Each summer a number of our friends go fishing in Downeast Maine at Leen's Lodge. Leen's is a half century old fishing camp located on West Grand Lake, which is one of the most beautiful natural lakes in the United States. Our friends in the Grand Lake Stream community raised millions of dollars to protect the area around the lake and created the Downeast Lakes Land Trust to manage this responsibility for the benefit of the community.
West Grand Lake from Leen's (2018)
The "Camp Kotok" fishing trip in August was created by David Kotok, Chairman & Chief Investment Officer of Cumberland Advisors in Sarasota, FL. More recently, two fully social but distanced trips in August have been sponsored by the Global Interdependence Center in Philadelphia. The Labor Day trip is somewhat less structured and harkens back to the early days of Camp Kotok, held at a small hotel in downtown Grand Lake Stream. The June trip is transitory and depends upon the elasticity of demand for pre-Father's Day fishing, which usually is quite spectacular.
David Kotok arrives on Katahdin Air
As befits the generous character of trip founder Kotok, these excursions are about enjoying the natural beauty of Maine, catching fish and good conversation. The water in West Grand Lake is never more perfect than on Labor Day Weekend and the fishing in the many lakes and streams in the area is always excellent. By the end of August, the bugs are gone but the fish are still biting, making for a perfect way to end the summer.
Lunch at Ray's Camp (2018)
Most important, the hospitality of the people of Maine, from Portland in the south to the northeastern region known as Acadia that lies between Bangor and the St. Croix River, is always welcoming. Henry David Thoreau wrote in "Walden, or Life in the Woods" about this scenic area of rivers and small hills:
“We need the tonic of wildness...At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”
The inhabitants of the rural region that includes Washington County primarily make their livelihoods outdoors via forestry, tourism and sporting activities such as camping, fishing, hiking and hunting. The season from May through October provides much of the economic activity for the community during the entire year in Downeast Maine. The trips we take each year to Leen's helps to support the community and a traditional way of life unknown to many Americans.
The Maine Guides focus first and foremost in our safety, but also give us a priceless gift by making this stunning part of the American wilderness accessible to all. Guides transport the "sports" to and from the fishing ground, handle lunch and get you home safe and sound. Veteran Maine Guides such as Ray Sockabasin, Steve Schaefer, Dale Toby, Randy Spencer and many others have taken care of us for three decades of fishing and enjoyment.
Steve Schaefer & Nicole Boutmy
Ray and the other members of the The Passamaquoddy Tribe live in a nation that extends on both sides of the border between Maine and New Brunswick, Canada. The native word for this area is "Dawnland" since it is the easternmost point in the region.
One of our favorite trips is to float down Toma Stream in the nation and lunch at Ray's camp looking west over the water towards Princeton. The Passamaquoddy have welcomed us into their homes and their lives for many years. Click on the photo below if you want to contribute to rebuilding Ray's Camp on Toma Stream along the border with Canada. Better yet, come fishing.
This year the two August trips sponsored by the GIC are sold out, but we have a few spots left on the Labor Day trip. This time of year, the gating issue on the size of the group is guides. By September many of our friends have already switched to hunting birds, moose and bear. The dates are September 1-6, 2022. If you'd like more details, please contact us or Scott Weeks at Leen's firstname.lastname@example.org Some photos follow below.
Kotok at Breakfast (2018)
Guide Potato Chips
Megan Greene, David Kotok & Michael McKee (2018)
John Silvia & Dale Tobey (June 2015)
Randy Spencer, Mitchell and Aisha Kotok (2018)
Nolan Turner (June 2015)
Three Generations of Flansbaums
Kotok & Whalen (June 2019)
Maine Guides from left: Les Williams, Bob Gagner,
Dave Irving, Mike Hegarty, Jerry Richardson, Gary Santerre
Long Lake (2021)
Michael Lau & Steve Schaefer (June 2018)
Kotok with Pickerel (June 2018)