In my role as Executive Director of the Maine Professional Guides Association I give the collective opinion of our membership frequently. Usually, it does include a story sometimes even one from this blog. But this time I am going the other way because I think that the story and comments are worth repeating here. Here are my comments on the suggested striper management changes for the east coast.
My name is Don Kleiner, I live in Union and am the Executive Director of the Maine Professional Guides Association. The association represents roughly 1000 licensed guides throughout the state. Collectively our members offer almost any sort of guided outdoor experience you can imagine. We are proud of our quality outdoor experiences and our role in helping the states conservation efforts become an economic benefit for the primarily rural communities where we live.
My first memories of striper fishing are of spending nights after finishing my homework fishing under a bridge. A young boy of maybe 12. I was given a kerosene lantern to use for light and a little warmth. That lantern has a place of honor on the hearth in the living room today the enamel long since rusted off. My parents drove me to the bridge crossing and allowed me to endure the cold west wind for a couple of hours after supper trying for a striper. I also remember spending whole days there during spring school vacation.
My next memory is of catching stripers in nets for sale. I would have been in college at the time working as a clamdigger to pay my way through college. In fact, we netted two of the largest stripers I have ever seen in those years. The roe from one of them we took home and ate, it was larger than many of the fish my clients catch today.
After coming to Maine, I first guided for stripers in the Sheepscot River out of Wiscasset in the late 1980s and early 90s. At the time I believed that there were no stripers further to the east. Eventually I tried my home river and discovered 2 things; first that there are stripers and second that there were very few other anglers.
At any rate things have been a little less busy this winter and most of my meetings are online. Looking forward to picking up the new Lund Alaskan on Tuesday and hopefully being able to get it on the water soon.
I hope that you are safe and warm with the clear sense that spring is coming. I’m looking forward to spending time outdoors with each of you this summer.