Table of Contents




Selected Photos

About the Author


Guide and Lodging Recommendations

Buy the Book

Contact Us



Contemporary Wingshooter - Spring 2012

Jim Casada - Sporting Classics Magazine, Sept/Oct 2010

Jack W. Berryman - July/August 2010 issue of Eastern Fly Fishing

Shelagh Talbot - May / June 2010 edition of Up North

Dan Tarkinson - Fly Fishing in Maine

Robert Berls - Bulletin of the Anglers' Club of New York

John Holyoke - Bangor Daily News

Jack Gagnon - North Woods Sporting Journal

Ken Allen - The Maine Sportsman

Bill Ferris - Shippensburg, PA Sentinel

Paul Doiron - Down East Magazine

Fly Fisherman Magazine

Contemporary Wingshooter - Spring 2012

Jim Casada - Sporting Classics Magazine, Sept/Oct 2010


There was a time when self-published books were summarily dismissed as “vanity” works. Thanks to changes in technology, commercial publishing and the nature of modern bookselling, that’s no longer the case.

Last year, after doing dozens of books with commercial publishers, I personally ventured into the waters of self-publishing with Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park:  An Insider’s Guide to a Pursuit of Passion. I haven’t regretted it, scary though the venture was in financial and other ways, and reviewers have been very kind. 

The two books mentioned here are in the same genre, and each provides credence to growing acceptance of the legitimacy of self-publishing. It is unlikely any commercial publisher driven by dollar signs would have touched these books, yet they have real merit and belong on the shelves of serious readers of sporting literature.

Tagewahnahn: The Landlocked Salmon at Grand Lake Stream by Dennis LaBare. Privately published by the author, 2007.  Hardback in dj., xvi, 226 pages, illustrated. To acquire copies contact LaBare at dennislabare@earthlink.net.

The title comes from an Indian name for landlocked salmon, and it’s a heartfelt and moving tribute to the fish, a special place where they’ve long been caught, and the men who have cast to them at Grand Lake Stream. Beautifully illustrated, it’s a prime example of how fine book should be produced and it will certainly be cherished by serious fly fishermen.

Meanderings of a Snake Meadow Editor by Paul E. Chase. Published by Author House for the author in 2010. Hardback in dj.,  xvi, 210 pages, illustrated. Order from www.authorhouse.com.

Part philosophy, part profiles of noted sportsmen, part mental meanderings the title suggests, part upland game hunting and all pure pleasure, this book is a collection of pieces Chase originally contributed to the newsletter of the Snake Meadow Club in Connecticut. He has edited the newsletter for upwards of two decades, and over that time has written on subjects as diverse as George Bird Evans, poachers, guns and guides, fine dogs and fine days afield. The pieces found in these pages are ideal for a brief spate of reading in an armchair on a bitterly cold day.

Jack W. Berryman - July/August 2010 issue of Eastern Fly Fishing

Shelagh Talbot - May / June 2010 edition of Up North

Dan Tarkinson, Flyfishinginmaine.com

Review: Tagewahnahn

A couple years ago now (yikes) when a packaged arrived at my home from Grand Lake Stream, I knew exactly what it was. I had been in touch with Dennis Labare for some time about his upcoming book on the area, and anticipated the arrival of the finished product. I can't believe it has taken me this long to address it in print, though in a way I'm so glad for the opportunity to revisit this book again recently, in preparation for this review.

Tagewahnahn (the title of the book, which is the Passamaquoddy name for the landlocked salmon), is a masterpiece of science, history, and personal experience, with a touch of lore and legend. Labare, an accomplished entomologist and conservationist, takes us through a detailed account of the history of the stream and its environs. From detailed stream maps carefully hand sketched by the author's wife, Stacy, to beautiful up close photographs of the insects that inhabit the stream and make up the diet of its resident Land Locked Salmon, this book is the full package.

Extensive research, which is clearly apparent in the work, reveals perspectives from many different angles. From fisheries biologists to hydroelectric facility discussions to local legends, Labare has left no stone unturned when it comes to providing us with a complete and rounded perspective. Also included, and very much appreciated, are numerous anecdotal and personal stories, many of famous GLS visitors like Ted Williams (the baseball player), Bert Lahr, Curt Gowdy, and Joe Brooks.

