Page 12 - WCM Summer 2022
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 Beginning in 1897, in Upper Dam Pool on Richardson Lake, one of those large brook trout for which the region was known, began to break the line of every fish- erman who tricked him into biting a fly. This brookie, soon to be known as White Nose Pete, and later, Pincushion Pete, by either sheer force or cunning use of sharp-edged rocks, bested every angler who cast their fly. Although he could break their line, Pete couldn’t throw the hooks from his mouth. Soon he had a mouthful of hooks - trophies from every angler he left empty handed.
In 1923, Shang Wheeler, a decoy carver, angler, and visitor to Upper Dam, wrote a poem as an ode to Pete. At that time, the head of Pete appeared, preserved under glass, replete with a mouth full of flies. Had White Nose Pete truly been caught? You can see this mount today at the Outdoor Heritage Museum in Oquossoc, and read Shang’s poem, too.
The White Nose Pete Fly Fishing Festival begins Friday, June 3rd, with a reception at the Rangeley Inn and Tavern during which Herbert Welch, and Dick and Joan Frost, people who made vast contributions to the western Maine fly fishing community, will be inducted into a Hall of Fame. Leslie Hilyard, a lead- ing Rangeley historian, will emcee the evening. There will also be a live auction of top-of-the-line fly-fishing
rods donated by both Douglas and Orvis. The auction proceeds will benefit the Chamber of Commerce,
as well as Casting For Recovery, a group whose
focus is fly fishing programs for women with breast cancer. Tickets for the reception are $17, and should be purchased in advance by calling the Chamber of Commerce at 864-5571.
On Saturday, June 4th, onsite activities will include casting demos, instruction in fly-tying for kids, tying demonstrations, vendors of sporting art, books, vintage gear, and more. Visitors will have the chance to try equipment from some of the largest names in the indus- try, such as Douglas, Orvis, and Sage. Trout Unlimited and Native Fish Coalition (NFC) will be represented, and encourage the continuance of the sport through the preservation of the natural resource. Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust is lending room for presenta- tions by Lou Zambello and NFC. The promoters are endeavoring to have raffles, contests, and other exciting activities. HMH Vises, Fly Tyer magazine, and the Rangeley Region Sport Shop are also major sponsors.
Make your plans to visit Rangeley the first weekend of June and help us celebrate our wonderful fly fishing tradition. For more information about the festival, visit ❧
 I came to light in ‘ninety-six, In the “Pool” at Upper Dam.
One day I got foul of Tom Miner, He gave me a h—l of a chase.
And while lots of folks think I’m a myth, I’m not, for here I am.
Down over-the reef, through the “slaughter.” All over the dog-gone place.
I go to the Lake to summer
And come back here in the Fall.
But I’ve got his “Silver Doctor” Hooked fast in my lower jaw.
I’ve met fishermen from all over, yes-met and defeated them all.
When the leader broke, Tom also broke A part of the Scriptural Law.
I’ve got a collection of tackle, Lines, leaders, flies and such.
I had a tough scrap with Steve Palmer, ‘Twas down in the lower pool.
To me they are trophies of battles, And I prize them very much.
I tangled his gear in Dougherty’s stumps And he’ll say I’m nobody’s fool.
I took one from a man named Parish, Away back in ‘ninety-nine.
I next ran across Nick Boylston
And Nick had-some “Rooster’s Regrets.”
Then Daugherty made a donation Of fly, leader and piece of line.
I took the first one that he offered And it’s in my collection yet.
I tackled both Morgan and Morton, And my souvenirs will show
My last real fight was with Wilber, For he’s a heavyweight too.
That I licked them both to a standstill, Though, they certainly made me go.
When he sat back on his haunches, I surely had something to do.
Then I mixed it with “Old man” Barber, And wrestled with Calkins too.
He had a guide named “Gillie” Who sat and watched the fun.
The “old man” fought me the hardest, For fishing to Arthur was new.
I heard him remark - that night in the dark, Aint he a “snuff-colored son of a gun”?
I had it out with Parker.
And collected from all of the Fairs,
We neither asked nor gave quarter, We fought a square fight and I won.
I now have in my collection,
Flies and leaders that once were theirs.
I finally parted his leader,
Though it seemed that I pulled a ton.
I next took a crack at Van Dusen, And then gave Bugbee a whirl,
I’ve taken on all comers,
And I’ve met some tough ones too.
But their tackle to me was as easy-
But they’ve all gone ashore without me, And I’m out here -Ready For You.
As nuts to a hungry squirrel.
Piscatorially Yours, WHITE NOSE PETE.
The Ode to White Nose Pete
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