We stayed at Weatherby’s. There were four of us: my buddy Dick, Jim and John (former board members of GBTU) and I.
The weather was great, as were the accommodations. It’s a long drive; two days were fully taken up with the driving up and back (about six to seven hours, including stops).
For fishing, we started at the Dam Pool and caught some landlockeds there, along with a few bass and one sunfish. Then, Dick and I went down to The Glide, and I got one salmon and two suckers (which really fight very well and are quite beautiful fish).
John and Jim went to the Hatchery Pool that day as well. We ended up at the Dam Pool at the end of the day. John and Jim are excellent fly fishers and experienced landlocked salmon anglers.
The next day, we fought the crowds at the Dam Pool for a short time and then went to the Hatchery Pool, where Dick, John and Jim caught a lot of landlocked salmon, and I couldn’t get a strike.
They were using small dries and nymphs, and I think my problem was that my own flies were #12, when I needed to be using #14 and #16. It made a big difference.
I caught about 12 fat brookies between 11 and 14 inches long, which was a nice consolation for a frustrating afternoon. In the evening, Dick and I went back to The Glide, where he got one landlocked, and I don’t think I had a strike there. Jim and John showed up a bit later, near dark, and were hammering salmon. I was impressed. It pays to know what you’re doing!
On Saturday, we went out with two guides. Dick and I went with Nathan, while Jim and John went with Jeff MacAvoy, the owner of Weatherby’s. We were after smallmouth bass in the various lakes in the area.
There were a lot of boats at the launching site at Big Lake, into which Grand Lake Stream flows, so we all took off for another set of lakes down all sorts of winding (unmarked) dirt roads that I could never find again!
We launched in West Grand Lake (I think), and rode quite a long ways in a stiff NW wind to Compass Lake, and, then, into Junior Lake, which are all interconnected.
We didn’t see Jeff, Jim and John except at lunch. Nathan took us down a lee shore, where we caught a mess of smallies on poppers. After lunch (sandwiches and fruit), we tried some other stretches. That was quite a fun break from the river.
The next day, we tried the Hatchery Pool for most of the morning but the fishing was slower. I got one brookie, and I think Jim and John got a few salmon each, and Dick caught about the same.
Then, John wanted to quit, so I got him to give me a ride to the Dam Pool, where he dropped me off. There were some people standing right in the middle of the best holding area in that pool, casting over against the far side to some fish they were seeing but not catching.
Finally, they left the pool, and sure enough, as I had hoped, all those fish that they had spooked over onto the far side of the pool came out into that holding area and I ended up catching six nice landlocked salmon and two smallmouth bass from that section.
Then, a mess of people came out, including a guide and client as well as the bozos who had been standing in the holding area, which they immediately did again while I was untangling a rat’s nest that I had made when hitting my fly rod with my two flies plus a few tin split shot. (Ugh, the tangles that three items can make are really quite daunting!)
The guide finally spoke to them, and they backed up a bit at that point. But, the fishing was pretty much over for me, as I had had such a nice time there in the previous two hours that I was ready to quit for our late lunch (or early dinner).
Indeed, I’d had such a nice time that afternoon that I opted not to fish at all during the last few hours of daylight with the others, who went back to The Glide. They said that the fishing there was slow, so I guess I didn’t miss too much. But what a nice time we all had together, with lots of great conversation and laughter.
I recommend trying Weatherby’s up there. They have cabins you can rent for about $65/day per person (for four to five people), and you can do all your own cooking and are totally independent. Or, you can pay considerably more to stay at the lodge. They also have a small fly shop there.
There is a small variety store nearby, but it’s not so well-stocked. I recommend buying whatever you plan to eat during your stay on the way up at a decent supermarket, or you might regret it.
The landlocked salmon fishing up there in May and June is fantastic, and I’m told that it’s also good there in the fall months.
Now we’re back in Ipswich and anticipating a fabulous weekend of striper fishing coming up. Tight lines, everyone!
P.S.: The photos are from the Weatherby’s website, since I’ve no photos of my own from this trip. Too busy fishing, I guess….