Longtime outdoors writer and certified Maine Guide Tom Roth, seen here with an eight-point buck he bagged in November 2020, has a new book that takes readers on a year-long journey of his outdoor adventures. Contributed / Rene Lavoie

Catching his first fish when he was not yet 2, longtime outdoorsman Tom Roth fell in love with fishing and hunting at a young age and has long felt at home outdoors.

Roth, who has been a columnist for The Maine Sportsman for 25 years and has written the monthly Lakes Region Sportsman column for the Lakes Region Weekly for the last two, has a new book out about that lifelong passion and the many places it has taken him.

Tom Roth, of Raymond, caught his first fish at age 20 months, launching a lifelong love of fishing that he has shared with several generations of his family. Contributed / Tom Roth

“A Sporting Year in Maine,” published by North Country Press, is “a month-by-month journey in the year of a typical Maine outdoorsman,” Roth said. It includes wintertime stories of ice fishing, smelting and hunting for snowshoe hare; salmon fishing and turkey hunting in the spring; fishing for bass, lake trout and striper in the summer; and fall hunting for bear, moose, deer, pheasants and waterfowl.

“I try to stay very active throughout the year, whether it is deer season, bird season, ice fishing or open water fishing,” said Roth, who lives on Sebago Lake in Raymond. Roth has been fishing and hunting in Maine for 30 years.

The book also includes chapters on camp life, hunting dogs, boats and Sebago Lake and chronicles some of Roth’s adventures hunting and fishing trips in Canada and the Bahamas.

Being outdoors, particularly while fishing, bonded him with his father and grandfather when he was growing up, he said, and those experiences had a lasting impact.

“All these different things, shaped who I am,” said Roth, who retired from a long career in law enforcement in Auburn and Westbrook and now works as director of fraud operations for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

Many of the stories of outdoor adventure he “amassed” in his head over the years found its way into Roth’s book, which he said was inspired by “Twelve Months in Maine,” a 1977 book the late longtime Bangor Daily News outdoor writer Bud Leavitt.

“I agreed to publish Tom’s book because it’s exactly the type of book that we look for at North Country Press,” publisher Patricia L. Newell said. “It’s a book that one would pack in their bag and head to camp with. Tom has added lots of facts, helpful hints, and tales of fishing, hunting, boating and enjoying life in the Maine outdoors – adding just the right balance of nostalgia and sentiment.”

Tom Roth’s “A Sporting Year in Maine” offers a month-by-month snapshot of the different hunting and fishing opportunities in Maine. The book, published by North Country Press, is expected out this month. Contributed / North Country Press

The book has been praised by Roth’s fellow outdoor writers and sportsmen. Will Lund, the editor of The Maine Sportsman, wrote in the forward to the book that Roth frequently reminds readers “‘to enjoy each day outdoors even as we anticipate and plan for the coming season.’ This book is clearly a labor of love for Tom, and it shows.”

Maine outdoor writer and naturalist Tom Seymour said reading the book reminded him of “sitting around the table at camp with friends, discussing fishing, hunting and Maine life in general. His book has a folksy, conversational tone that will appeal to readers of all stripes.”

The late George Smith, former director of The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, said the book “will bring back many of your own memories of hunting and fishing adventures.”

While Roth has fished across the country and internationally, one of his favorite spots remains Sebago Lake, the state’s deepest and second-largest lake and a watershed that extends close to 50 miles from Standish to Bethel. He has lived on the shore of the lake full time for two years in what once was his parent’s seasonal cottage.

“It is really beautiful here year-round,” Roth said. “I grew up here for 30 years. It was my parents’ summer home so it’s a really special spot for me and my daughters. We call it our happy place.”

One of its attractions, Roth said, is the fishing. Sebago Lake is home to the largest land-locked salmon ever caught: a 22-pound, 8-ounce fish pulled from the lake in 1907.

“It was a fabled location in the late 1800s, early 1900s when people started traveling to Maine by rail car to come here and vacation,” Roth said.

The salmon numbers started to decline in the 1970s when lake trout were introduced from the Great Lakes, which in turn reduced the smelt population, a species salmon need to thrive.

Last year, he said, both salmon and lake trout were abundant.

Tom Roth holds up a 6.16-pound brown trout he caught April 19, 1995, on Long Lake in Harrison. Contributed / Rene Lavoie

To share his love of the lake, in 2019 Roth became a certified Maine Guide.

“I had a phenomenal year as a Guide last year. I introduced a lot of people to fishing. All the Guides did. I enjoy getting people to fish more so than I do fishing myself,” he said.

Notable guiding trips he made in 2020, he said, include an 80-year-old’s birthday party, a fishing trip with veterans and a father/son duo who had come from France to check out Sebago Lake.

“The guiding thing is something I really enjoy,” he said.

In fact, those experience have given Roth another idea for a book about the Guides of Sebago Lake past and present and how the lake, its fishing and guiding has changed over the years.

The book, which Roth expects to be available for sale this month, can be ordered at northcountrypress.com/a-sporting-year-in-maine.

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