The 2023 Fly Fishing season was a challenge for Vermont anglers. With a major flood event in July and consistent rain throughout the summer, anglers were left with the challenge of finding fishable water. Once the waters receded, however, we experienced some of the best fly fishing Vermont has seen in decades.
To wrap up the busy 2023 season, Bob & Tina booked a landlocked Atlantic Salmon fly fishing adventure to Grand Lakes Stream Plantation in Washington County, Maine. They packed up the GMC with an arsenal of gear and flies to challenge the 3- mile stretch of Grand Lake Stream.
Grand Lake Stream is located in the northeast region of “Downeast” main (Grand Lakes Region) and flows for a 3-mile stretch between West Grand Lake and Big Lake. Revered by New England sportsman and sportswomen since the 1800’s, the area offers some of the best fishing and hunting New England has to offer.
Upon arrival, they quickly discovered if you’re looking to escape the hustle bustle of civilization and enjoy some amazing fishing, peace, and serenity, Grand Lake Stream is the perfect destination!
Bob and Tina, along with fishing partners Steve and Rebecca, stayed at the Grand Lake Lodge. Nestled in the pines, along the shores of West Grand Lake, the 1940’s era cabins and the property itself are very well maintained and have the modern amenities you will be looking for. Bob and Tina highly recommend you contact owners Susan and Paul to book your lodging when you schedule your fishing adventure to Grand Lake Stream. Susan and Paul live on site in the main cabin and were welcoming and gracious hosts.
It is important to note the seclusion of the area. You’ll need to bring your food and beverages for your stay. The small village store Pine Tree Store, located in the center of the tiny village, carries some provision and also has a small sandwich bar. To be sure, if your fly-fishing adventure must include dining out and/or bar hopping, this location may not be ideal for your fishing adventure.
They were surprised to find a fish hatchery right at Grand Lake Stream. While they were not able to tour the facility during their stay, Paul explained it is a very robust hatchery and the program is an integral part of the fisheries in Maine. Tina did a little research and discovered the Grand Lake Stream State Fish Hatchery began in 1936!
With no familiarity to the river, day one began with the St. Croix Imperial 9’ 6wt fly rod and Redington Run 5/6wt reel. The fly line was a Scientific Angler Mastery MPX fly line and the fly boxes were fully equipped with fall streamers patterns. With a CFS (cubic feet per second) 150 flow of water, it seemed this would not be the favored method, but in spite of the conditions the foursome managed to land 5 fish!
On day two, the plan was Euro-nymphing. Armed with a Douglas LRS 10’3wt fly rod, and Scientific Angler’s Euro-Nymphing Leader, they headed to the pocket water at the Big Falls Run. By lunch, only two fish had been landed and roughly a half dozen hooked and lost. The size 12 jig nymph anchor fly was accompanied by either a size 20 zebra midge, pheasant tail, or hare’s ear. Definitely were gaining on it.
It was a late start to fishing on day three. The hatchery pool looked good so they decided to take 3 different rod setups to the river. The streamer rods and Euro-nymph rods mentioned above were still in the arsenal, but they added a dry-fly setup including a ****R.L. Winston Pure 9’ 5wt with Scientific Angler Mastery Trout Floating Fly Line and 9’ 6x leader.
About 1:30 that afternoon, Bob noticed a subtle rise on the water going after what looked like a blue-winged olive (size 20). He switched the streamer rod for the dry fly setup. This proved to be the secret code! For the next three days the crew experienced some of the best fall dry fly fishing they had experienced all summer/fall. Dozens of the beautiful landlocked salmon were landed.
It was a great finale to a great fishing adventure!
**** Order your R.L. Winston Pure 9′ 5wt Fly Rod by Wednesday, November 15, 2023 and receive a FREE premier fly line valued at $100.00