Labare's attention to detail, personal touch and connection to this area make this comprehensive work a delight to pick up, again and again. If you are an angler who has fished Grand Lake Stream, or are someone who appreciates a fine literary work about a wonderfully rich historic area, sport and fishery -- do yourself a favor, and order a copy of Tagewahnahn today. But be forewarned...if you've never visited GLS, you may need to plan a trip after reading this book...and you'll feel like you are visiting an old friend.

To get your copy visit www.glssalmon.com

Robert Berls in Bulletin of the Anglers' Club of New York, Spring 2009

Rivers of Restoration: Trout Unlimited’s First 50 Years of Conservation

By John Ross

Skyhorse Publishing, 2008, 192 pages, 150 color photographs, $40.00

 Tagewahnahn, the Landlocked Salmon at Grand Lake Stream

Written and published by Dennis LaBare, 2007, 215 pages, more than 200 color photographs and many black & white photographs, $60.00   

  Reviewed by the Editor

 Trout Unlimited’s fiftieth anniversary book, Rivers of Restoration, contains brief discussions and many spectacular photographs of 21 TU-aided stream restoration projects from the Kennebec in Maine to the Garcia River in California.  Nick Lyons says in his preface: the book “profiles nearly two dozen rivers and watersheds and frames Trout Unlimited’s role in combating the threats to their health (showing) how careful stewardship can make a substantial difference.”  As Nick says, “It is an ongoing battle.” 

Most of the rivers presented in the book I have not fished and of the few I have fished the only one I know well is the Falling Spring Branch in Pennsylvania’s Cumberland Valley.  The Cumberland Valley is Pennsylvania’s extension of the Shenandoah Valley, that swath of limestone that curves in a great arc from southwestern Virginia through Maryland and Pennsylvania.  The Falling Spring Branch, near Chambersburg, is one of the many spring creeks in the valley.  Falling Spring is, or was, famous for its magnificent Trico hatch, reputedly the best in the East.  Starting in July and running well into the fall, even as late as Thanksgiving if the fall was mild, every morning it was there.  One of the virtues of Falling Spring, in addition to its wild browns, is a self-sustaining population of rainbows, unusual in the East, as you know.  Before I began going to Montana, the largest wild rainbow I had caught came out of the Falling Spring Trico hatch.    

Our former member, the late Datus Proper, wrote of Falling Spring in 1982 that “the ability of a small stream to support so much life’ (wild trout, aquatic insects, and a mind-boggling population of scuds) ‘seemed a mystery.  They should have made it a national monument.  Instead it is becoming a housing development.”  The spring creek valleys of Pennsylvania have been increasingly encroached on by housing construction for many years.  The usual problems result: habitat degrading owing to increased storm-water runoff, sedimentation, and reduced riparian protection—not to mention “keep off signs.”  Sediment from dairy farms was a long-term problem on Falling Spring.  At times, engrossed in casting to rising fish, you had to glance over your shoulder lest you hook a Holstein on your backcast.    At least the dairy farmers were liberal with stream access.  When one of the farmers was approached about allowing stream improvements to be made, he said “you can do anything you want, just don’t tell me how to run my cows.”  But of course cows in the stream were part of the problem.  The announcement of a proposed housing development on the headwaters spring was the proverbial final straw to two of the regular fishers of Falling Spring who were also active TU members: Dennis LaBare of Baltimore and Bill Horn from Washington.  Dennis has an advanced degree in stream ecology and has taught a graduate course in it at Johns Hopkins and ran his own environmental consulting firm.  Bill was a former Assistant Secretary of Fish and Wildlife at the U.S. Department of the Interior.  Bill and Dennis teamed up to see what could be done to save Falling Spring.  They began to meet with TU members in Chambersburg.  The result was an eventual three-way partnership of the local TU chapter, the township government and what became known as the Falling Spring Greenway bringing in area birders, hikers and people who just want to keep green acres.  Early work by TU and the Greenway influenced the township to amend its land development ordinance to protect Falling Spring.  The state Department of Environmental Protection provided grants to fund stream design projects and for the heavy equipment needed to narrow wide, shallow channels and remove sediment.  The Falling Spring Greenway has generated more than $1 million for work on the stream and resulted in the remodeling of more than 4 miles of Falling Spring into a first-class trout fishery again. 

