Friday, July 10, 2015

Adirondack Sampler

During a week in the Adirondacks, I was able to explore three diverse streams and enjoy a hike up Snowy Mountain with the family.  The three streams differed in their tannin levels, gradient and geology. Many may not realize the Adirondack hemlocks were sought out, felled and stripped of their bark to supply the local tanneries.  Streams that traverse these hemlock stands often are dark and stained.

A rain swollen stream

The first stream explored has crystal clear water and runs over the reddish rock of the Canadian Shield.  The day I visited the stream was quite high from several days of rain.  This meant that much of the stream would not be accessible since the high flow precluded hoping from boulder to boulder to fish both sides.  With a little work, I was able to find some areas that were fish-able and where brook trout were willing to come up and chase a Royal Wulff.  Several times I could see the back and orange flanks of a brook trout rise up out of the turbulent water.  One fish was particular entertaining to watch come up clear out of the water jumping over the Royal Wulff without connecting.  After sevearal attempts to hook the fish, I switched to a yellow neversink caddis since I had noticed a few small yellow stoneflies in the air and this fly the fish took with abandon.

White Campanion blooming along the banks

This fish came back for the yellow neversink caddis

The next day was clear and cool, a perfect day for hiking!  The family decided that we would climb Snowy mountain which is an 8 mile loop with about a 2000 vertical ascent.  It was a gorgeous day for a hike and the views from the fire tower were certainly worth the effort.  With all the recent rain the trail was more like a small river with water running everywhere and several challenging stream crossings.  

The amazing view north toward the High Peaks from Snowy mountain

The following day I met Todd to fish the high gradient tannin stained stream in the previous post. The reader may be interested in comparing the distinct coloration of the brook trout from each of these streams.

The second stream visited was a moderate gradient stream. This stream was also a lot higher then I usually see it and it was a pleasure fish it with such a good current. I've seen caddis on this stream many times before so I fished an brown elk hair caddis with good results rather than my usual Royal Wulff.  Several brook trout were brought to hand from the likely places indicating that the stream has wintered well.

A favorite spot I never pass by without running a fly under the tree

My final outing was a revisit to the first stream several days after the rains.  The flows were more moderate and I was able to navigate the rocks to fish more of the stream.  I started out with the Royal Wulff but after watching a couple fish look over the fly and return to the bottom, I switched to an Ausable Bomber, reasoning that a more naturally colored fly would do better under these conditions. The Ausable Bomber brought several nicely colored brook trout to the surface and then to my hands to be photographed and returned to the water.

Crystal clear water running over the ledges typical of the Canadian Shield

Notice the lighter coloring on these fish 

This day the Ausable Bomber was the ticket


  1. Mark,
    Lovely. We are so fortunate to be able to fish for the most beautiful of trout.
    Well done.

  2. Mark
    Why fish anywhere else when you have a place like this to fly fish? Thanks for sharing

    1. Bill - I am so fortunate to have mountain streams nearby, providing the beauty and solitude we all need in this fast paced world we live in! Today I am thankful for one of God's good gifts!

  3. Those brook trout are absolutely gorgeous! I've found that the northern brook trout tend to have more vibrant blue halos and pink spots. Going back to the first stream, I love when brook trout jump over my fly it's the funniest thing. I heard that it's some sort of a predation tactic they use to trap grasshoppers on the surface.

    1. RI brook trout - Brook trout are amazing creatures for sure. I love seeing the variation in color and hue of these fish were ever I am able to find them. Their eagerness to take a fly off the surface at almost any time of the year makes fishing for them so entertaining!

  4. Beautiful stream and fish. It's obvious why you like to go there.

  5. RKM - yes sir! Two words describe the Adirondacks for me ...wet and wild

  6. Really nice report, Mark. Takes me back to pleasant hiking on Snowy Mtn.!

    1. Thanks Walt. So you've been up Snowy? With all the water coming down off the mountain there were a couple of streams that looked intriguing and got me wondering if....