This traditional Maine sporting camp has something for everyone. Calling it a sporting camp isn't complete. You wouldn't be wrong if you called it a wilderness lodge for the whole family or a summer vacation place on the water. You don't need to hunt or fish to enjoy Weatherby's.
If you are interested in a sporting camp Weatherby's certainly qualifies. The fishing is excellent in Grand Lake Stream. I've caught more than 30 fish a day on several occasions with several decent sized land locked salmon in the 18 to 22 inch range. It's called Grand Lake Stream not Grand Lake River, a fish in the 18-22 inch range is a challenge in this small, fast water. The fish get strong from fighting the current all their lives. A 19" fish can weigh 2 pounds, a 20" fish probably weighs 5 pounds, it's amazing how a little increase in length adds to the girth. I've also been skunked on days when the stars weren't aligned. The water is so clear you can see the salmon holding in the current. This makes it easier to survive a slow day.
While the stream is famous for salmon there are other fish to be caught. Some of the less frequent catches come to the stream from Grand Lake or the flowage to the Atlantic Ocean. During 10 years of fishing I've had the good fortune of catching one Atlantic Salmon! Slightly more frequent have been catches of Lake Trout and large Whitefish. Both of these are a challenge to land in swift currents. Brook trout can be caught at times as well as Small Mouth Bass in the dam pool.
Many huge dark fish can be seen holding in the tail waters of the dam pool. Let others fish that spot, those fish are suckers, notable by their dark color and thick pectoral fins. Salmon will be holding a little downstream of the suckers, feeding on sucker eggs in the spring and on bottom dwelling insects in the fall. The salmon will be harder to see and a light green color. Sometimes it's easier to see their shadow first and then the fish.
Pick a rock off the bottom, it will be covered with Caddis larvae. Unless the fish are rising the caddis larvae will be your best gauge to match the hatch. Check the rocks downstream as well. The caddis will be there but the color and size will be different. A Brassie or a Copper John of the appropriate size and color are good choices but they must get to the bottom. If you are not catching fish make sure your leader isn't drifting ahead of your fly! For dry fly fishing a caddis emerger fished in the surface film will work most of the time. I like a parachute version on a curved hook. If the fish are rising you have to match the hatch. Fishing during a Hendrickson hatch can be incredible and sometimes frustrating. The air can be full of Mayflys but the salmon are rising to tiny black caddis or midges. If you like to use streamers then a Wooly Bugger is hard to beat. Jeff stocks all these flies at the shop in the lodge.
I've always fished the stream but the lakes and rivers also have incredible fishing especially for Small Mouth Bass. Many nights in the dining room I'd hear stories of 80 fish days from guests that had a guide show them the way in a Grand Lake canoe. Maybe they exaggerated with 80 but even 30 or 40 fish would be a great day.
If you choose to visit in October the stream is still open for fishing and the hunting season for upland birds is also open. This makes for a nice mix of stories at the evening meal. While the fishing is catch and release the hunters get to keep what they shoot, partridge and woodcock. There have been many times when the day's quarry would be shared with all the guest in the dining room. If you get a chance to try the partridge jump at it. It's like the best chicken you've ever had. Woodcock may not be to everyone's taste. The little medallions of meat look and taste like filet mignon, very rich!
I started out saying Weatherby's has something for everyone. I stayed several times with my wife who doesn't share my passion for fishing. She comes here to relax, read, sit by the fire in the lodge or our cabin. We share a picnic lunch on the banks of the stream at the "picnic pool". There are opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, tubing or swimming in the lake and stream. Walking, hiking, nature watching are right outside your door. The lodge is in a very tiny village, I think there are 4 stop signs! A few minutes by car and you can be in the wilderness with the eagles, moose, and bears.
The food is wonderful. The lodge is a museum of sporting history from the 1800s with photos of famous celebrity guests lining the walls. A wonderful porch with rockers and swing seats for nice evenings and a cozy fire in the library for the cooler nights. The cabins are rustic and constantly being updated. You'll have your own little log cabin with hot water and shower, sometimes a bath. Heat comes from a fireplace or stove if you what to make the effort or make use of the propane heat.
I haven't said much about the people yet and I'm asking myself why. I'd like to include the people of Weatherby's in this review but I'm finding it hard to separate them from the guests. Many of them are from the local area and share the passions and interests of the guests. Not that they insert themselves into "your" visit but they fit in perfectly with your visit if you are open to that. It's been a pleasure meeting every one of them. Some year after year, some for just one season but all fondly remembered. The place is busy with guests and staff in the mornings and evenings. Each morning the driveway is lined with canoes and trailers hauled in by the guides hired for the day. The lodge staff is busy serving breakfast, delivering picnic lunches for the day, connecting guests with their guides, pulling the days equipment together for the big adventure. In the middle of this are the guests that are having a leisurely breakfast, enjoying the attention of the waitstaff and kitchen. In the evening it's tired guests getting their gear sorted, a hot shower and then gathering at the lodge waiting for the dinner bell to ring.
You can probably tell I've enjoyed my visits to Weatherby's.
- Also Known As:
- Weatherby`s Hotel Grand Lake Stream