Book Reviews

John Holyoke

Nate Lindsay

Ken Allen

V. Paul Reynolds

Tracewski Fishes Through History
Nate Lindsay

If ever there was a fishing book about more than just catching fish, one from which both seasoned anglers and rookie piscators alike can glean not only some useful know-how, but a good dose of entertainment as well, it’s the newly released A Fisherman’s Guide to Maine by local author Kevin Tracewski.

A self-described “fisherman who does some writing, rather than a writer who does some fishing,” Tracewski works as an instructor of biology at the University of Maine and has lived in Old Town with his wife Cheryl for 20 years.

The idea for the book, Tracewski says, came from his interest in the history of all different areas in which he has fished throughout the state.

“I’ll be at a place, wondering, why this cribwork or stonewall is here, what is the history,” he explains. “I like the idea that people have been standing in the same spot that I am, catching fish for 100 years, and will be for another 100 years.”

With this in mind, Tracewski spent many days over the course of the last seven years in local libraries and traveling to visit various historical societies and museums to gather historical information with which to complement his discussion of his favorite fishing spots and techniques.

The book is organized by region, with a chapter devoted to each of Maine’s eight most notable tracts: Southern Maine, Down East, Penobscot River, Rangeley Lakes Region, Kennebec River, North Woods, Moosehead Lake Region, and Aroostook County.

Each chapter leads off with an overall history of the region, then describes the history of fishing in the area. The book contains dozens of historical photographs.

Within each chapter is also a regional map and an interview with a local angling expert from the area.

“I strived to make this much more than just a book about fishing,” Tracewski says.

Beyond, the book’s historical aspects, however, the author does also spend a great deal of time imparting his vast store of knowledge on where the best places are to catch fish, as well as how to catch them. As a press release from the book’s publisher says, “He tells what flies entice a landlocked salmon in West Grand Lake, and where on the Saco River to best enjoy a day fighting striped bass.”

He does stop short, however, of revealing all his secrets.

“It’s difficult to decide how much info to reveal in a widely distributed book like this, especially about small native trout ponds and fragile fisheries,” Tracewski says. “Newcomers will read this book with hopes of finding new honeyholes to explore. Veteran anglers will read it hoping that none of their favorite spots are are mentioned.”

Readers will not, however, encounter any difficulty in using A Fisherman’s Guide to Maine to plan new fishing expeditions.

“I’m kind of an idealist who came of age in the late 60’s and early 70’s. I love the outdoors and believe that we are stewards of the land,” the author explains. “I think it is important for every person to do their part to protect the wild places we still have in Maine so that future generations can enjoy the same places that we do.”

As a result, Tracewski has decided to donate half of the royalties from the book’s sale to a non- profit conservation fund that he has established called, Land for Future Maine Fisheries.  The book’s publisher, Down East Books, is also donating a percentage of their profits to this fund, which will be used “to purchase land and obtain easements in areas that surround critical fish habitats.”