One of those two environmental activists who started the whole Falling Spring Greenway movement, Dennis LaBare, does nothing by half.  Dennis is the only person I know who spent a whole spring and summer (of 1975) collecting, identifying, and photographing the aquatic insects of one river—the Beaverkill.  Dennis is now retired and divides his year between Grand Lake Stream in Maine (where his family vacationed when he was a boy) and West Virginia.  Dennis spends the warm months fishing for landlocked salmon in Grand Lake Stream and the cold months hunting grouse with his English Setters in West Virginia’s long season that runs to the end of February. 

After five years of work, Dennis has published what must be described as a tribute to Grand Lake Stream and its Landlocked Salmon.  The book is Tagewahnahn, the Landlocked Salmon at Grand Lake Stream.  Tagewahnahn is the original Passamaquoddy Indian name for the Landlocks.  Passamaquoddy means “people who spear Pollack.”  The tribe lived on the Down East coast of Maine until the 18th century when part of the tribe was relocated inland.  The Landlocks of Grand Lake Stream (GLS) and its St. Croix River watershed are one of the four original Landlocked salmon strains in Maine.                                   

The book has six chapters:  The Fish, The Stream, The Dam, The Hatches, The Hatchery and Sharing the River.  The last one is about prominent anglers and famous people who have pursued Landlocks in Grand Lake Stream.  For a stream that is only 2.75 miles long from the dam on West Grand Lake to where it flows into Big Lake, GLS might be the most intensively studied 2.75 miles of stream anywhere.  Dennis has researched the history and the science of GLS Landlocks and the stories about them.  Although the fish are wild, or virtually so, GLS is a highly managed fishery, but that is not to say that it is an artificial fishery.  The state-owned hatchery at GLS runs an “intercept fishery.”  The hatchery workers capture salmon dropping down the lake in the fall to descend through the dam to spawn and take eggs and milt from them.  The eggs are then moved to the hatchery.  The progeny of those fish are returned to their native waters a year and a half later as seven to eight inch smolts.  These fish are essentially wild, not the progeny of tame brood fish kept in the hatchery.  The hatchery workers net out as many fish as they need each fall: 1,500 to 2,000 fish and the rest are allowed to go through the dam into GLS.  The stripped fish are returned to the lake.  If you have ever wondered about essential differences between wild and hatchery brood fish, there are at least two:  the eggs from Landlock brood fish are 25 percent smaller than those of the wild-captured fish and only 60 percent survive to the eyed stage as opposed to 80 percent of those from wild-captured fish.  The GLS hatchery produces two-thirds of Maine’s stocked Landlocks. 

The salmon stocked in West Grand Lake become increasingly dependent on smelt.  The forage of second-year Landlocks, about 14” long, is nearly all smelt.  Thus the fishery in the lake is the usual trolled streamer fly.  As Dennis says, if you are fishing in West Grand Lake for Landlocks it’s a smelt imitation “or else”. 

In Grand Lake Stream it can be very different.  Comprehensive creel surveys of GLS are done every year by Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife interns.  The annual catch varies from 1,200 to 1,950 legal salmon; and most (88 percent) are released.  Legal minimum size is 14” but 18- to 19-inch salmon are common.  Many of the GLS anglers also fish streamers.  Dennis doesn’t care to fish streamers for GLS Landlocks, preferring the floating fly and presents at length what he has found to be “the most outstanding opportunities to fish the floating fly on GLS.”  He then outlines the ecology of the most important organisms in GLS.  The GLS Landlocks eat bugs and lots of them.        

