Slowly Warming Fish of Mid Late April
Today saw the first break in cold weather for nearly 3 weeks, the day dawned with a bright blue sky and warm temperatures to go into the upper 50's F.
I decided to go give a small tributary of the East branch of the Ausable a try, This was my chance to fish clear and near normal level water before all the snow begins to melt from our last Nor'easter storm which left nearly 12" - 15" of snow on the ground.
Arriving at the brook around noon, I found the water at a normal level with crystal clear conditions, I tied on a #8 Ugly and began to nymph each deep and slow pool putting the Ugly on or very near the bottom, after 1 hour I had caught and released 2 brookies and 1 wild brown.
As the day kept getting warmer I noted the changing water clarity, it went from crystal clear to a dirty brown in a matter of 45 minutes, the day was done, I could not see pool structure and the plain fact that I did not know where each step was going as i waded up the brook. With 3 fish landed I was happy and hopped out of the brook and was on my way home.
Frozen Fish - Mid April - 2007
The beginning of April saw pleasant temperatures and good fishing conditions, as many who live in Northern NY know winter may still rear her face and put a late cold grip on the rivers and streams....winter came back with light snows and cold temperatures following up to a very late Nor'easter hitting April 15th and continuing into the 16th.
Not having fished since the 2nd of April with dismal conditions making myself second guess fishing conditions, I decided to give April 14th a shot, considering that a huge snowstorm was on the way only to make a fishing trip a difficult adventure.
I fished a small freestone brook with pocket water and some large pools, the water temperature was 38 F and at an excellent level with great clarity. The trip consisted of covering nearly .75 miles of water while carefully nymphing every good looking pocket and pool nearly 4 hours with a a grand total of 4 brookies and 2 wild browns , average size was 6" long. This is a trip is typical of early season fishing in the Northern ADKs, lots of casts and little action.
April 1st 2007 - NYS Opening Day
Opening day of NYS trout season witnessed a great day in store for all anglers, it was a sunny and warm morning slowly turning to afternoon showers in Northern NY.
With great expectations (dreaming for the last 2 weeks) of landing a single fish on opening day, I had made my plans for the day, the morning would see angling over a large river and the afternoon was dedicated to a smaller river. When I arrived at the large river I noted the water level was high, but the clarity was excellent.
Dipping the thermometer into the water and reading 38F I knew my work was cut out for me.
A high level of water made for difficult and tentative wading and all distinguishable structure of the river was gone, forcing me to fish close to the bank looking for quiet eddies. I tied a #2 Sirloin to a 9' 2x leader, added a large split shot with winter long expectations of fish slamming my fly on every cast and waded into the fast and high water looking for likely fish holding areas.
The method of presentation was to cast directly upstream or slightly up and across allowing my presentation to sink to the bottom through series of upstream mends. My targets were the head of an eddie or good looking structure and presenting the Sirloin as a large nymph, when I felt the Sirloin was on or near the bottom , I would use slow and short strips lifting my rod slightly , nearly imitating a jigging action and keeping the fly as deep as possible feeling that the fish were on the bottom and they were not going to chase a presentation, basically my train of thought was to give the fish a meal big enough to show interest in striking and put the fly right in their face and on the dinner plate.
The morning saw many casts with little action, I was able to manage 2 strikes which I connected on both, no shut out for 2007 opening day!!!!! The fish landed and released were both wild browns, one brown went 21" and the other was 17", good start to the 2007 season.
After TOO many casts and hard wading on the large river I happily packed up the show and traveled to a smaller stream. When arriving at the stream my pulse quickened as I saw the water was just slightly high and the clarity was excellent, I checked the water temperature.....41F. I excitedly put together my 7' 3 weight rod and tied on a # 8 Ausable Ugly to a 6.5' 3x leader and added a small split shot about 8" above the fly and waded into the water.
With the water being slightly high and excellent clarity the structure of the stream was clearly evident, once again I presented my fly either directly upstream or slightly up and across to the head of pockets that were deep and slow moving. The Ugly was allowed to dead drift near or on the bottom, this style of presentation and the proper fly resulted in 19 wild browns from 14" to 6" landed and released with at least another 6-8 missed. I noted as the weather changed from sunny to overcast and showers the fishing began to pick up .... a changing weather front usually results in good angling opportunities.
Nearly every spot that looked as if it had a potential to hold a fish generally resulted in a strike, this is the best opening day I have experienced in my entire fishing history.
Opening day 2007 saw 21 fish landed and released, all on my custom flies. This day is a story of picking your battles. You can choose to a wade high and fast water with many casts for the chance at trophy fish or wade a smaller water for the chances of good action with smaller fish and the fact that you have lessened the odds of being washed away in icy water. I chose to fight both battles, with the large river a challenge that put my skills to test and the smaller river giving me an enjoyable outing with outstanding success..... If I were to chose the battles at hand, the smaller river wins hands down!!!
March 22nd 2007
Today saw temperatures near the mid 50's F with little rain, I started the day snowboarding at Whiteface Mnt. Ski Center, as temps rose the the conditions deteriorated. The day of boarding was done and as I walked across the bridge spanning the West Branch of the Ausable to my truck, I noted the rivers clarity was slightly off color, it had a faint gray tone, with nearly 20 years plus of angling over this great trout river I knew it was the day to gear up and hit the water.
I stepped into the river at 12:15 pm and started swinging a big #2 Sirlion with a lot of weight. The prime hole I fished is known as Hemlock Run approx. .25 miles below the bridge at Whiteface. Hemlock Run is a classic winter holding pool, deep, slow moving and well oxygenated, this pool will stack fish over the winter months looking to survive the harsh conditions generally associated with an ADK winter. Within 45 minutes of slow meticulous working of the pool I landed 3 browns between 14"-16", what a great start to the 2007 season.
The majority of the river was free of ice from the Whiteface bridge to the Flume pool, this section of the river is open to angling year round with artificials only and a catch and release policy.