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Subscriber John T. Bottomley has weighed in with a very positive report on Libby Camps in Maine ( after his third visit to this venerable spot this past June. He says he drove most of the way there from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to Millinocket, Maine, where he caught the Katadhin Air float plane for the flight into camp. He says this trip was his first to Libby Camps in search of spring brook trout. On his other trips, he has combined fall fishing with hunting for grouse and woodcock.

He says he fished from canoes and johnboats and also waded in local streams for a total of three-and-a-half days, catching about 50 fish a day, most of them on the small side (eight to 12
inches), though he did catch one two pounder and watched another angler land a three-and-a-half pounder. He caught his fish on a 5-wt. Winston,which he alternately rigged with a sinktip
line and full-sink line. The flies that worked included a dark-bodied caddis, a black foam ant, mayflies, and the infamous Maine Lake “doodle bug.”

“What can you say about a place that’s been run by five generations of the same family?” Bottomley writes. “Hospitality abounds, the food is fabulous, the guides know the water and work hard to make sure you enjoy yourself. That’s on top of the adventure of flying past Mount Katahdin, the highest peak in Maine at 5,280 feet and landing in the warm embrace of Millinocket
Lake after gliding in over a moose or two. Owners Matt and Ellen are beginning to pass the reins over to Matt Jr. and his wife, Jess, but everyone who works at this camp makes it very special and don’t think for a second that you can keep up with Matt Sr. in the Maine woods!

“I was a single fisherman on this trip and my log cabin on a bluff that looks out over the lake was the best place in the world to watch a sunset while sipping a wee bit of scotch or enjoying a martini. You can fly out to ponds or streams where Libby Camps has stashed Old Town canoes, and that reminds me to mention that they have ten camps where you can create your own vacation away from the main lodge. If you do that, just be aware that you will miss Ellen’s cooking, which is plentiful and delicious.

“The chance to see moose is a big highlight here. Indeed, you will see them standing peacefully as you fly out to a pond or stream or eating in the lake with you as you glide past in your canoe. They are magnificent, as are the otters, whitetail deer, osprey, eagles, grouse, and black bear. The moose, bear, and deer can be hunted, by the way, in season. Another highlight is flying out with Matt Sr. or Matt Jr., both of whom are superb pilots. It’s an adventure you have to experience to appreciate. Think fall and foliage. You fly at 3,500 feet or less and there is no more beautiful way to appreciate fall in New England.

“Fishing there is an adventure, too. If conditions are right, 20- to 50-fish days are not uncommon, but, yes, it’s fly fishing, and when ponds turn off you have to think sinking lines and you will work hard. Also, if you go in the spring, you will at some point be introduced to Maine’s mean-spirited
blackflies. Be prepared with a head net, a backwoods cigar, fly dope, and any other home remedy you can come up with. If the wind dies down and there is a bit of humidity in the air, they can be truly vicious. Of course, blackflies are part of the Maine sporting experience. Once you’ve held a 15- to 16-inch bright-colored Maine brook trout in your hands and released him back into his beautiful waters, all thoughts of blackflies disappear. Just for a moment, a fish like that will take you back to the 1950s and make you realize you’ve just experienced what the sporting life is all about. Go to Libby Camps once and you will most likely come back for more.

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