For a few years in a row now I have been making my way up to Maine in the Spring and Fall for some much needed relaxation. And what is more relaxing than catching big fish? For me nothing. Every year I go up I swear it just gets better and better. Not that the fish or fishing change. But I get more dialed in and almost start to feel at home somewhat. This Spring was no different. I had a drift trip already lined up with boz. And the best source of information on my speed dial. As with previous trips the first thing I do when I get there is give Jeremy a call. I ask him where I want to be, and where I don’t. So J-Bone hooks me up with some more good info. What waters to fish. What to fish with. And what pools. It is almost unfair to the fish because I know exactly what to do to catch them without having to do the leg work to figure out what they want. So myself and my wife head out. It is Memorial Day morning. So as expected we don’t have the river to ourselves. But the spot Jeremy mentioned is wide open. We rig up and start fishing. I left my wife in that spot to fish it and went upstream a bit. And soon after the first fish came to hand. A nice little Landlocked salmon. I took a few more casts and started heading back down toward the wife. As I got closer I noticed a nice bend in her fly rod. She had a good fish on. And I left her there without a net. She wasn’t to happy about that either. lol Opps. But landing the biggest Brookie she has caught made her forget about that quickly. A 16″ 3# breeder the state had recently stocked. She had all the luck that day and caught another smaller brookie. As the crowd thickened we decided to call it a day. Got back and called boz for the latest on the flows of the river we were drifting that coming Wednesday. He said the flows were looking good and we should be golden. Tuesday we headed up early. We arrived at the Baxter State park region just a little before 3PM and met up with boz right where we were staying. So after a quick checkin we hitched a ride with boz and he took us in to Baxter to fish some of the small brookie ponds that dot the landscape just below Mt. Katadhin. I can’t even begin to explain how beautiful this portion of Maine is. It is really something you have to experience. There is so much water it is almost impossible to not find a spot that produces nice fish. So we checked the first pond. Not a person on it. But we decided to check the next pond up. It looked pretty good and the ranger there told us it had been fishing pretty good. So we were off in the parks rental canoes and on fish in no time. No monsters. But nice little pond raised brookies that were more than happy to take the damsel/dragon immitation that was tied to the end of my line. The scene was perfect though. Loons calling and motoring along with Katadhin in the background. Almost like it was out of a story. We called it a night after a few hours and rowed back. A baby moose waded out into the pond to check us out. When we got closer he took off and we noticed mama wasn’t far behind. As boz likes to call them there is no shortage of swamp donkeys in the area. The next day we got some nice pics of a bull moose on the way to our drift with boz. The girl at the Inn told us it was supposed to be the nicest day of the week. And it sure looked like it was starting to shape up that way. We met up with boz and went over the game plan. The water had dropped considerably. Boz said it was at summer levels. So we had that going for us. So it seemed. We started our drift and fished some great looking water. The fish had moved a bit due to the water levels. First fish was a nice little brookie. The wife broke the ice and hooked into the first salmon of the day. And at that point the weather decided to take a sharp turn. The rain started up slowly. Not enough to concern us much. We hooked into a few smaller salmon and spent a hour watching some risers roll on the surface. We never did figure out what they were taking though. At lunch we pulled out and headed to boz’s camp site. He is definitely setup well and can cook up a mean wood grilled steak. And he even has a nice brookie stream back behind his camp. I can definitely see why he spends his summer there. After lunch boz was determined to find where the big boys were. We pulled into the camp and boz was told the boat that fished this spot in the morning did well. Landed a few big fish and stayed there for most of the morning. So we headed out. I had a fish on a short drift down this massive eddy. Unfortunately I couldn’t seal the deal and he was off again. A short way down the wife hooked up and was broke off by a real nice salmon. Maines Landlocked salmon real don’t play around. Especially the bigger fish. They are in the air often and any slack you give them will definitely end with a spit hook. And at times the slack you don’t give them they will bite right through.As we rowed back up the opposite side I had finally got a good hookset on one of the bigger fish. My first big Landlocked. What a great experience. Up until that point I had yet to land one that was over the 16″ mark. I always gain a bit of confidence that I keep after I break a mark like that. Kind of stupid. But it is more like achieving a goal that I have set and just feeling like that goal is more easily achieved after the first time has successfully passed. That ended up being a good thing as my second big Landlock wasn’t to far behind. Boz is really dialed into this river and deserves most of the credit actually. The sink tip line with the smelt pattern that was so simple yet so effective was key. I could tell the second big fish I hooked into was a nice one immediately. Nicer than the fish before. Mainly because he took all the slack line and ripped downing stream wrapping it around my wrist in a second flat. Luckily I freed it up quickly and let him run. He was desperately trying to run downstream to the point of no return in the rapids. Boz coached me through the fight and next thing I know I have a beautiful Landlocked Salmon that boz quickly netted up. Right before we were ready to call it a day. And what a day it was. Nothing like ending a great day of fishing on a high note. Trust me I have ended quite a few wet and fishless. Those learning days are what make a good day worth all of the frustration. The West Branch was all I had heard that it was and more. I could tell my wife was a bit disappointed her big salmon broke her off. I knew exactly how she felt. The fall before every big Landlocked that I hooked up with ended up breaking off or spitting the hook. That is all part of the fly fishing game though. And part that makes us that much better the next time we are back. This fall I know it will be her turn to land a big Landlock Salmon. And when those goals are achieved they are always the ones we look back on with the most fondness. Boz was a great host and guide. And we wish we could have spent another day with him. We will definitely be fishing with boz again later this season. We drove back down to the shore and I returned to fish the stream Jeremy mentioned. It was the day before we had to leave. I went up to a different hot spot. There were definitely big brookies. And I figured out what they were feeding on. Emergers and nothing but. Unfortunately they got the best of me and I wasn’t able to bring any of those fish to hand. Oh well at least I had figured out and tricked them enough to take the fly. That felt better than my typical day of watching rising fish sip everything with the exception of what is on the end of my line.I went back downstream to the stocked fish and quickly landed a 14″ 2# breeder. A little further down I worked a small section of pocket water with a damsel nymph. On five casts I landed 5 beautiful little brookies. That capped off what was another awesome trip to Maine. The best part about Maine is you can live there a lifetime and never fish all the great waters the state has to offer. Luckily I have found some great friends there that always point me in the right direction. I’ll be looking forward to meeting up with them and all the great fish in Maine again this fall.