March 19, 2019  
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Maine Atlantic Salmon Museum Vintage Photo Exhibit
Maine Atlantic Salmon Museum Vintage Photo Exhibit
The Maine Atlantic Salmon Museum and the Friends of Craig Brook are now showing a photo exhibit depicting the connections between salmon and the people of Maine at Downeast Salmon Federation in East Machias. The exhibit features historic photos (1914-1950) of Maine rivers, salmon angling, and salmon anglers including a rare set of photos of women anglers.

These photos represent how salmon angling developed first with the use of greenheart and cane rods built by local craftsmen like Fred E. Thomas, Ed Payne, and Hiram Leonard. Anglers are seen harling, an angling technique in which an angler extended a line and fly on a dangle while an oarsman maneuvered a boat in such a way as to sweep a lure (fly) in the likely path of a bright salmon. In the early 20th century, sport fishing for salmon typically occurred from rowing canoes, called peapods, many of which were built by Karl Anderson of Brewer, Maine.

As the photos demonstrate, harling was a very effective technique, particularly on the Penobscot. Photos in the exhibit from the mid-1920’s and earlier depict hefty salmon caught in this way. Later in the century, anglers more commonly fished from the shoreline. The exhibit includes photos of three successful women anglers: Mina Phinney, Beatrice Wilder, and Jean Sears all with salmon caught on the Dennys River.

In uncovering historic photos of salmon angling, the people who participated and the materials they used were documented. The peapods, rods, reels, and other materials they used speak of the times and skill of local craftsmen, and also delineate the development of angling for salmon.

The Maine Atlantic Salmon Museum and the Friends of Craig Brook are dedicated to recording and preserving the rich history and traditions of Atlantic salmon angling in Maine, and to promoting the conservation of Maine salmon rivers. DSF is pleased to host an exhibit in support of this effort.

The exhibit is sponsored with a generous grant from the Maine Council-Atlantic Salmon Federation, and will be on display at Downeast Salmon Federation in East Machias until September. Our thanks to Ed Baum, Tom Hennessey, and Bill Robinson for permission to use photos digitally restored by Claude Westfall.

While you are viewing the history of Atlantic salmon in Maine you can also take a look at its future! The salmon parr in our Peter Gray Conservation Hatchery--scheduled to be released into the East Machias River this autumn--are growing well. Our Hatchery Managers Zach and Rachel can arrange for a tour of the Peter Gray Hatchery while you're there and explain the proven Atlantic salmon restoration techniques we are using to prevent the extinction of wild Atlantic salmon from Maine’s Downeast rivers. While you absorb Maine’s past association with salmon and take a peek into its future, the present needs your help. Please go to now and donate to ensure this program’s continued success. Your gifts will be matched dollar for dollar by a longtime supporter of the project!

To schedule a viewing of the exhibit, please contact DSF Membership & Development Coordinator, Heather Andrews,

Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2018 (Archive on Tuesday, August 28, 2018)
Posted by Jym St. Pierre   Contributed by Jym St. Pierre

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