In mid-June the “signature insect” on GLS creates what Dennis calls “truly spectacular fishing.”  This small net-spinning, size 16 caddis, Hydropsyche morosa, thrives on the plankton soup that flows out of West Grand Lake.  They hatch by the millions.  Stomach contents of the Landlocks show consistently as much as 80 percent caddis in May and June.  You can fish the pupae or the adult and it all goes on until mid-July.  Late June marks the start of another, slightly smaller (#18) net-spinning caddis, the Cheumato- psyche sordida which also thrives on the plankton out of the lake.  Late May and early June see extensive hatches of that iconic Eastern mayfly, the Hendrickson.  After the Hendrickson come the Pale Evening Dun, or Sulpher (E. invaria) and the March Brown, Stenonema vicarium.  A somewhat unusual mayfly, the size 12 Gray Fox-like Stenomena modestum starts to show in mid-July and goes on into September.  The Blue-wing Olive Drunella walkeri also starts in July and hatches from dusk to dark.  Most visiting GLS anglers show up in May and June, but as Dennis notes as long as there is enough water to keep the salmon in the river productive fishing continues through the summer and into the fall.    

Dennis LaBare has woven together a book that he intends “will enhance not just your fishing, but your overall enjoyment and appreciation of the river.”  If you are interested in Landlocked salmon fishing, or in Maine, then you will enjoy this book.  So buy it and feel good about it because 25 percent of the net proceeds go to the Maine Council of Trout Unlimited and the Grand Lake Stream Historical Society.  The book is profusely illustrated with photos, drawings and a lovely map created by Dennis’s wife, a classically trained cartographer.  (The editor of Down East magazine noted that the map was worth the price of the book.)  Among other things Dennis is a talented photographer and there are many historical photos too.  The jacket painting is by the noted Atlantic salmon artist, Arthur Taylor, and is the only painting he has done of a Landlock salmon fishing scene. 

The book is available at www.glssalmon.com at $60.  If you are not at home in cyberspace you can get it from Dennis LaBare directly at:  

In summer (after May 15)                     and in winter (after November 1)

RR1 Box 97A                                        HC 62 Box34

Princeton, Maine 04668                        Upper Tract, WV 26866                             

207 796 5358                                         304 358 3154    

Dennis told me that he would be happy to take phone calls from Anglers’ Club members who would like current information or recommendations on trip planning to fish the GLS.  Also he would take pleasure in greeting Club members to show them around, sign their books, or to provide what assistance he can.                                                                   


John Holyoke
A unique look at Grand Lake Stream

Nestled in the woods of Washington County, Grand Lake Stream is a village you don’t find by accident … unless, that is, the "accident" involves taking a wrong turn off unpaved Stud Mill Road while looking for some outdoor fun.

Because of its seclusion, Grand Lake Stream has long enjoyed a special status among those looking for a place to kick back, fish a bit, and relax.

Baseball great Ted Williams went there regularly. So did broadcaster Curt Gowdy. Legendary angler and writer A.J. McClane knew all about Grand Lake Stream. Burt Lahr, who played the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz, also visited.

Ask anyone who’s spent a bit of time in the town, and they’ll agree to a single point: It’s a special place.

Thanks to Dennis LaBare, you can learn a lot more about Grand Lake Stream, from the point of view of a fisherman and trained stream ecologist.

After several years of work, LaBare has released "Tagewahnahn, The Landlocked Salmon at Grand Lake Stream," which was produced by Tilbury House Publishers in Gardiner.

And while the landlocked salmon certainly get their due, the book has something to offer everyone with an interest in fishing or the town known in many circles as "GLS."

LaBare, who lives part of the year in Grand Lake Stream at Big Lake, and part of the year in West Virginia, said he’s not sure when he decided to write a book, but figures it was sometime after he had a conversation with Kurt Cressey, the proprietor of the Pine Tree Store.

"I’m sitting in there, talking to Kurt, and I’m just [taking pictures and studying] bugs," said LaBare, who has done countless stream-monitoring studies over the years. "I was taking pictures with my old-time camera equipment. I’m talking to him, and he looks at me and says, ‘What are you doing? Writing a book?’ I guess that must have started some little wheels turning in the back of my head somewhere."

Luckily for readers, those wheels kept turning.

Tagewahnahn — the aboriginal Passamaquoddy name for the landlocked salmon — is an ambitious project that is part textbook, part fishing guidebook, and part history lesson, in a 216-page hardcover edition.

