Anyone who has traveled through the Whiteface Region knows that there is no better place to get outdoors and get close to nature. There’s an endless list of great things to do outside here, and an important part of that list is fishing. In the Whiteface Region, fishing is embraced and celebrated as an integral part of the culture. Deeply engrained in the region's culture, there's even an annual celebration of fishing with the Ausable Two Fly Challenge.
Any experienced angler knows that a long day of casting can leave you feeling like the next thing you want to catch is a meal and a cold drink. Luckily, there’s a great place to do both not far from any of the region’s awesome fishing spots. We paired up our favorite honey holes with our favorite water holes to take the guesswork out of your next fishing adventure. Mix and match, or try them all yourself. Either way, you won’t go wrong!
Monument Falls and R.F McDougal’s
Not far from Whiteface Mountain on Route 86, you will find a monument that commemorates the 50th and 100th anniversaries of the Adirondack Park. Near that monument is a small parking lot. As you might have guessed, this is where you'll find Monument Falls. With easy access from the parking lot to the Ausable River, this is a favorite area for many anglers. The Ausable River is internationally recognized for its quality trout fishing, and is stocked with brown, rainbow, and brook trout. The backdrop here is the awe-inspiring cliffs of the Wilmington Notch as you take in the relaxing sounds of the falls and the cars that pass by here.
Not far from Monument Falls is the Hungry Trout Resort, and located at the resort is the Hungry Trout’s very own bar, R.F. McDougal’s. This is the quintessential outdoorsman’s bar and was named by Outdoor Life magazine as one of America’s “Top Ten Fishing Bars.” Need we say more? Stop by for their tasty pub-style menu and their wide variety of beverages while you swap fishing stories with other anglers.
West Branch Ausable River / Wilmington Wild Forest and Pourman’s Taphouse
Monument Falls isn’t the only great spot to fish on Route 86. In fact, there are numerous quality spots to fish along the Wilmington Notch. Each spot offers something unique, and most offer convenient access to parking and the river itself, just off the highway.
If you’d like to combine a little hike with your fishing, then the Wilmington Wild Forest provides a quiet place to do some awesome fishing with a short walk.
Cooper Kiln Pond has 2.4 acres of surface area and contains wild native brook trout. The pond can be reached from the Cooper Kiln Pond Trailhead East.
Owens, Copperas, and Winch Ponds all offer quality fishing and a short and easy hike directly off of Route 86. The DEC stocks Owen Pond with brown trout, while Copperas Pond has a naturally reproducing population of lake and brook trout.
Conveniently, Pourman’s Taphouse is near all the action. Nestled at the four corners in Wilmington and in the shadow of Whiteface Mountain, Pourman’s offers 12 beers on tap, an all-American menu, live music on Saturdays, and discounted pizza on Flatbread Fridays, which makes this a perfect place to stop on your weekend fishing trip!
Wilmington Dam and Fratelli’s Pizza Restaurant and Bar II
To find the Wilmington Dam, it's quite simple. As you make your way to the center of Wilmington and the Wilmington Bridge, you will see a parking lot that sits alongside of the Whiteface Visitors Bureau and Riverside Thrift Store. From the parking lot, you will find a set of stairs that leads you to direct access to the river below directly in front of the Wilmington Dam. This is another favorite spot of local anglers, wide and wadable, and a great place to take in the beauty of Whiteface Mountain, which hovers over the dam in the distance.
The Wilmington Dam is an extremely convenient spot to refuel after a great day of fishing. Directly across the road, you can find Fratelli’s Pizza Restaurant and Bar II. Fratelli’s offers more than just pizza, however, with lunch and dinner options, daily specials, and plenty of the cold drinks you're looking for. What’s more, Fratelli’s uses farm-to-table ingredients that are fresh, local, and delicious.
Covered Bridge and 20 Main
How about some history mixed in with your fishing adventure? If that is what you’re looking for, then head to the historic covered bridge in Jay, NY! The Jay Covered Bridge was named as one of I LOVE NY’s 13 Enchanting Covered Bridges in New York. The covered bridge is a unique spot to fish the Ausable River and explore the history of the region. Not only is this a great place to take in some Adirondack history, but it’s also a great place to swim and relax when the weather is warm. If you're still looking for more action after leaving Jay, you will notice access points to the Ausable River on Route 9N on your way to 20 Main in Au Sable Forks.
Now that you’ve made it to Au Sable Forks, the aforementioned 20 Main (it's on Main Street, hence the name) offers you a traditional pub and bar experience. Every weekend, 20 Main offers some form of live entertainment for free and it's a fun way to cap off your day.
East Branch of the Ausable River and Rudy’s Scar Bar and Grille
If you’re looking to try your luck in the East Branch of the Ausable River, then make your way to Upper Jay. Between Keene and Upper Jay, Route 9N offers numerous public access spots to the east branch of the river. This section of the river holds populations of brown and rainbow trout and is wide and wadable.
Bonus spot: if you’re looking for a secluded pond to fish, Clements Pond offers a moderate hike to a relaxing fishing spot that’s stocked with brook trout. The parking area is one mile east of the junction of NY 9N along Styles Brook Road. The trailhead parking area is on the right. There is a DEC sign at the parking area.
To finish your fishing adventure in Upper Jay head down Springfield Road to Rudy’s Scar Bar and Grille in Wilmington. Rudy’s offers an eclectic and varied menu as well as a full bar. Rudy’s also has live music from local artists and outdoor seating when the weather is nice to create some awesome atmosphere to finish your day on the water.
More fun to be had
It's true, the fishing here is incredible, but there's more to do than just fish. After you had your fun on the water and added to your collection of fish stories the fun is just getting started. There's plenty to do, places to stay, places to eat, and things to see in the Whiteface Region. Plan your trip today and get ready to reel in the good times.