Saturday, May 30, 2009

Out and about on the river at Grand Lake Stream

Tying on a fly in the Meadow, this is at the lower end of the river, a good trail from the Picnic Area will take you here

Looking down into Little Falls and the "Bathtub" one of the best spots on the river. You have to wade across to the little beach to where this angler is standing. Be very careful, it can be treacherous. A wading staff is a must and at higher flows it can be very dangerous.

My buddy, Don, fishing from the trail side of Little Falls, this side can also be productive.

A view from the beach below Little Falls at the "Bathtub"

Drifting a nymph through a productive run in the Picnic Area. This angler is on the opposite shore which is accessible by wading across or walking up from the beach at Little Falls. Once again, wading here can be treacherous even at moderate flows.

Did I mention that it can get crowded? This is the Hatchery Pool with a mere five anglers, I've seen at least twice as many in this pool at times. The Hatchery pool is almost always crowded, and with good reason, it always holds fish.

A view over my shoulder at the Dam Pool, the next most popular pool on the river, a longstanding opening day tradition. This pool always has fish and can provide some of the best fishing on the river. I am standing close to "Uphams Corner" named for Bob Upham, long time resident flytyer. Before the reconfiguration of flows at the Dam, which scoured out the bottom, this spot offered a great swing on streamer fly's that could bring jarring strikes from Salmon.

A view of the lower end of the Dam Pool with an airborn salmon, there is a walking trail on the opposite shore visible here. That shoreline also offers good fishing.

Finally, a view of West Grand Lake from the dam, the docks here provide good casting opportunities and the opposite shore has a nice gravel beach from which to fish. This area is popular in the fall as salmon prepare to spawn in the shallows.

My thanks again to Richard Procopio, for these great images, please remember that they are all copyright and cannot be reproduced without Richards permission.

Some Nymphs

I would never go fishing, anywhere, without Pheasant tail nymphs. Perhaps the most productive nymph of all time. Thanks to Frank Sawyer. This variation is tied with a green flashback and epoxy shellback.

Bead head nymphs work very well, gold and copper, this fly has a glass bead and an epoxy shellback, much like a "Copper John" which is also a very popular fly at GLS.

Caddis patterns are most productive, but mayfly and stonefly nymphs are also very effective. This is a simple caddis pupa tied with V Rib and a sparkle underbody.

This fly I call a "Waydowner" I first tied this about 10 years ago and it was published in "Trout Flies of the East" it is very productive. I tie it with twisted Antron yarn. It works well at GLS.

So what flies are good at GLS?

This little fly is a real favorite of mine. A "Bleeding Minnow" or "Red and White" I tie this in small sizes, 8 and 10 mostly. It is tied from Polar Fiber, a synthetic material and is so translucent in the water it is almost ghost like. A couple of years ago I caught 19 salmon between the Corporation and the Picnic area on this fly without changing it once.
This is a Black Ghost, a Herb Welch pattern (thanks for the correction, Chris). Possibly the most popular and widely fished streamer fly in Maine. This is the featherwing version, it also fishes very well as a marabou variation.
This fly is a Colonel Bates, a long time favorite of mine for GLS. I caught my first GLS salmon on this fly about 16 years ago, a Carrie Stevens pattern, named for Colonel Joseph Bates, noted Salmon angler and author.
A Barnes Special is by far the most popular streamer used on Grand Lake Stream, this is not the traditional dressing but works very well. This fly is tied on a Daiichi 2370, a straight eye 3XL hook, size 4.

Friday, May 15, 2009

How about some fish pictures?

My friend Joel with a nice GLS salmon

Me with a nice fish at the Dam Pool

A good fish from the Hatchery Pool

The Pine Tree Store

The Pine Tree Store, owned and operated by the dynamic duo of Kurt and Kathy, breakfast sandwiches, beer, groceries, fishing tackle and most important of all, fishing reports and water levels. This picture was taken years ago, Kathy has gotten even better looking, Kurt, alas, has remained the same.

All the picture on this Blog are the property of Richard V. Procopio and are copyright. Richard is my fishing buddy but he is also a professional photographer and makes his living with his camera. Please respect his copyright, if you would like to buy any of these images please contact Richard at "" Here are some picture from Grand Lake Stream.

A little bit about Grand Lake Stream

Let's begin with Grand Lake Stream. Grand Lake Stream is a small village in Downeast Maine. It is known mostly for its Land Locked Salmon fishing and the locally made hand crafted canoes that bear the name "Grandlakers" I'll tell you a little about each.

Landlocked salmon are a freshwater form of the sea-run Atlantic salmon.

Prior to 1868, landlocked salmon populations occurred in only four river basins in Maine: the St. Croix, including West Grand Lake in Washington County; the Union, including Green Lake in Hancock County; the Penobscot, including Sebec Lake in Piscataquis County; and the Presumpscot, including Sebago Lake in Cumberland County. Average size is 16 to 18 inches and 1 to 1½ pounds, but 3-5-pound fish are not uncommon.

I love fishing for landlocked salmon, they are strong, acrobatic and aggressive. their main forage food is smelt, a small baifish common in Maine lakes. The abundance of smelt let to the development of Maine's famous streamer fly tradition, most notably Carrie Stevens and her famous "Grey Ghost" pattern. Streamer flies are tied to resemble smelt and other baitfish, generally fished Across and downstream, then stripped back, streamer fishing can bring savage strikes that make streamer fishing perhaps the most popular method of fishing for land locked salmon. In addition to streamer flies, landlocks can also be caught on nymphs and dry flies. Streamers tend to rule in the heavier flows of spring while dries and nymphs rule in summer . Fall is a mix of streamer and nymph fishing. Landlocks can be as difficult to fool as brown trout, in heavily fished areas only the most carefully presented dryfly or nymph will fool a wily salmon, often flies in sizes 20 or 22 are the only flies that will work.

Grand Lake Stream itself is a short stretch of river that flows from the dam at West Grand Lake downstream to Big Lake, a distance of about three miles. Those three miles, however, are fabled waters. All of the river provides fishing opportunities, from the Dam pool at the head of the river to the Meadow in the lower reaches, the river is a collection of famous pools, the Hatchery Pool, the Evening Pool, The Glide, Big Falls, The Corporation, The Picnic Area, The Bathtub and Little Falls. They all hold wonderful memories for me, and for countless others. I have fished Grand Lake Stream in the Spring and Fall for fifteen years. I have been there when the fishing was spectacular and also when you could not buy a fish. The flows from the dam dictate the quality of the fishing, a strong surge of water in the spring will bring fresh salmon up from the lake and into the river, if the flows are low the fishing will be slow. Strong flows will bring fresh fish, on the move and aggressive.

The town of Grand Lake Stream has a population of about 120 year round residents, There are an abundance of fishing guides and sporting camps, perhaps the most famous of these is Weatherby's. I always stay at Grand Lake Stream Camps, owned by Gary and Nancy Betz, theirs are the oldest sporting camps on the river, and I mean "on the river" The camps are nestled right on the river bank, all the cabins are named for ducks, The Wood Duck, The Mallard, etc. The cabins are rustic but very comfortable, I sleep as well in the Wood Duck as I do in my bed at home. Obviously I don't travel to Grand Lake Stream alone, my friends Donny, Scotty and Jeff all share the "Wood Duck" other friends like Richard and Roy often come for a few days. Because of the quality of the fishing and the shortness of the river, it can get pretty crowded, especially during the peak times. despite the crowds you can usually find a place to fish, the crowds tend to congregate in the most popular and easiest to access pools like the Dam Pool or the Hatchery Pool, a short walk or a visit to some of the more difficult pools to access can bring rewards.