Each of the pieces of the book flows well into the next — as any book centering on a stream likely should — and the photography is often spectacular.

The 54-year-old LaBare said being retired, and having some knowledge about both science and the area, allowed him to do something nobody really had done in recent years.

"I’m not a writer. I’m not a historical researcher. I’m just a guy who came to be attached to this place, and had an educational background that lent itself to many of the topics, technically," LaBare said. "But as much as anything else, I had time."

The book is divided into six parts, and each may appeal to a separate group of readers.

If you’re interested in the nuts-and-bolts science involving landlocked salmon and the hatchery operation in GLS, you’ll find those in chapters one and three.

If you want to know more about where to fish, head to chapter two.

The dam that separates Grand Lake Stream from West Grand Lake merits its own chapter, as do the insect life that’s found in the stream, and the rich history of the town and its sporting camps.

LaBare received plenty of photos from local residents to beef up the chapter on the town’s history, and relied heavily on experts in the more scientific portions of the book.

He credits the professionals he interviewed for their help in providing a clear picture of fisheries and hatchery management in the book.

And his methods illustrate just how determined LaBare was to get everything right.

"I went down to Jonesboro and was able to get all three [Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife biologists] in a room with a tape recorder for six hours," LaBare said.

Those interviews were followed by countless e-mails, he said, and regional fisheries staff got to review his text before it was published.

LaBare first came to Grand Lake Stream when he was a young boy, worked at an uncle’s sporting camp beginning when he was 14, and kept coming back as often as he could.

In 2002, he retired and moved to Big Lake on a part-time basis.

"I just fell in love with the place," LaBare said.

When reading Tagewahnahn, that passion is obvious. From the breathtaking cover painting by Arthur Taylor to the final page, the book offers something for everybody, and makes it easy to escape — in one’s minds-eye, at least — to this picturesque little Maine village.

LaBare said the decision to write the book, and to divide 25 percent of the proceeds, after taxes, between the Grand Lake Stream Historical Society and the Maine Chapter of Trout Unlimited was an easy one.

"Everything that we have gotten here, as an experience, as a place to be and enjoy, the relationship with the people, the resource, the land — we got it all for free," LaBare said. "I really wanted to put something back. It seemed right."

If you’re interested in getting your hands on LaBare’s book, you shouldn’t wait long: Only 1,000 copies were published. You can find out more at www.glssalmon.com.

John Holyoke can be reached at jholyoke@bangordailynews.net or by calling 990-8214 or 1-800-310-8600.

Jack Gagnon
Short Strikes - North Woods Sporting Journal
Column for: August, 2007

Book Review

Tagewahnahn - The Landlocked Salmon At Grand Lake Stream
by Dennis LaBare

When fly-fishermen visit their preferred haunts, they focus on fish and insects. That's usually enough. Like casual patrons at a favorite restaurant, most of us are satisfied just to partake. We have no burning desire to see what goes on "in the kitchen," behind the scenes, in fisheries management. But Dennis LaBare is not a casual angler. He is a passionate fly-fisherman, and a stream ecologist with a long track record of accomplishments, including Trout Unlimited's highest conservation award for a volunteer. He is also an unabashed advocate of Grand Lake Stream, Maine's premier river fishery for landlocked salmon.

Tagewahnahn - The Landlocked Salmon At Grand Lake Stream - (hardcover, 232 pages, $60.00) includes the reminiscing and sentiment expected from an angler who has loved a river and its environs for over forty years. Grand Lake Stream is the river of Dennis LaBare's boyhood, where he fished with his father, and it retains its magic as the "river of his heart." The author reverently describes the sometimes ethereal experience of fly-fishing for landlocked salmon there, but that's only a small part of this book.

The core of Tagewahnahn is an applied science success story -- the evolution of landlocked salmon management at Grand Lake Stream, from what it was a century ago to what it is now. Let's enjoy the magic the author says, but let me also show you how it is done. Tagewahnahn - The Landlocked Salmon At Grand Lake Stream is a detailed dissection of what makes this venerable Maine fishery tick. This book is rich in historical perspective. It includes "who's who" in the history of Grand Lake Stream fisheries management, and stories about famous and infamous characters who have fished there.

