Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Salmon of West Grand Lake

A bitter cold start to the morning delayed us very little, as we began our preparations to head up lake to Pineo Point chasing salmon and togue (lake trout). As we prepared to off load ATVs, snow sleds and gear at the town landing, a frozen break cable on DuckMan’s Big Bear had it stuck in the back of his truck. Despite multiple curses and attempts to unfreeze with a propane heater, we finally gave up the ghost and headed up lake a machine short. As my Grizzly 550 struggled to haul a full dog sled through the deep and frozen snow, I contemplated that perhaps a higher power had forced us to leave the ATV for a very good reason. As the sun rose higher in the sky, the mercury reached 35 F, the lake surface turned to mush and this divine intervention was proven when upon our late afternoon departure the Grizzly bogged down and had to be pushed out three separate times before we finally had to unhook the dog sled and rig it to one of the snow machines. Free of its shackles, it was finally able to ride above the slush and make it back to the landing.

Show me a map of West Grand Lake and it would be difficult for me to indicate a spot where I have fished and not caught many fine salmon and togue. Through the years, we have fished Whitney Cove, the Throughfare, Hardwood Island, Oxbrook, Pineo Point and many others. I am confident that when the fish are biting, anyone with a basic sense of direction and a good depth map can find success here with minimal effort. Need additional assistance drop me an e-mail and I will be happy to offer specifics on the spots mentioned above.

Pineo Point is part of a sheltered cove, just north of Hardwood Island. On days when the arctic winds are howling, this location is typically filled with scores of diehard ice fishermen, using the leeward shore for shelter. Small fire rings line the banks, were many have fished here before. Have no fear that this place is fished out and understand that even if you do not encounter fish on a particular day, there is a good chance that another day will be completely different. On our trip, it was reported that two days previously Pineo had been fished with little result, other than a few jigged white fish and a short salmon. Our arrival, however, on a rapidly dropping barometer, yielded a day full of salmon catching excitement for everyone. It just goes to show you how quickly your luck can sometimes change.

The resident Grand Lake Stream experts regularly fish for salmon on very lightweight tackle. What I mean to say is that they employ 6 lb fluorocarbon leaders, number 10 J hooks and either no or BB size split shot. With this set-up, I noted they never broke a line and rarely missed a strike. Our crew of individuals, averaged 8 to 10 lb fluorocarbon leaders, number 6 J or circle hooks and pea size sinkers on all lines. While we all enjoyed “good” fishing, I feel as though at the end of the day, fish totals were slightly in favor of the Grand Lakers.

One exception to our line and rigging rule was the Duckman, who rigged all of his lines with 550 lb parachute cord. It was his belief this degree of strength was necessary, so that he could yank fish free of the confines of the ice hole, keeping them from being devoured by hungry piranhas silently waiting below to attack any fish he might be lucky enough to catch. (Yes, he forgot to bring his medication . . . again.) This is not a fish catching technique that I endorse and please, please, please do not attempt to try this at home. Unfortunately, what this photo does not depict is this fish actually hitting him in the side of the head and rendering him unconscious for the remainder of the afternoon.

All in all everyone ended with enough salmon to fill our spring time smokers and a memory of a day on the ice with family and friends that rivaled the best I can remember. Though the ride back to the landing across the mush and slush will be long remembered, it was a small price to pay for such an unforgettable day.

*I also have TOPLESS trip pictures of Mr. President (please don't ask why) that I am willing to barter access to for a very fair price. Please try and control yourself ladies, there is only so much of the Duckman to go around! HEHEHE!

Next: Big Lake Mixed Bag


  1. I have it on good authority that the "Ice fish jerk 'em out of the water move" has been trademarked by Mr. President. You may be in violation of revealing company secrets. We will have someone from loss prevention contact you about this very soon.

  2. lol Poor Duckman.....
    Looks like a great time RO! :)

  3. Trey, Remember you are to badger Mr. President not me. I am subtracting one point from your Maine turkey hunting adventure.

  4. CG . . . Does your response mean you will be posting the first bid for the 1/2 naked Duckman (Mr. President) photographs?

  5. Great company..acceptable weather..and Grand Lake that's what I'm talkin' about!

  6. PBM, Except for the blizzard that blew in while we were ice fishing on Meddybemps forcing us to contemplate possibly eating Duckman . . . yes all was good!

  7. lol RO... Perhaps. Could you forward a sample pic to me?
    I'm sure Duckman's pic is worth more than you will receive in bids.
    It is very thoughtful of you to give us this opportunity. :)


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