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History Of Guiding In Maine

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

Guiding has a long and rich history in Maine, dating back to the early 19th century as sportsmen began venturing into the state's wilderness to hunt and fish. These early comers (Pioneers) quickly understood that navigating Maines rugged terrain and unpredictable weather in the backcountry required the expertise of local guides.

In the early days of guiding, most guides were Native Americans or French-Canadian immigrants who were intimately familiar with the land and its environments. These guides lead sportsmen deep into the Maine wilderness, often for weeks at a time, in search of game and fish. They provided shelter, food, and other provisions for their clients, as well as invaluable knowledge of the land and its natural resources.

When hunting and fishing in Maine grew fiercely, so too did the demand for skilled wilderness guides. It became common for the local families to make their living as guides, passing down their knowledge and expertise from generation to generation (My Grandfather, George Smith, was a Maine Guide). By the late 1800s, guiding had become a mature industry in Maine, with countless families and businesses offering their services to sportsmen from across the country and now across the world.

One of Maine's most famous and historic guides is Cornelia "Fly Rod" Crosby, she became the state's first registered guide in 1897. Crosby was a skilled angler and hunter who quickly gained a reputation as one of the best guides in the state. She was also a tireless advocate for Maine's natural resources, promoting conservation efforts and working to preserve the state's wilderness areas.

Today, guiding remains an important industry in Maine, with thousands of visitors coming to the state each year to hunt, fish, hike, raft, canoe and simply explore its natural beauty. While the industry has certainly evolved over the years, many guides are offering services beyond hunting and fishing, although the core values of skill, expertise, and a deep connection to the land remain at the heart of the guiding tradition in Maine.


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