In his insightful foreword, John Randolph, the Editor/Publisher of Fly Fisherman magazine points out that (Tagewahnahn) "is a story that needed telling for it is unique in American lake/stream management history, for it marks the transition of "wild rivers" to man-enhanced fisheries, the transition from true wilderness to "commodification" of natural resources to serve new social needs." This book will have special appeal to anyone who ever fly-fished for landlocked salmon, as well as anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of progressive, cold water fisheries management.

Tagewahnahn is beautifully produced, with compelling photography. The artistry is a praiseworthy compliment to the content. If you've ever fished for landlocked salmon at Grand Lake Stream, embellish the experience -- read this book. If you've never fished there, this book is an appealing invitation.The author chronicles the Grand Lake Stream hatches, tells us how to wade certain pools, even where to park.

Some of the proceeds from the sale of Tagewahnahn will go to support the Grand Lake Stream Historical Society. It is available from the author - email: dennislabare@earthlink.net or call 207-796-5358 (June thru October) or 304-358-3154 (November thru May).
Jack Gagnon lives in Lakeville, Maine. He has written for a number of sporting publications and is a member of the New England Outdoor Writers Association.

Book Corner - The Maine Sportsman
August, 2008

When Dennis LaBare was writing Tagewahnahn with the subtitle The Landlocked Salmon at Grand Lake Stream, he mentioned the project several times on Fly Fishing in Maine, an Internet bulletin board. Many of us saw this and awaited LaBare’s book with great anticipation.

For anyone paying attention, it was obvious that this skilled fly rodder, entomologist and historian was working on a labor of love about his home river. This book reviewer just knew Tagewahnahn would be a jewel.

In short, LaBare wasn’t a commercial writer trying to make a buck, but rather, a man interested in chronicling a water that means the world to him. The result shows this dedication.

LaBare breaks the book into seven parts and an epilogue, beginning with a study of landlocked salmon, this species origins and distribution, spawning and so forth – a rather complete natural history of landlocked Salmo salar. LaBare then goes into a history of Grand Lake Stream and information on its characteristics and pool names, a chapter on the history of the hatchery complete with a photo essay of fall egg capture, history of the dam, a great chapter on GLS’s insect hatches and a summary of the media, celebrities, local personalities, etc. of the river.

This reviewer absolutely loved the chapter about celebrities who have gone to Grand Lake Stream – everyone from John W. Randolph to Don Zahner to you name a big-time fishing writer from the 20th century. Most of ‘em were there.

This last chapter before the epilogue is entertaining to the core and tells of a time when Maine attracted all the big-name outdoors people in the – well – in the world. Sometimes, folks criticize Maine for not keeping its standing as the place to go, but in a way, Maine didn’t lose its quality so much as more wilderness areas of the world developed tourism meccas that this state could no longer compete with in a global market.

LaBare’s book has lots of historical data that show Maine might have had a few bigger salmon in the near to distant past, but overall, the size of the fish have changed little.

Tagewahnahn includes figures from Charles Atkins’ Commissioner’s Report of 1877 – an intriguing tidbit of information that included 235-male and 343-female landlocks. In 1877, the average length and weight of male salmon were 16.8 inches and 1.8 pounds respectively and of females were 16.1 inches and 1.9 pounds. In this report, the longest salmon was 22 inches and heaviest was 3.7 pounds! (There wasn’t a 4-pounder in the 578 landlocks.) The shortest salmon was 13 inches and lightest adult 1.1 pounds. Stats like this fill this book and illustrate that the good old days might be here and now.

LaBare has lots of personal little touches in the book that’ll touch a memory, and one for me was his reference to Fly Fisherman magazine. When this publication first hit newsstands in the late 1960s, most of us baby boomers can remember where we were and what we were doing the second we saw it. (It’s like asking people what they were doing when John Kennedy was shot.) LaBare’s dad brought home the second issue, and he remembers the moment. Like Dennis, my initial introduction also came with the second issue, which I bought at a bookstore in downtown Orono in 1969.

