Penobscot) with legendary Maine guide Dan Legere.

And using the word “legendary” isn’t hyperbole. Legere won the Wiggie Robinson Legendary Maine Guide Award back in 2015. So it’s official.

Another reason so many people enter the contest: It’s not a raffle. We’re not selling you anything. Entry into the drawing is free. Yes. Free.

The winner of this year’s trip will join Legere, who is also the proprietor of the Maine Guide Fly Shop, and me for a glorious day on the water. The trip will take place in the middle of prime fly fishing, Sunday, June 16. A tasty shore lunch will also be served.

Simply put, if you win, you’ll have the best day of free, guided fishing you’ll have in your life.

How do I know? Well, did I mention that we’ve been doing this promotion for more than a few years? Or that I’ve been tucked into the back seat of Legere’s drift boat for every one of those trips, keeping notes, watching and learning? Well, we have. And I have. And ever since 2003, I’ve watched as our winners finish up the trip grinning from ear to ear, and eager to head back onto the water again to try out their new skills.

That’s the cool thing about this trip: It’s not just an adventure. It’s like a graduate-level (or, if needed, an introductory-level) course on fly fishing. Legere is one of the best teachers I’ve ever seen, and I’ve watched him turn rank amateurs and those who have never even held a fly rod in their hands into avid fly fishers over the course of a single day.

Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

It is. And here’s how you can throw your name into the hopper to get a chance at this great day of fishing: You can once again enter online by clicking this link. In addition, you can look in the print editions for the entry blank, which will be running periodically for the next couple of weeks and mail that to us. Or (my favorite) you can come to the BDN booth at this weekend’s Cabin Fever Reliever outdoor show in Brewer or at the Eastern Maine Sportsmen’s Show March 15-17 in Orono, chat with us and fill in an entry blank while you do.

The contest has proven to be very popular, and I speak with dozens of prospective anglers each year who share their hope that, someday, they’ll win the prize. And I’m proud to say I’ve refused to accept all of their good-natured attempts at bribery.

Last year, we received entries from California in the west to Eastport in the east. In all, we had entrants from 16 states and 184 different Maine towns.

Mike Horvers was the first winner of the BDN’s “Win a Drift Boat Trip” contest back in 2003. Others followed: Jason McCubbin in 2004, Doug Saunders in 2005, Tom Nichols in 2006, James Rolph in 2007, Dick Fortier in 2008, Tiffany Shepard in 2010, Don Factor in 2011, Jasper Walsh in 2012, John Craig in 2013, Byron Hale in 2014, Harvey Siebert in 2015, John St. Onge in 2016, Brandon Prescott in 2017 and Michael McCarthy in 2019. In 2009, the prize was not given, as the winner could not find a date that fit into their schedule.

So get busy. Enter the contest. Come by the shows and chat.

And start dreaming about heading out for the best day of fishing you’ve ever had, come June 16.

John Holyoke can be reached at or 207-990-8214. Follow me on Twitter: @JohnHolyoke.

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John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. He spent 28 years working for the BDN, including 19 years as the paper's outdoors columnist or outdoors editor. While...