When we originally planned our trip and saw where Grand Lake Stream was located, we really weren’t sure what to expect because it’s in a fairly remote part of Maine with no campgrounds. We booked a cabin along the “Canal” at Canal Side Cabins with John and Mary Arcaro. John is a Master Maine Registered Guide, which is an official designation for Maine guides. John is a “Master” because he holds guide certifications in fishing, hunting and recreation. It turns out there are written tests, interviews and experience that factor into getting Maine guide certifications in each area.
When we told people we were headed to Grand Lake Stream to fish the river of the same name, we heard things like: that’s really “out there”; there are 82 residents and over 50 are guides; and, make sure you go to the Pine Tree Store. We turned off US 1 onto the one road that leads into Grand Lake Stream and drove about 10 miles to an intersection in town. There are only 5 streets in Grand Lake Stream, all of which are dead ends. In the middle of town sits the Pine Tree Store, which is part general store, part gas station and part diner.
When we booked the cabin with John and Mary, John told us he had a spot to park our RV while we stayed in the Spruce Cabin at Canal Side Cabins. Our cabin was absolutely perfect for us as we settled in and got ready to fish the next day with John.
We met John around 8am and headed for a spot behind the fish hatchery in town and began our day on the Stream. I was fishing a caddis pattern when I decided to mend my line and POW, a fish attacked my fly. I set the hook, had a big, landlocked salmon on, and after a short battle, he broke me off. I just shrugged as I looked over at John and Barb, who were looking out at the water and laughing. What I didn’t realize was the fish thought it was still hooked because it still had my fly in his mouth, and was putting on an aerial display. Barb and John had a good laugh since I never saw it.
We fished several different holes and spots along the Stream during the day, and for lunch, John took us to the counter at the Pine Tree Store. After lunch, we landed some smaller landlocked salmon and had such an incredible time fishing, learning tips/techniques from John and listening to the most hilarious stories you can imagine. John had us in stitches all day long.
The next night, we went to John and Mary’s home near our cabin, shared a beer or two and did our “Guide Talk” with John. John and Mary are the most friendly, hospitable and fun people you could ever meet. We get a lot of our guides saying “won’t you adopt us and take us with you on your ‘Ramble'”, but for Barb and I, we wanted John and Mary to adopt us and let us hang out with them in Grand Lake Stream.
We will certainly be back to fish GLS again, and for sure, stay at Canal Side Cabins, fish with John, and share more time with John and Mary. For now, we hope you enjoy a very funny and informative chat we had with John in the basement of their home.