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I first learned how to fly fish about seven years ago. I had recently started a position at Chewonki’s Big Eddy Campground on the West Branch of the Penobscot River. And, well, if I was going to be working on a renowned stretch of river known for world-class fishing, I better learn how to cast a fly rod.
The salmon fishery in Maine is very unique. You can fish the West Branch for landlocked salmon and know that the salmon that came to your caddis fly has spent its entire life in those waters. You go south to fish the Kennebec, and know that the salmon on the end of your line was born in that river, traveled to the Atlantic Ocean, and has come back to spawn to repeat the cycle.
There is one tragic event taking place, though. Due to the four dams between Waterville and Skowhegan, the Atlantic salmon and other sea-run fish are blocked from returning to their homewaters to spawn and do their part to preserve the life cycle and fishery.
In the past 20 years ago, the Edwards Dam and the Fort Halifax Dam were removed, resulting in fish restoration, and equated to a way of reconnecting a habitat. I believe it also showed people what is possible. We can fight to have these four dams removed, and experience the same outcome that those tireless Mainers fought for two decades ago.