Join us for episode 2 of For Wild’s Sake: The Rare Trout Chronicles, season 1! A series that explores human beings’ relationship to the natural world, in hopes of gaining a better understanding of how and why we assign value to wild things and places. In a quest to illustrate rare and threatened species of wild native trout in watercolor, artist Chase Bartee and wife Aimee set off on a multi-year, cross-country adventure of discovery.
We’ve made it to Big Reed Pond, a 90 acre, deep water sanctuary tucked away in a pristine old-growth forest in the middle of the North Maine Woods. Now the real work begins; trying to catch a notoriously hard-to-find fish with a fly rod. Though the fish are believed to be doing well in this Big Reed, that wasn’t always the case. We discover that the population was almost completely lost 2 decades ago after a careless and uninformed angler introduced a nonnative and invasive species of baitfish. The recovery effort mounted by Maine IDFW was nothing short of miraculous, and today the fish are once again thriving.
But as we find out, saving the fish once may not have been enough, as these rare and precious Blueback Trout (Arctic Charr) are once again facing a great threat, this time from the very people who dedicated their lives to protecting them.