True news, from the land without politics...

March, 2017

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He is a Bradford Regular, and hey, he's a good guy to boot! 


Welcome to 2017!  It still sounds strange to me that we are that far into the 21st century already; 1/6th of the way through...  Yikes!  Don't waste a day Ladies and Gentlemen, you have heard it before...

2016 was a very busy and fun year for us all up north, I think our busiest ever!  Thank you all for your loyalty, and for enjoying and loving what we all enjoy and love.  Thanks go to the Pingree Family for steadfastly managing our land purely for wood harvest and not for developing.  Thanks also to the North Maine Woods (inc) who provide for a safe and controlled public use of this giant 3+million acre private forest.  Thanks to our biologists and wardens who do what they can to control and enhance the populations and health of our salmon, lake trout, brook trout, bear, moose, partridge and deer.  Without all of these parts of the puzzle, we would not enjoy what we do at Bradford on Munsungun today.  It seems also that there is a consistent unchanging future in store for the camps, at least for now.

Ice out 2016 - May 7th - a very cold start to the season, with large water temp fluctuations.  This caused the smelt run to start and stop, which made for slower fishing conditions at ice out.  Most of the fish caught were medium lake trout 16"-20" which is the size we targeted to thin all year.  We caught a large number of lake trout in May, as many as 12 keepers in one boat one day.  That was a legal kill number for two people last year, and will also be for 2017.  We will continue to take as many lake trout out as possible, in the effort to thin the numbers and keep the population from overrunning our baitfish supply.

The second half of May was dry and the rivers performed well.  The moving water fishing is completely dependent on water levels in the spring, and a wet May would have pushed the good fishing out into June.  But our dry May made for great river fishing.on Munsungun, the Allagash, and the Penobscot Rivers.    There was some worry about the effect of a warm May on the June fishing, however that was dampened (haha) by a wet June.  Chad and I replanted the garden because of rotten seeds, and even then our germination was down due to cold wet weather.  June ended up being good on rivers as a result, and the ponds did well also, especially the higher elevation waters. 

July was dominated by great family visits, and also by two Sikorsky Weekends in a row.  Weather was great: warm, swimable, hikeable, and fishable (are those words?).  The Sikorsky Weekends continue to be a great addition to the camps.  One thing you will see in the pictures here is a human outline of my grandfather's largest plane in Russia: the S-22 was built in 1913-14 and for its day it was gigantic at 103 foot wingspan and 10,000 pounds - the world's first four-engine aircraft.  My grandfather's achievements in Russia are well known by many people, but overshadowed by his pioneering the helicopter.  The Weekend serves as a great introduction to the early fascinating flying era.

August was full of families on the perfect relaxing getaway,  and also had great fishing.  The lake continued to produced lake trout and we also had some great pond fishing believe it or not.  

September was when we wanted some of that June rain, to cool off the water and get some flow.  Why won't Mother Nature ever listen to me?  It was a month of average fishing, punctuated by some very good days on the ponds.    The lake sitll fished very well for Lake trout especially, and land locked salmon.

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then you are a proven Bradford Junkie

and, well,

you simply must come this summer...!

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Our very best always to you,  Igor and Karen

The Katahdin Woods National Monument

In 2016 The Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument was created.  Roxanne Quimby, who made her fortune with Burt's Bee's products, gave almost 90,000 acres of wild land just east of Baxter State park to our Federal Government.  She gave the land with some strings attached which changed some traditional (taken-for-granted) rights.  She has hit some heartstrings that are deeply ingrained in northern Maine psyche.  Its been interesting to watch.  Maine is a divided state, with southerners being liberal, and northerners being conservative.  It’s a mini US.  Her huge geographic maneuver just happened to be centered in Northern Maine's land of simple traditions.

I think she should be allowed to do what she wants.  We as Mainers could have bought that land decades ago, but didn't.  I also think Ms. Quimby has taken steps toward making her case more palatable to us northerners: Hunting and snowmobiling in large areas of her land (but not all) is allowed, and Ms. Quimby passed the reins to her son, who is now the public spokesman.  It is notable that he is a hunter.  True, he talks the talk much better than she does

On the other hand, as for a future National Park, I too am wary.  I dearly love the many National Parks that I have been to, but I also have seen awkward and simplistic answers to the problems of inviting hoards.  I have seen paved hiking trails in Yosemite, and poor excuses for restaurants run by concessions that are politically awarded those contracts.  Yuk.  Also, parks can be loved to death during tourist season.  It’s not the land that deteriorates, but the experience that changes when you add too many people to a wilderness place.  By definition it is lost. 

Most say for this Park, its problem will be anonymity and low visitation.    Fine with me I say!

For me one nagging question remains:  My life and passion is flying floatplanes.  I do this commercially around northern Maine to get woods vacationers where they want to go.  Could a National Park disallow landings, or even overflights?  The NIMBY in me winces at the thought...

