This summer’s Outside Edge road trip started at Mousam Lake

This year’s Outside Edge road trip begins in southern Maine with a fishing trip, zig-zagging our way up north through the course of the summer.

SHAPLEIGH, Maine — The unofficial start of summer this weekend means it’s time to plan some adventures across vacationland.

This year’s Outside Edge road trip begins in southern Maine with a fishing trip, zig-zagging our way up north through the course of the summer. This summer marks the second year the Outside Edge road trip has been held.

“The best part of fishing in Maine is that it’s almost like you have this blank canvas, you can go anywhere in the state and find quality fish,” Jake Rackliff, a registered Maine Guide and owner of Cast and Call Guide Service, said.

The first adventure of the Outside Edge began on Mousam Lake in Shapleigh, a great starter lake because of its wide variety of fish.

“This place has five salmonids in it, you’ve got brown trout, brook trout, salmon, lake trout, and rainbow smelt, so that’s your fifth one, then you have largemouth, smallmouth, and crappie, so you’ve got this huge plethora of fish,” Rackliff said.

While you can head out fishing on your own with a license, a quick visit to your local tackle shop, and a review of the stock report from Maine Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, registered Maine Guides provide a different experience, taking you on the water, setting the rods, and waiting for the fish to come to you.

“It’s just a great time to relax and spend time with your family,” Rackliff explains. “On my boat, I can take two adults and two kids, and the best part is watching the parents interact with the kids on the boat and watch their kids catch their first fish or the kids watching their parents catch their first fish.”

The recent quick fluctuation of hot to cool temperatures didn’t make it an easy fishing day on the first stop of the road trip. Even some buried wooden treasures were caught at times. However, on the last pass through Mousam Lake, a black crappie was caught, coming in at 14 inches and 2 pounds.

Guided fishing excursions can range from a half a day out on the lake to a full day canoe down the Saco River, one of Rackliff’s favorites.

†[We] get the canoe loaded up, and we fish for a few hours in the morning and stop along the way to have a shore lunch,” Rackliff said. “Sometimes that consists of the catch of the day if they like to eat fish. On that river, I target smallmouth bass normally or trout in the spring. There’s always a second option if people don’t like fish. I always pack a couple PB & J’s, or something easy for kids. But after, we’ll end up fishing the rest of the afternoon, keep[ing] it at a max of eight hours.”

Guided hunting excursions are also something Cast & Call Guide Service offers, especially for first-timers.

“If I can set them on the right path, and then they achieve something on their own, that’s huge to me,” Rackliff said.

Clearly passionate about his work, Rackliff finds himself continuing the legacy of guides in his family, beginning with his grandmother.

“My mom found this program for me to go to when I was young,” Rackliff said. “It was Junior Maine Guide Program out of the Bryant Pond 4H Camp over at Bryant Pond. … At that point it was the Maine Conservation School, and I did that, passed, and I got to teach it the next year, and that’s what really got the ball rolling. … It brings me so much joy, I love it.”

Stay tuned for the next Outside Edge adventure in two weeks, as we get ready to hang out.

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