Ah…the memories…and Tagewahnahn will generate plenty. (Ken Allen)

Bill Ferris
Outdoors for Sunday 08/03/08 Sentinel by Bill Ferris

For those hazy, hot and humid afternoons and summer rains showers I try to keep a book or two on a table near the window wall overlooking our meadow. I can sit in the old rocking chair and listen to the rain and while away a lazy afternoon. On sunny days I keep a chair under the big pear tree in the side yard where I can catch the breezes and still hide from the brightest sun.

My friend Phil has a philosophy that he would rather read hunting books in the summer heat and fishing books in the dead of winter. It doesn’t matter to me. I can read either but in some cases actually prefer reading fishing books.

I understand John Gierach has a new book out but I haven’t seen it yet. As with all Gierach books I enjoy reading them but don’t necessarily need to own them. Instead I visit the Public Library and have them order it for me, donating the cover price as a contribution, then putting my name as the top of the list for those, who want to read it.

While waiting, my friend suggested I read Dennis LaBare’s book. Dennis helped establish the Falling Springs Greenway, which along with the Falling Springs Chapter of Trout Unlimited and local landowners protect the little spring creek. As an aquatic biologist he spent his career in the environmental field and now spends spring and summers at a camp on Grand Lake Stream and winters In West Virginia, where he fishes landlocked Atlantic salmon and catches the woodcock flight before coming south to hunt ruffed grouse.

Tagewahnahn, the salmon of Grand Lake Stream is an excellent blend of history, community, science and reminiscence of a lifetime spend first as a child, then later as a summer resident fishing along Grand Lake Stream and its Salmon, fly hatches and long time residents.

Northern Maine has always been a blend of forestry, hydroelectric dams and summer camps, where summer visitors spend their vacations fishing and basking in pure waters, mostly cool evenings and comfortably relaxed days.

As I began reading his book, I wondered, if it would be the kind of book I could review for residents of central Pennsylvania, where our fishing opportunities spoil us. As I found more hot and humid days to hide myself in the shade, I discovered the need for those of use who want better fisheries to read this book. It’s not only a blend of science, but it’s also a road map to keeping what is and has been cherished for generations.

A mixture of hatchery stocking, balanced with the available rainbow smelt forage base, while not neglecting naturally spawning landlocked salmon, Dennis gives us an insight into the real balancing act of keeping everyone happy, while protecting the ecological balance.

His insect study is worth the price of the book and the rest is simply a bonus. I don’t know where you might acquire a copy but a good place to start is e-mailing Dennis at dennislabare@earthlink.net or phoning him at 207-796-5358.

Paul Doiron
Gone Fishing - Down East Magazine
September, 2008

Dennis Labare’s Tagewahnahn: The Landlocked Salmon at Grand Lake Stream (www.glssalmon.com; hardcover; 216 pages; $65) is definitely a love letter. The question is: to what? In a narrow sense the book is a paean to a specific river (a mere 2.75 miles long) that flows from West Grand Lake into Big Lake in the wilds of easternmost Maine. But it’s also a tribute to the historic and enchanting village of Grand Lake Stream itself. More broadly, LaBare celebrates a vanishing way of life — of fishing guides and famous “sports” like Ted Williams and Buffalo Bob Smith journeying into the North Woods with fly rods in hand. Ultimately, though, Tagewahnahn is probably best described as an ode to a fish.

Not just any fish, though. Grand Lake Stream achieved its fame by being one of the best places in the world to fly fish for Salmo salar sebago — landlocked salmon and Maine’s official state fish. The word Tagewahnahn is the Passamaquoddy Indian name for salmon, and as LaBare explains, the river once teemed with them. Then in the 19th Century logging and other man-made modifications played havoc with the salmon’s habitat. LaBare tells the story of how fisheries biologists have worked ever since to make Grand Lake Stream one of North America’s premier angling destinations.