A national park would however, keep some of the North Maine Woods from being privately developed.  Plumb Creek’s Moosehead Lake development was/is a travesty: corporate overlordship pushing small towns around.  Federal overlordship might also use a wooden hand.  Quimby is hoping to leverage her donation into a Baxter National Park, and only time will tell.  Right now her donation is being challenged by our governor, who is calling on our president to step in and give Roxanne her land back...  But that's another story...

No matter what, keeping some land in a perpetual wild state is a value to us all.


18 Hunters shot a total of 12 bear last year.  Two were over 300 pounds, the rest averaged near 200 ponds.  It was all in all a great season.  Our guides Mark Kingsbury, Mark Christian, and Josh Collins did a great job setting up our hunters in stands, and finding the lost ones that ran off wounded.  Josh spent all August setting up the sites and baiting, and he really makes the hunt what it is.  All of our hunters can tell we care about the hunt in all its details.  Sihg up for 2017!  Week #2 has available room, starting September 3...

I encourage anybody near South Carolina to visit Moree's Sporting Preserve.  It is the Bradford Camps of the south, truly.  They have daily, overnight, and weekly fishing and hunting trips, mostly in the Fall/Winter/Spring seasons.  Great people.

We had a moose hunter late October, for zone 4, one hour west of us.  Shane Savage led the crew of five hunters, leaving waaaaay before dawn on Monday morning.  They returned to camp... MONDAY MORNING... with a tagged moose in the back of the truck!  Now THAT is some efficient hunting!!!

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Brad Hall - rest in peace

Brad Hall passed away in July, after a short illness of just a few days.  He was a fixture for us at Bradford Camps:  a fine neighbor, confidante, historian, mushroomer, hardware store, chef, watering hole, and mini vacation getaway for Karen and me.

His fist year on Munsungan Lake was 1945 when at 12 years old he walked upstream from Oxbow.  Keep in mind "upstream" was one of only two ways you could get to camp.  The other way was floatplane, a technology merely 20 years old at the time.

Brad's career was geology - department head at U Maine - and he traveled the world from the Antarctic to the Ganges, and throughout the woods of Maine.  He studied rocks to cypher out the history of the world and unravel her mystery, during the time when plate tectonic theory was infant.  Brad's parents Milton and Minna Hall owned Bradford Camps (and gave us its moniker) from 1945 till 1971.  Brad guided and worked at Bradford most summers during that stretch.  Milt and Minna nurtured Brad's interest in geology by flying him off to a faraway pond, leaving him with a pistol, frying pan, sleeping bag, compass and notebook.  Brad would meander back over a course of a few days, charting outcroppings along the way.  Brad's thesis in geology was added to the geologic map of Maine, still in use today.

It is fair to say that Munsungan Lake was his true home.  We will miss him very much.

And TO these american heroes also.... 

we ARE missING them all...

Gene Wilder       Alan Rickman      John Glenn

Carrie Fischer       Mohamed Ali       Prince       David Bowie

Chuck Berry


Well?  Are you ready to hear this?  Listening?  Hello?


Josh Collins guided the Terry Culp gang  one afternoon in July, and picked up a gorgeous 17-incher.  Its the first photo recorded proof of a Blue Back caught by a fisherman since the restoration!  (The next thing we want to see is a small BB, proving the eggs are hatching on their own over there.)  But so far we are very happy with the results of all those years (2003 - 2012) that so many people worked on the project.

AND now let's celebrate....


Carter James Keith Collins

Born October 20th, 2016

He has a wonderful life in store for him,

and a loving, nurturing parent pair with Josh and Brittany,

and a large family-village to help!

Including Bradford Camps!!

That's all, just buy it!!
(Or if you really like spending analog face time with Igor

then don't buy it and I will fill one out with you when you get to camp!)

NEW EVENTS FOR 2017!  --  click on these links...

Bradford Camps is offering two new events to our summer schedule, besides our usual Sikorsky Weekened on July 7, 8, 9.

On June 6, 7, 8 we will be hosting Ronald Joseph, and notable profession Maine Birder for our first ever BRADFORD BIRDERS TRIP.  This is a unique opportunity to observe new species in their native boreal forest habitat.  I am very much looking forward to this.

On August  13, 14, 15, 16 we will be hosting  FIBER TREK WOODSCOUTERS with Sarah Hunt and associates.  This has been Karen's dream for a long time: bringing knitters and fiber artists to the north Maine Woods.  I am going out on a limb here to declare this the first ever sporting camp retreat for those needle clickers!!

FSS - Ice Cutting Report

We done did it again....  On Martin Luther King Weekend  ten hearty and hungry hooligans took to the ice and took care of your future cooler and tumbler.  Ice conditions were not ideal, because half of the ice was a layer of no-good snow ice.    So we cut pulled, and cut off 8" of that to yield us the good 8" of clear Munsungun Crystal that we all crave.  Twelve tons await you!!

Here is a  3-minute video from the weekend,  done after all the ice was put up:


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