3 anglers stood waist-deep in the clear waters of the fabled Dam Pool on a current morning, as Jeff McEvoy strolled up Middle Stroll, the path that sits among Grand Lake Stream and an adjacent canal.
All 3 gates at the dam that holds back West Grand Lake have been partially open, giving a favorable flow for the landlocked salmon that move into the river come spawning season.
The fish are large and burly at this time of year, and that is surely appealing to the anglers who locate their way to this specific spot nestled deep in the woods.
Also appealing: The mingling of red, yellow and orange leaves on trees that line the banks of the three-mile-lengthy stream that is a single of the state’s most effectively recognized fishing destinations.
McEvoy owns Weatherby’s, a hunting and fishing lodge that sits just up the hill, a handful of lengthy casts away from the stream. Most years, he spends a lot of time in October chasing his bird dogs — English cocker spaniels — as they sniff out ruffed grouse and woodcock.
This year, he’s nonetheless sidelined immediately after sustaining serious injuries when he fell 20 feet from a ladder back in July so he had time for a leisurely stroll along the popular stream.
Two of his dogs, Gus and Curly Fry, had acted as the welcoming committee on this day, as they hopped to and fro, at some point agreeing to pose for images when McEvoy grabbed a handful of treats he’d use to bribe them with.
(Curly Fry, for the record, is my dog Teddy’s sister, and she shares his sweet disposition. It was good to catch up with her, and to see how comparable the two pooches nonetheless are).
A single angler hooked and landed a salmon at Dam Pool prior to McEvoy led the way downstream to Hatchery Pool, exactly where guide Deryn LaComb stood among a pair of consumers from Wyoming who’d traveled across the nation to take a look at the stream they’d heard so significantly about.
The salmon are king right here in the stream, which is open to fishing till Oct. 20, and traveling anglers generally take a look at throughout the heat of the summer time to chase smallmouth bass in the nearby lakes, but McEvoy mentioned you never ever genuinely know what you are going to catch.
“Last summer time we had a client who was fishing ideal right here and she hooked a salmon,” McEvoy mentioned. “Then a massive lake trout came up and grabbed the salmon. Snapped the line.”
The lady was none also pleased, McEvoy mentioned, and unleashed a stream of invective that prevented him from sharing video of the encounter.
Later that week, McEvoy identified himself staring down at the monster lake trout, which he mentioned was about four feet lengthy.
Fresh off a southern saltwater trip, exactly where he was generally fishing close to sharks, McEvoy mentioned he started backing away from the togue as it got closer and closer to him.
“Finally, I had to cease and comprehend, there are no sharks in Grand Lake Stream,” McEvoy mentioned with a laugh.
Nearby, Derik Lee — a self-described “professional fish wrangler” at the Grand Lake Stream State Fish Hatchery — did just that, carrying buckets of brook trout from the hatchery to a waiting truck. From there, the trout have been headed to 3 various Down East waters, exactly where they’d deliver some fishing possibilities for anglers subsequent spring.
An occasional trout flopped out of the bucket onto the hatchery floor, but these escapees have been promptly scooped up and tossed into the tank with its hatchery mates.
Following watching the action there for a half hour, McEvoy returned to Weatherby’s, and photographer Linda Coan O’Kresik and I promised to send him some shots of the photogenic cockers that she’d taken when we arrived.
Then we headed farther downstream, to a spot exactly where I hoped I’d locate some uncrowded water.
At Tiny Falls, we identified just that. A single other truck was in the parking lot, but the angler was nowhere to be identified. I promptly strung up my fly rod, attached a red and white streamer fly, and hopped onto a streamside rock to boost my casting angle.
We had a further story to report on, and a further hour of driving prior to we got there. There was no time to place on waders and completely gear up.
There was, having said that, adequate time to make a handful of largely ceremonial casts into the stream beneath the falls.
Not to catch a fish (though that would have been great, also).
But just to say I had. Following a hectic summer time and an equally busy starting of autumn, it had been really a even though because I’d had a opportunity to fish.
So fish, I did, as the clear, cool water of Grand Lake Stream tumbled more than the boulders and rushed previous.
Then, significantly also quickly, it was time to pack up and hit the road once more, with a further adventure awaiting.
John Holyoke can be reached at [email protected] or 207-990-8214. Stick to him on Twitter @JohnHolyoke. His initial book, “Evergreens,” will be released by Islandport Press in October.