The Saco River in this part of southern Maine passes through a series of hydroelectric dams on its way to the sea. My target today is a small stretch of river right below the West Buxton dam located in Buxton (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 2 A5). The reason for selecting this section of water is that it was stocked last week with brown trout and also has flowing water coming through the dam turbines. I’d love for my 13-year old nephew Christian to catch one of those fish. The access point is located off Route 112 (River Road) just below the green bridge that carries the road over the river. Keep in mind that only hand-carried craft can be launched from this point.
Grassy Pond is one of a dozen and a half gorgeous native brook trout ponds sprinkled around the southwestern corner of Baxter State Park (BSP) in northern Maine. It is found right off the Appalachian Trail (AT) about 1 mile south of the Katahdin Stream campground located on the Park Tote Road (see The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer map 50 D4). At first blush, this pond would not seem to qualify as a brook trout haunt! It’s name aptly describes the apparent conundrum: the pond is so shallow (< 4 ft) that thin aquatic vegetation (“grass”) emerges all over the water surface. If this water body were located anywhere else but in BSP, it would be dismissed out of hand as habitat suitable only for pickerel, yellow perch, or sunfish. But don’t be fooled by appearances because Grassy Pond supports a thriving population of native brookies. The secret lies in its source of water, which is supplied directly by Katahdin Stream. This ice-cold brook, which originates on the slopes of mighty Mount Katahdin, enters the north end of the pond and exits it to the southeast. The stream keeps the surface water in the pond cool and oxygenated, and the abundant vegetation and soft bottom serves as a hyper-active bug factory to feed all the hungry trout.