The fish are here!
Whether you're a fly-fisher or a spin angler, a serious trout chaser, or a novice who gets out once or twice a year, the waters of the Adirondacks hold fish that are just waiting for you. Here, trout whisperers mix with beginners - this is a place where everyone feels at home on the water. Success is a relative term, but most anglers come off the water with a smile on their face. It's a place where great fishing and the sublime colors of fall scenery collide to create a truly wonderful experience.
The Adirondacks’ fishing cycle
In the Adirondacks, April 1 is opening day for fishing after a long, cold winter. Many anglers, from novice to expert, itch to get out onto the Ausable River to experience its wonders. April brings gradually warmer temperatures and longer days, and a lot of water with the melting snow and ice. May is an excellent time for fishing, as the ice is gone and the fish are a little more lively. In June, you will find the water is still quite cool as the snowmelt from the High Peaks continues, but fishing is heating up and rich hatches of natural fish food occur regularly. In July and August, the water temperatures rise and fishing will be at it's best early or late in the day. Once autumn arrives in September and October, the river is less crowded and the foliage is a beautiful backdrop for your adventures in the river.
It's all about that trout
The elusive brook trout is what brings many anglers to the West Branch Ausable River. Fishing the West Branch for trout is an experience most fishermen have sought the majority of their lives. The state stocks numerous sections of the river each year with brown, rainbow, and brook trout, and native populations thrive as well. To help protect the natives, the state also imposes catch-and-release and artificial lures only sections of the river.
While the West Branch offers trout, there are several other species of fish in nearby waterbodies like landlocked salmon, lake trout, splake, bass, pike, walleye, perch, and sunfish. We are fortunate in the Adirondacks to be surrounded by lakes and rivers - our water is plentiful. The choice of where to fish can be your way to experience great angling while enjoying the beauty of the mountains.
Places like Taylor Pond are noted for large lake trout. Franklin Falls Flow is a section of the Saranac River located just over the backside of Whiteface Mountain and is home to some prize walleye. This is only a 15-minute ride from Wilmington. It's an area appreciated by fishermen and women seeking a quieter setting on flatwater.
So, in essence, the choice is yours where to begin your fishing vacation. You can be certain to find still or moving water most anywhere; from roadside wading rivers to peaceful backcountry ponds.
New York's best fly fishing
It's the diversity of the Ausable River that allures many anglers to explore its famous waters. What stands out the most for the West Branch is the large amount of pocket water. It's well known to fishermen that this is where the best trout live. The river holds a vast amount of oxygen from water tumbling over the rocks and boulders, which provide plenty of hiding places, food, and resting spots for fish. The oxygen and shade from the tree cover help the survival of the fish during the warmer months. The river also harbors slower sections that are deep with undercut banks just waiting for your fly to drop in.
One should also consider the East Branch Ausable River, above and below the town of Ausable Forks, where you can find thicker pocket water sections that hold trout. This same branch in the town of Keene offers a bit more opportunity as well. Far too often anglers miss these areas as the East Branch stands in the shadows the West Branch. However, public access is more abundant along the West Branch. If you are traveling here for a true fishing trip, we suggest speaking with a local guide to ensure you get to all of the best locations.
The Whiteface Region has plenty of lodging properties and dining options catering to anglers. Chances are you'll run into someone who knows a thing or two about fishing in the area. If chance encounters at restaurants aren't sure enough, there are numerous fly shops around Wilmington. Here, you can definitely get advice, and maybe some new equipment, too! Guides and shop owners can likely tell you which patterns are working best and at what time, plus you can stock up on locally-tied flies that are famed the world over.
Fishing map of the Ausable River
Our map of the Ausable River points out many of the fishing hot spots, giving you great ideas about where to start your fishing trip in the Adirondacks! Click below to download the map.
Leave No Trace and Love Your ADK Pledge
The magic of the Adirondacks is the result of previous generations taking a long view and protecting the mountains, lakes, and rivers within the Blue Line. That tradition continues today as we support and encourage everyone to practice Leave No Trace ethics, which help protect the lands and waters of the Adirondacks.