This is the time of year when open-water fishing usually isn't an option given weather conditions, and even when it is a possibility by now your outdoor focus has shifted to other things, notably bagging an Adirondack buck.
But every once in a while – and it seems to be occurring more often these days – there are windows of opportunity where not only can you get out and fish, you can fish in relative comfort.
And catch a few, too.
While the trout season, for instance, is closed under general statewide regulations, there are several waters were special regs exist that allow the dedicated angler to extend their season. Among them are the no-kill stretch of the West Branch of the Ausable River, as well as several tributaries to Lake Champlain (notably the Boquet River and the main stem of the Ausable).
Each fall – and even into the winter when Mother Nature permits – there's a fraternity of hardy anglers who continue to ply waters where it's permitted, and they do so with a reasonable amount of success. Certainly enough action to keep them out there even when the air is chilly and you're hesitant to wade more than knee-deep for fear of causing some kind of permanent damage.
On the Ausable, noted – I'd use the word "legendary" but she's not nearly old enough for that – river guide Rachel Finn has ventured out even on some bad-weather days. Rachel is the kind of fly fisher who can catch fish even where there are none, so it's perhaps no surprise that she continues to slap photos on Facebook of hefty browns and rainbows that have fallen to her customary flawless presentations. On some of those days, the fishing hasn't been just good enough to make it worthwhile; it's been darn good.
Too, the landlocked Atlantic salmon lovers continue to search for run-ups out of Lake Champlain, generally with occasional success. This fall's run isn't turning out to be a memorable one, but with salmon anglers even a remote possibility of a hook-up is enough to draw them to the water like a magnet.
There's also the perch-pulling crowd, some of whom keep their boats handy well into early winter in the event their favorite lake doesn't lock up and offer ice-fishing fun. It's not comfortable fishing, for sure, but it is usually productive. When it's truly raw out on the lake and you see a boat with a couple guys hunkered down with rods in their hand, it's a safe bet they're catching something.
So even into early winter on some years, brief breaks in the weather, combined with special regulations waters in some cases, allows for open-water fishing. Yes, the fire will feel good at the end of the day, but you won't regret getting out there one or two more times before the long Adirondacks winter.