Last week the Maine Guide Fly Shop took part in the annual Project Healing Waters outing! Project Healing Waters is a nationwide program, paired with Trout Unlimited, that provides fly fishing instruction for disabled veterans. This is a wonderful program that allows patients of Togus Veterans Hospital to spend a couple of days with us on the river. This year’s trip we decided to spend our days on the West Branch of the Penobscot. The vets were greeted to the area by a home cooked meal provided by the Kokadjo Trading Post.
Day one for the vets began at Auntie M’s in Greenville with an early morning breakfast, then it was off to the Golden Road for the ride to the Big Eddy campground. The weather was perfect, and the fishing was tough in the morning. A few fish were caught nymphing and on soft hackle flies but the dry fly was not the fishes favorite. The morning ended with a BBQ right at Big Eddy campground and then we were off and ready to catch fish! Fishing really picked up in the afternoon when fish began to look to the surface. We finished the day just above Big Ambejackmacamus Falls and headed back to Greenville. Day 1 ended for the vets with a wonderful dinner hosted by the Rod and Reel Cafe in Greenville.
For day 2 we decided to run the Horserace section of the West Branch, a beautiful section of river that flows into the Neswaudnahunk Deadwater. The day began with a delicious breakfast hosted by Kelly’s Landing in Greenville, then we were off for the dusty drive to the river. Our patience from the day before was rewarded because day 2 was just an excellent day of fishing. Action was very good right in the morning and just got better and better as the day went on. Dry flies were the name of the game. Stimulators and tarantulas with smaller caddis droppers were extremely effective, nymphing, and even streamers were catching fish. Day 2 ended with a traditional cookout put on by the American Legion at Moosetracks Cabins on Prong Pond.
All in all, what a wonderful experience this years outing turned out to be. We had 4 vets that have never touched a fly rod, and caught fish! It was very nice to see familiar faces too that clearly look forward to spending time on the water with us, it is quite a honor. Many thanks go out to the local businesses of the Greenville area as well as the assistance of the Moosehead Chamber of Commerce for making this such a pleasure to participate in each year!