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Posts Tagged ‘brook trout’

A couple weekends ago my friend Jamie and I took our annual trip up to the Adirondacks and stay at the Hungry Trout Resort. I have wrote a few reviews on The Hungry Trout and they are all still spot on. If you are looking to fish the West Branch of the Ausable River it is the only place to stay in my mind. They will help you in every way they can to get on the fish.

I always say if you want to catch a trout on the Ausable go to the Hungry Trout Fly Shop and buy what they tell you is working. This year was no different. Even with 7 boxes of flies in my vest I took their recommendation and added a few more flies. As we hit the river the first afternoon trying out a spot we had never fished before I wasn’t so sure about the fly I had tied on. In the back of my mind I thought this thing is huge and is never going to work but they had suggested it so I was going to fish it. After quickly fishing one section I moved up stream and was surprised by a large brown trout that smashed that big fly only seconds after it landed in the water. I was no longer doubting the recommendation.

Over all our trip this year was very good. We avoided a lot of bad weather that hit around us. The one thing this years trip lacked was fish numbers. The ones we caught were nice fat trout but we just didn’t catch as many as we normally do. This left me wondering why and bothered me for a few days until I took the time to play out the 3 days over in my head. This is something I normally do when fishing isn’t what I thought it should have been. I want to figure out if it was just fishing or was there something I did wrong.

In this case I think it was both but more to my fault. When we arrived we took the advice from the fly shop and headed out to the river. Our goal this year was to fish some new spots rather than just going to the same spots we always fish so that was what we did this first night. The first mistake made was fishing too quickly. Many of my home water streams are smaller and only hold a fish or two per spot. This being said it is normal for me to hook or move a fish in a spot then move on if nothing happens in the next couple casts. On days when the fishing is really good on the Ausable this is fine as you will find fish that want to bite in every spot. When the fishing is slow you need to slow down change flies and fish each spot hard. I also need to remember that there is likely 20 or 30 fish in that deep hole not the 1 or 2 that would be in the shallow spot back home. Even given our rushed approach we managed to land a few fish and see a few more. Then mistake number two happened.

Since having kids I don’t do a lot of drinking. I don’t have a lot of time for one and for two I don’t want to feel like crap the next day. That being said the first night in the bar I proceeded to suck down 12 or so beers leading to a not so pleasant next morning. