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Discovering Rangeley Wild Trout and Landlocked Salmon – Fly Fishing Blog
By Tom Welch

Registered Maine Guide
(207) 229-7383

   The fish in the waters of the Rangeley, Maine, area are uniquely wild. In fact, Maine has the largest population of wild eastern brook trout in the United States, and the Rangeley area holds many of them in its waters.
     These wild fish are unique among fish in other areas because they exist entirely of their own, innate devices. They live and reproduce in the wild, just as they have for thousands of years, unaided by human intervention. They are not stocked, and in most cases they are not “transplanted” from one body of water to another.
     It should be noted that some fish management programs do involve moving certain species from one location to another. But these fish, which have their own genetic identity established over the course of their evolution, are carefully moved — if at all — only to locations where there are fish sharing the same genetic identity.
     Besides their unique genetic identities and natural beauty, wild native fish will display a strength in fighting that is noticeably different than that displayed by stocked fish. For anglers used to catching only stocked fish, hooking a healthy 10-inch wild brookie can feel and act like a much larger fish. These are all part of its allure.
     The fish in these photos are wild trout and salmon, caught at various locations in the Rangeley area. It is our goal to bring you to these fish, teach you the casting and fishing skills needed to present to, and catch them, with the knowledge and experience of a Registered Maine guide and an International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF)-certified fly casting instructor.
     Here’s what the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife says about Maine’s wild trout:

Maine’s Wild Brook Trout

Maine has the most extensive distribution and abundance of brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) throughout their native range in the United States (Figure 1); more than 1,000 lakes and ponds (over 760,000 surface acres) contain self-sustaining brook trout populations. In addition, brook trout occur in an estimated 22,248 miles of stream habitat, the vast majority of which are wild.
Maine’s wild brook trout waters are not evenly distributed throughout the state but are concentrated in the interior highlands, many of which are located in privately owned commercial forestlands (Figure 2). These areas are generally cooler with fewer competing, non-native fish species than the southern or coastal parts of the state. In addition, in these regions, habitat quality, quantity, and connectivity are higher than in any other area of the state.Maine’s native and wild brook trout lakes and ponds represent a unique, valuable and irreplaceable ecological and angling resource. Maine has retained several hundred lakes and ponds with healthy populations of native and wild brook trout. The MDIFW recognizes the unrivaled historic and economic importance of Maine’s brook trout resource and, furthermore, focuses on the conservation and protection of this uniquely valuable resource. The primary intent for managing wild brook trout in lakes and ponds is the protection and conservation of these self-sustaining fisheries, in so far as possible, without resorting to stocking brook trout.     – Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife