Luther Choate is a born woodsman. He’s a hunter, trapper, lobster men, harvester of blood worms, and clams. Luther has the distinction of being Maine’s pioneer of elver fishing. In 1971 he was contacted by a biologist from Sea & Shore Fisheries to see if he was interested in an experimental pioneering project to evaluate if there was a worthwhile elver and glass eel fishery in Maine rivers. Later, taking up on the biologist offer, Luther’s and his brother George began building some homemade traps of screen and wood. Now Luther makes his own nets from start to finish. At that time Luther did not believe that there was an established elver market in New England, but he and his brother started looking into one. Luther said it took awhile for elver fishing to become worthwhile. There was a lot of trial and error. Ultimately, glass eel were shipped to Japan and China. There they were raised in pens to a marketable eel which is about 18 inches in length. On the first day of elver fishing March 22, Luther invited me to observe him setting up his two elver nets for an hour or two. The truth is though I volunteered to go with him for the whole day to photograph the process of setting his nets (fykes) in an Addison brook. A special thanks to Luther and his wife Donna for their hospitality. “Elver fishing is fun” Luther remarked. “It is fun to open the trap and see elvers there”, he added.
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