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Grant's Kennebago Camps
By Victor Morin, Jr.
Over one hundred and fifty years ago the native Americans in the region were known as the Kennebagos, which translates to "people of the land of sweet flowing waters." As late as 1855 they would come to fish the giant brookies and large salmon from these waters. They discovered that money could be made guiding the wealthy Bostonians and New Yorkers.
When these'city folk' wanted to experience the great outdoors it required a lot more effort. In those days, it was a nine-hour hike in and the accommodations were log huts with pine boughs for a mattress. By the late 1800s and early 1900s there was a 12 mile- long road for wagon use and was really a bone crusher. Later on by 1913 there was a train that went to the foot of the lake. Eventually the train service ended because of the Great Depression.
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Sometime later in the early 1940s, a gent named Ed Grant started Grant's Kennebago Camps. It's real easy to visualize what Ed's master plan must have been. He started a flyfishing-only resort in the wilderness. The lake is the largest flyfishing-only waters east of the Mississippi. Ed must have been quite a colorful character because he often told his guest that "he'd lived there so long that he remembered when Kennebago was just a small pond and West Mountain a little hill."
Another time, while guiding a sport, he said, "I know every underwater rock in the whole lake." And just after he said that, he thumped a large rock. Without missing a stroke with his oars he said, "Yup, that's one of the rocks right there."
Over the years some famous folks have fished the Kennebago like President Hoover, Flyrod Crosby, and Governor Baxter. Presently the camps have been owned and operated for fifteen years by John and Carolyn Blunt. They have done a great job sprucing up the 18 camps, dining hall and lodge by preserving the traditional sporting camp atmosphere. The meals are what I call "good ol' Maine home cookin' as they serve a hearty breakfast and on request you can get a bag lunch full of good snacks. On certain evenings during your stay you will have Maine lobster or prime rib. If you want a Rangeley Lake boat ready in the morning the dockhands will have it dried out and waiting for you to go fishing for the day.
John Blunt is an avid fly tyer and one fly that he makes is John's Hexagenia Wiggle Nymph which works great all summer. After talking to some of the other guests about which flys are the most productive the following seemed to pop up quite a bit: The Muddler Minnow, Grey Wulff, Black Leech, Grey Ghost and the Black Ant. It seems that the Maple Syrup fly hasn't arrived in western Maine yet. Maybe it's northern Maine's best kept secret?
For more info call 1-800-633-4815 or check out their website www.grantscamps.com. Also if you enjoy grouse hunting, ask Lionel Strong, the camp manager, about the awesome bird-hunting packages available this fall.
Vic Morin and his wife Susan are the founders of the Northwoods Sporting Journal. Vic is an avid bass angler.
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