AMC’s wilderness lodges offer great fishing and hunting

I visited Little Lyford Camps this week to catch native brook trout. But I need to go back to shoot grouse.

John Boland, who retired this year as the Director of DIF&W’s Fisheries and Wildlife Divisions, joined me this week for an angling adventure at AMC’s Little Lyford Camps in the middle of AMC’s 66,000 acre wilderness east of Greenville. The small trout ponds that are spread all over AMC’s property are real treasures and well managed.

AMC has canoes stashed on all of them, and John and I picked out a pond at the foot of a mountain, hiked in, and enjoyed a memorable day of non-stop catching. Many of the trout bore their gorgeous fall spawning colors. Most were caught on or just under the surface, on floating line.

You might think that the camps of the Appalachian Mountain Club would be full of hikers, but this week, nearly everyone at Little Lyford was there to fish. Some had been fishing here for many years – although I didn’t run into anyone who’d visited here the first year the camps were built: 1874. Understandable, really.

I especially enjoyed meeting and visiting with Joe Cross, whose father Ruel was one of my all-time favorite legislators – back in the good old days when serving in and lobbying at the legislature was fun.

Every angler at the camps was eager to give us tips on where and how to fish, as was AMC’s professional staff, and we appreciated that. John started his fisheries career in this region, so it was fun to hear his stories about some of these waters.

Our cabin was rustic and comfortable, with an indoor faucet and wood stove, and an outhouse a short distance away. The camps also have a nice bathhouse and a very nice lodge where they serve exceptional meals. AMC members can get a bed in the bunkhouse and three meals a day for just $66 a day, while that price is still a bargain at $83 for nonmembers. The 9 cabins are available, also with three meals a day, for $102/day for AMC members and $123/day for nonmembers.

When AMC acquired the camps, I sharply criticized the group for eliminating opportunities to hunt. In fact, Pat Keliher, now Maine’s Marine Resources Commissioner, was the first to alert me to this fact. Pat and some friends had planned to do some bird hunting out of Little Lyford Camps, but were informed that they could not bring their dogs. They canceled their trip.

This year, AMC reversed course and welcomed dogs to Little Lyford throughout the season. This will be a fantastic place to hunt grouse and woodcock, away from the road hunters that dominate the sport in northern Maine. There are lots of side roads and trails where grouse hunters can enjoy this sport with their friends and dogs.

I’ve gotta go back!

If You Go

http://www.outdoors.org/lodging/mainelodges/lyford/index.cfm

Reservations: 603-466-2727 or online

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. George also hosts, with Harry Vanderweide, a TV talk show called Wildfire, now in its 13th year and focused on hunting, fishing, environmental, and conservation issues. The show is owned and produced by Maine Audubon and seen on its website as well as on the Time Warner cable TV station throughout the state.