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Review of Maine's Rideout's Lodge by Chris M
This site is all about learning from other fishermen and fisherwomen about the amazing fishing in the Northeast. I contacted Chris M about his opinions on Maine's Rideout's Lodge on East Grand Lake. Chris took the time to provide so much information for anyone considering a Maine fishing trip.
GFN: How long have you been fishing at East Grand Lake and Rideout's?
My grandfather, my mom's father, took my father to East Grand Lake for the first time in 1982. They went several times and then life got in the way for a number of years. In 1993 my dad took me and his 2 brothers, all of our first times. I was 10.
We stayed at multiple camps throughout the early years 93'-05', but always took a ride around the lake on rainy days or when we were done fishing for the day, and would use the pay phone at Rideouts. We always marveled at the nice dock, restaurant, and nice cabins, relative to where we were staying. Eventually we said, why don't we just stay there? Sort of a 'it's never too late to fix a mistake' realization.
So I have been fishing the lake for 23 years, I am 33 now, and staying at Rideout's for the past 11 and counting, and most times multiple trips per year. May for landlocked salmon and lake trout after the ice out, June for the smallmouth bass spawn, and September for landlocked again.
GFN: What do you love about fishing this lake?
The peacefulness, the lack of other boats/people, the other wildlife around...bald eagles, moose, bear, foxes, and the signature loons...the character of each 'secret' spot and the names that go along with them...both the real names like Big English cove, Haley's cove, Patterson cove, and the family nicknames we have given to others, such as Bullfrog cove and the infamous Secret cove.
The fishing is so good because of the tranquility and lack of overfishing. Coming from New York and going to places like Lake George, it is like another planet. No jet skis, tubing, water skiing, speed boats, loud music. Those things are all fun and good, but not conducive to catching 200 smallies or 30 salmon a day.
GFN: What is your favorite species to fish for on the lake?
I was always partial to smallmouth bass growing up because of the constant catching all day long. If it went 5 minutes without a hit it was a rarity. As I got older I started to like and appreciate the landlocked salmon more so. Trolling the deeper cuts of the lake, being patient, and finally the more delicate and fun catch seems to be more rewarding now.
I love setting the hook and horsing in big smallies all day, up to 4 lbs, but having to have a little touch and watching a salmon jump after a bit of a longer wait is what I enjoy these days. We use the down riggers and every so often get a 9-10lb togue/laker on the line, maybe 1-2 a trip, and that leaves us all screaming and briefly disturbing the tranquil scene and animal life within a 3 mile radius, only for a moment though.
GFN: What are three lures/baits that you recommend to anyone fishing for that species on the lake?
Smallmouth - Rapala Original Floaters, orange, 5" in length for topwater. Mepps #3 pink/yellow. Black grubs with weighted head.
Landlocked Salmon - streamer flies on top, gray ghost. DB smelt, purple/silver for down riggers and on top. That's it, only 2.
GFN: On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 as the highest, how confident are you in recommending Rideout's Lodge to someone looking for a Maine fishing vacation? Why have you picked that answer?
10. It is not the Ritz, but I don't think anyone expects or wants that out of a Maine fishing vacation. The fishing cannot be better anywhere else, I refuse to believe it can possibly be better.
The rental boats and motors are much better than any we have dealt with in the past. The location on the lake is key, right in the middle of the best fishing spots. Other places we have stayed we endure an hour boat trip up to our favorite spots. You can bring your own boat, we now have a nice metal Lund with a 125 Mercury. We get to spots quick now.
The restaurant and common area is great for breakfast, dinner and relaxing with a drink after a long day of catching a ton of fish. The people, now Jim Brown and team, are very friendly and will always accommodate their guests. The cabins have everything you need, and I always have my best sleep of the year here, although that may be the long days and unmatched fresh Maine air.
They will also provide a guide for you if you have never been before, as it does take some time to figure out the lake, especially with some slightly underwater rocks right out in the middle.
GFN: What are the three best features of Rideouts?
Location on the lake and access to best spots, restaurant/food/staff, cabins/dock
GFN: What are the most important things about fishing at Rideout's and East Grand Lake that someone who has never been there should know?
You should know that there is nothing, and I mean nothing, else around. So if you are a casual fisherman who wants to go golfing or see the sights in between angling sessions, stay somewhere further south near civilization.
You should definitely get both the USA and Canadian licenses as there are some great spots to fish in Canada. The lake is split down the middle USA/Canada basically. The Canadian side should not be missed for the small cost of the license.
Our favorite thing on the lake is the shore lunch spots, marked by a teepee on a wooden sign. Our guides in the early days of coming used to do a full lunch on a fire with fried freshly caught fish, protein of choice, boiled potatoes and onions, and some homemade cookies for dessert. We recreate that now, but in about half the time so we can get back out there. You can't make the boiled potatoes and onions at home and have them taste the same, I don't know why but you just can't. And NY Strips, Skirt Steaks, and Veal Shanks are just absurdly amazing when cooked on a wood fire on the shores of East Grand.
GFN: Wow Chris. That was so much detail. Thank you very much.
I will leave you with some more photos provided by Chris from Rideout's Lodge on East Grand Lake.