Monday, September 1, 2014

Paddling the Brownfield Bog

Every time that Marian & I head for our two week vacation to the Greely Cabin in Center Conway, New Hampshire we coordinate a special trip somewhere in the area. My choice for this trip was a float trip on the Androscoggin River by Errol, New Hampshire. If figured that this would be a great journey for a kayaking fly fishing for brook trout, rainbows, browns, landlocked salmon, and what other fish live in the Androscoggin. Marian and her friend, Terri Shed had another idea. This idea was to check out the Brownfield Bog just over the border near Brownfield, Maine.  When the vote was taken I lost my choice. Uff da it was a no brainer.

So I had a few days to try to research the Brownfield Bog. For a while I had issues searching the internet for the Brownfield Bog. The Google searches came up with the Major Gregory Sanborn Wildlife Management Area (WMA). This area is a great paddling and birding area. I could not find much information about what type of fish species live in the bog. Looking at the map it almost looked like the Saco River somehow influences the water to the bog. The Saco River has smallmouth bass, brook trout, rainbows, & browns. I wrote off the trout species and figured that the smallmouth bass, maybe largemouth bass and pickerel might live the waters that make up the bog. So I decided that I would bring the rod & reel that I have been using to catch the smallmouth on Conway Lake. I’m hoping for some deep channels in the depth of 3 – 5 feet.
When we arrived to the bog there were several launch points available. Since Terri had explored this area about a year ago we decided to travel the rocky road to the end. When we arrived we walked over to check out the low bush cranberries. Uff da!! They were huge! They had to be at least 3/8 inches in diameter. The berries were still a little green. I’m sure by the middle or end of October Terri will be our here picking cranberries for her Thanksgiving dinner.
The place that we launched from was a little muddy but we managed to get off a good glide into the open water. The water level of the bog was shallower then I thought. There was a good lily pad cover with some open water. I did observe some small largemouth bass about 2 – 3 inches in length. While I searched for some deeper water and a possible feeder creek from the Saco River I kept hitting a dead end. The bog was turning to be more like a maze. The only problem is that I’m guessing that some of the floating land sections keep changing the layout of the maze making it very difficult to locate a path to the Saco River.
I did have an issue with the fishing setup that I brought along on this journey. The lure was a jointed Rapala Shad Rap that would live to 2 – 3 feet. The better setup would have been a top water lure that is weedless. I would suggest that a frog type of lure or maybe a paddletail with a worm hook with no weight. But I did not bring a tackle box on this trip. Uff da!!
So my technique to use the Rapala is to slightly jerk the lure to just go under the water and float back up. I did not get hung up into the weeds; I felt that the technique was working.  Unfortunately if there were any fish in the area they did not like the lure presentation.
The end result of this journey was a great time paddling, having a picnic, watching the wildlife and admiring the great Maine scenery. We did not get lost through the maze of the waterways and returned to a landing area that had a sandier shoreline compared to the area that we had launched from. Unfortunately Marian had an uff da moment. While exiting the sit inside kayak (an Old Town Loon) she put on leg outside the kayak and kept the other leg in the Loon. As the Loon slowly drifted away from Marian, she started to lose her balance. In a short amount of time Marian was in the water and the Loon was upside down.
The fortunate thing for Marian is that she did not lose any of her equipment but maybe a little pride. Terri and Marian tried to turn over the Loon but the old sit inside was full of bog water. They managed to get the Loon empty of the bog water. It was time to load up the kayaks and gear then head back to the Greely Cabin in Center Conway, New Hampshire.
If you ever get the chance I would highly recommend a paddle in the Brownfield Bog. While I did not have any success in fishing, I would still suggest to take a rod along equipped with a weedless top water lure. You just might find a nice bass in those waters.

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