Saturday, August 31, 2013

My first trip to the Ausable River

New York Aster
This may sound strange for someone who fishes the Adirondacks quite frequently, but I've never fished the Ausable River.  But that all changed this past week.  The High Peaks region of the Adirondacks is a bit of a haul from where we visit but I really wanted fish the spawning ground for some of my favorite flies tied by Fran Betters.

The drive up into the mountains was one of the most beautifully scenic drives I've taken in a long while.  The road followed the path of a decent sized brook up through a steep gorge. Up in the rock faced walls you could see narrow waterfalls descending hundreds of feet to the floor of the valley below.   The road then traversed some wide valleys that gave you the impression of the vast mountain valleys of the west before heading into the town of Wilmington, NY and the home of White Face mountain.   I made mental note of some landscapes that I wanted to photograph on the ride back.

Pocket water of the Ausable

I arrived around noon at the Two Fly shop in Wilmington, NY and talked with Tom about flies and the river.  Tom was very helpful and suggested some places to start.  I would definitely recommend this shop to anyone heading to the Ausable.  I was a bit apprehensive about fishing this river alone, since it has a reputation for being a rough river to wade.  Armed with wading staff and felt soled boots with studs, I started out downstream of Wilmington.  The section I fished was an seemingly endless ribbon of pocket water.  I was able to find a couple decent sweet spots and managed to spot a trout taking small stuff off the surface (flying ants?).  I figured it had seen an isonychia at some point and tossed my comparadun over it and bang, I was into a decent wild brown that fought hard and used the strong current to it's advantage.  I managed to hook and drop another decent brown on a yellow stimulator after noticing a lot of stonefly casings on the rocks.  I probably should have broken out the Euro nymphing rod and used a heavy stonefly nymph but I really wanted to fish Ausable bombers and Wulffs.


Whiteface in the background

Wild Ausable Brown

After an afternoon of hopping around the large boulders to get to some fishable water, I was getting tired and hungry so I took a quick break for something to eat and headed upriver to look over a couple more spots.  The first spot I stopped at I was amazed at the size of the boulders along the river; some of which the size of a house!  It was getting toward dark and the bank looked a little steep to be wandering around alone in a unfamiliar environment, so I headed further upstream for a calmer section.

Early Evening View looking south into the high peaks region

I found an inviting pull off and a good sized pool and figured it was a good place to fish for an hour or so before I needed to head back.  I did see a couple of rises and noticed that there were a ton of flying ants swarming around me.  I figured the iso trick might work again since I did see a couple in the air, so I drifted the iso comparadun with an iso nymph dropper that I bought from Tom at the shop.  A nice fish jumped on the dropper as it drifted through the tail of the run.  I managed to work it to the net and got a decent look at a 14-16in brook trout before it broke off as I was trying to haul it into the net.  With that it was time to head back.  It was a great first experience with this famed river but I definitely felt like I had just touched the surface of this river.  I am already thinking about when I can return and take in more of this amazingly beautiful section of the Adirondack Park.

Final Panoramic view of the High peaks



12 comments:

  1. A lovely piece of writing mark, and great pics too.

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  2. Nice Mark, I enjoy that river as well. Some great technical fishing there, glad it treated you well on your first time there!

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    1. LQN - It a great looking river, but intimidating in some sections too!

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  3. Beautiful brown Mark! That brookie must have been something as well. I knew you'd like the Two Fly shop. Wonderful trip.

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    1. AT - thanks for the suggestion to stop at Two Fly shop! Would love to explore some of the feeder streams as well!

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  4. Glad that your introduction to the Ausable was a great one. I spent a week there in late June, enjoying the fly-fishing till the big rain happened. Each visit is an education.

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    1. Walt - when that river is full from rains it must be quite a sight (and sound)! Don't think I would be quick to wade it with all the rains the area had this past spring and early summer !

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  5. Nice going Mark.
    I don't know if your back yet, but I have a report on some flies you gave me.

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    1. Got back early this week, which flies ?

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