If ever a book of science could be called deeply personal, it’s Tagewahnahn (and yes, the name is a mouthful). Dennis LaBare is an experienced environmental scientist and stream ecologist. Plus, he has the advantage of having spent his boyhood summers in Grand Lake Stream, roaming every inch of the river and soaking up stories of river drives and legendary Registered Maine Guides. LaBare’s own history — and outright obsession with fly-fishing — accounts for his book’s encyclopedic quality. Tagewahnahn ranges from highly technical information about fish hatcheries management (Sample sentence: “Eggs are checked for size to calibrate the volumetric ‘pig trough.’”) to pictures of Grand Lake Stream’s esteemed visitors (Bert Lahr, the Cowardly Lion, once made a stopover). It offers detailed advice for the angler about which bugs hatch when and which flies to use where. (The map of the river is worth the price alone). And it shines a spotlight on everyone from the owners of the local store to unsung biologists who have worked behind the scene to create great fishing memories for thousands of visitors. Literally, by the time I finished Tagewahnahn, I couldn’t imagine what more there was to say about either landlocked salmon or Grand Lake Stream, river and village. The word definitive here is truly an understatement.

LaBare’s grand ambition and all-consuming enthusiasm might lead some to worry about the book’s readability, but in fact he is a fluid writer, especially when he moves away from the scientific jargon. And I would be remiss if I didn’t praise Tagewahnahn’s illustrations and layout. This book was beautifully designed by Geraldine Milham: a model for publishers everywhere.

Who should read this book? Habituees of Grand Lake Stream certainly and professional fisheries biologists. Fly fishers will learn just about all they need to know to catch landlocks here or anywhere else. But I suspect there is a broader audience of people who would find this macroscopic look at a Maine village fascinating for its own sake. As I read along, I found myself wishing that similar encyclopedias existed for other unique Maine communities. Monhegan comes to mind, with lobsters playing the role of salmon.

In the end you can’t help but be won over by LaBare’s passion. “For all who love this river, this place,” he writes in his epilogue, “for each of us there is a special something — that scent of pine, loons in the night, wood smoke, the roar of the falls, waves on the shore — that no matter where we are, when we experience them in our mind’s eye, we are transported here, and it’s always about ‘getting back.’”

I recognize the emotion, and I bet you do, too.

Paul Doiron is a fly-fisher and editor-in-chief of Down East magazine
Courtesy Down East Magazine
Fly Rod+Reel Online

Fly Fisherman Magazine

Tagewahnahn by Dennis LaBare

Self-published, 2007, 216 pages, hardbound. Winter - (304) 358-3154. Summer - 207-796-5358

Tagewahnahn (pronounced tag-a-wa-non) is native American for landlocked Atlantic salmon. Author Dennis LaBare, a native of Maryland and a lifetime summer resident of Grand Lake Stream (GLS) in Maine, chose the name to convey the historic imprint of the salmon on the region’s people and the fish’s place in a unique lake/stream ecology.

With a professional background in stream ecology and management, LaBare is well qualified to research and tell this story. His lifelong experience and research with the Maine fisheries biologists, who have restored and preserved the GLS strain of landlocked salmon, helped to make this decade-long research and writing effort possible. But in the end it was a labor of love, the telling of a story that involved the people of Grand Lake Stream, professionals, guides, families, and the fly-fishing celebrities who came to the river for its beauty and its dancing salmon.

This is a technical book that explains how Maine biologists used modern stream fisheries management techniques, including hatcheries and stocking, to preserve and recover a strain of landlocked salmon that had been severely depleted due to logging and dam building through the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It portrays a special affection that the people of Maine and of Grand Lake Stream had for their river and how they used that affection to re-create their river in the past five decades to preserve its living spirit, Tagewahnahn.

This book has a unique importance in American fisheries history: It documents the industrial opening and closing of an American wilderness and the effects it had on a wilderness river and its fish and the successful recreation of that river in a modern, settled, environment. The book offers clear evidence to us that rivers can be destroyed by man and re-created by man, as boutique re-creations of wildernesslike gems where heritage fish survive and thrive and are appreciated, and even worshipped, by the people who enjoy them, especially the fly fishers and stream professionals (guides and biologists) who fight for the programs that assure fish survival.

Tagewahnahn is a blueprint for stream preservations and restorations across the U.S. and especially in the Northwest, where salmon and steelhead extinctions are imminent.

We wear and recommend Simms wading products:
We also recommend: