100 Best: Grand Lake Stream

Location: Eastern Maine

Type of stream: Freestone tailwater

Angling methods Fly fishing only

Species: Landlocked salmon, brook trout, smallmouth bass

Access Easy

Season: April—mid-October Supporting

Services: Grand Lake Stream

Short take: Shortest, sweetest salmon river you’ll ever fish

Handicapped access: None on the stream, but a pier above the dam provides wheelchair-bound anglers a reasonable chance of hooking a landlocked salmon in the first two weeks of October.

Closest TU Chapter: None in the immediate area

Not much more than 15 miles west of the Canadian border in the south eastern corner of Maine flows Grand Lake Stream. Only 3.5 miles in length, this stream has it all, big runs of landlocked salmon, stocky native brook trout, and below the Big Falls, smallmouth bass. Grand Lake Stream is that happy run which drains West Grand Lake into Big Lake. Beginning in mid-April and lasting until the end of May, Grand Lake Stream is filled with landlocked salmon feeding on smelt run up from Big Lake. Big brookies prowl the river then too, but they play second fiddle in the heavy spring melt flows.

By early June, salmon are drifting into the cool depths of Big Lake. As water levels recede brookies come out to play. Stow your sinking line-rigged 7 weight and your weighted streamers, unlimber your 5 weight, and unpack your dries and nymphs. When maples start to pull on their vermillion cloaks and hot coffee steams in the morning air, salmon move back into the stream to spawn.


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