Monday, March 12, 2012

The 2012 West Grand Experience

I really don't know how it happened, but the last four weeks found three weekend ice fishing trips.  The first took us to Pleasant Pond in Island Falls, while the second became an adventure to central Maine in pursuit of a northern pike on North Pond.  Out of nowhere a third voyage surfaced with an invite from Uncle Kim, the esteemed and self-appointed mayor of Grand Lake Stream and Township 27.  West Grand Lake, a regular mainstay and frequented lake, had been scratched of the list of hard water Febauchery™ fishing.  It once again found itself in the ice fishing cross hairs...

March did however prove to enter like a lion as a storm threatened to ruin any plans.  Hardly deterred, Ryan and I hit the road armed with the essential amenities of chaos that included three snowmobiles.  Why three, why not?  Two newbies would be joining us on this opportunity and West Grand would be their first, that in itself is remarkable for they would be chasing salmon and lake trout on one of Maine premier lakes.  Joe and Peter followed as we chirped and chatted on the radios the entire two hour trip...

Peter's first fish- landlocked salmon
The forecast was quite blunt... a load of rain Saturday with temperatures in the 40's and a beautiful day on Sunday with temperatures in the 40's.  Rather than simply choose common sense, we broke out of the landing and onto the ice facing light snow.  The question would be, when does it turn over?

In short time we found the answer, but our efforts towards a nice landlocked salmon or hefty laker would not be compromised.  Within a few flags, hit baits, and no luck, we finally hit pay dirt with Peter's first ever fish.

After two hours of rain winning at the expense of our demise, a vote determined our return to the mayor's house for the night.  The state basketball game would also be on the docket; all of us graduated from Jonesport-Beals and none of us intended to miss the game.  Our hastily scheduled trip forced our truancy, so our support left us accepting the next best thing as the Royals dominated Forest Hills for the 10th state title in just over four decades.

The next morning bore greater promise as the clouds whispered east while the wind turned westerly.  Our chosen location offered success from past years, however more salmon than lake trout were to be expected.  Ryan and Peter took off one way drilling holes with the ferocity of a lion while Joe and I quietly moved south of our base camp.  It had been years since I fished this flat next to the submerged point, but I knew that I didn't want to be near Ryan or Peter.  For that, I promised Joe a fish before all were set and potentially one before the two of us were in.

Joe's first ever lake trout
Sure enough, after ten drilled holes and setting up five ice fishing tip ups it happened.  The fourth flag rose behind us and the reel was churning.  Joe had the honor of this fish for he was new to this game and for him to catch a fish greatly superseded my own satisfaction.  My goal for him to catch a fish or two, maybe three if things looked up.

I have been video taping the bulk of the catches this year, but in no way was the camera set up and Joe only has a photo to remember this decent trout.

After that first flag, everything else relished in perfection.  A flag here, a salmon there, two in two minutes, and the fish were on!  Even Ryan, witnessing this act of impressiveness, opted to chase the gravy and brought two ice traps over.  It would be fair to suggest that we were dealing with a flag and usually a fish every 20 minutes for the entire morning.  Never had I seen salmon fishing like this, and I've been part of some serious stories.  Ryan and I understood the magnitude of this feat, I'm not sure if our partners realized the comparative excellence witnessed on the ice.  I suppose they'll understand when they find themselves on a day without a flag.

I'll let the video below show the bulk of our success.  Within my three weekends of ice fishing, enough great memories were created to share down the road.  Great friends, great fishing, and great times already leave memories only to make me itch for next year.  One more potential trip is in the works, but time, temperature, and the spring thaw may change that.  We will see and until next time, take care.

The Downeast Duckhunter


  1. You have had a good year bud!

  2. That's a nice string of fish Duckman..and I'm PO'D! .. Before Febauchery even took place, I was sitting at the same table with Rabid's father, enjoying a great Italian meal, and I specifically asked if West Grand was on the menu. To which Rabid Sr. blurted, "It's out." Ok I've learned my lesson. Next February I'm getting my information from you or Rabid..And I want in..PLEASE!!!??!!

  3. Great fish tales and what a wonderful time spent with friends and family. Nice catch!

  4. Trey and Terry, it's been a good finish to a decent year on the ice. These past few weeks certainly have made up for the lack of action during the early season.

    PBM, you may want to get your information from me simply because I can't even trust Rabid. We'll dial you in on the next hard water venture at GLS.

    Thanks for swinging by everyone.

  5. Nice work with the video camera Spielberg... Seriously though, you guys were on fire! How are the lakers as table fare?

  6. Kevin, lakers aren't bad and I really like the smaller ones. I'm cautious about eating the larger ones simply because they are quite a bit older and certainly have a higher concentration mercury than a little brook trout.

    I will say that if I had to choose between the mayor's smoked salmon or lake trout and I will take the trout ten times out of ten.

    Will be checking the mail tomorrow man, looking forward to the goods.


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