It's a sure sign of spring when fly fishermen flow to the Adirondacks' Whiteface Region, where the season has begun and the industry's signature event is ready to cast off.
The Whiteface Region is no secret to avid fly fishermen. Surrounded by the spectacular Adirondack Mountains, the legendary Ausable River is one of the most magnificent fly fishing destinations in the northeast. 35 miles of water include classic pools, faster pockets and riffles that hide browns, brookies and rainbows.
Adirondack weather is warming up, and the fish are looking up! And while the famed West Branch of the Ausable offers year-round catch-and-release areas, the April opening of trout season is a catalyst to encourage anglers to dust of that fly reel.
So now that it's here, it's time to start planning a getaway to the Adirondacks, the Ausable and some of its lesser-known neighboring streams.
Springtime Fishing Tips
The weather: While the mercury is definitely inching its way up, it's not in full summer mode just yet and anglers are encouraged to take several layers along - and be prepared to use any and/or all of them throughout the day and its changing temperatures.
Wading safely: Even though there is no danger of falling out of a boat or canoe on the river, be prepared for unexpected spills. It may take a while for anglers to get their "wading feet" under them at the beginning of the year and the water is definitely still cold, fueled by the snowmelt of the High Peaks. It is recommended that fishermen have a wading staff for better balance and, if in doubt, fish from shore.
Stay in the shallows: This works out well to avoid setting foot in the icy waters in early season, The fish will likely be found closer to shore anyway, requiring some stealth along the shorelines.
Nymph It: Early season isn't the best for dry flies; for spring, get nymphs and midge patterns deep into the water column. The insects, too, are shaking off their winter slumber and haven't had the chance to begin their life cycles in earnest.
Questions? - Consult an Expert: For any questions or gear / guiding needs talk to the experts, the Whiteface Region has several fishing guides to provide direction!
Where to Fish
West Branch of the Ausable River: There are several pools along the catch-and-release area to target, including Monument Falls and the Quarry Hole closer to Lake Placid. Downstream, give the Flume Pool and Betters' Pool a try.
Access along the river is good from Lake Placid downstream to Ausable Forks. Much of the river runs along Route 86 or the River Road in Essex County and is easily reached from the numerous pull-offs.
Regulations: There are some special regulations areas to be aware of, including two sections that have special "No-Kill" regulations: the mouth of Holcomb Pond outlet downstream to marked boundary 2.2 miles downstream of Monument Falls and the Whiteface Ski Center bridge downstream to the Route 86 bridge at the Flume.
• Inside the special area, these regulations apply: the stream is open all year, it's all catch and release and limited to artificial lures only.
• Outside of the special regulations area, follow the April 1-Oct. 15 season, with a daily limit of 5. Any size fish may be taken.
East Branch of the Ausable River: Access here is good, as well, as the river flows from Keene to AuSable Forks. The state will stock good number of yearling brook, rainbow and brown trout here in the spring and into June in the towns of Keene and Jay. Essex County adds some 2- and 3-year-old rainbows and brookies as well. Regular state fishing regulations apply here.
2 Flies, 2 Days, 1 River
Don't miss the SIGNATURE spring angling event: The annual Ausable River Two-fly Fly Fishing Competition is held in Mid-May each year on the legendary West Branch of the Ausable River.
Plan a fishing trip to the Whiteface Region and world-renowned Ausable River. Check out the variety of lodging packages!
Counting down to warm-weather fun around the ADKs. Our bloggers highlight some fun happenings: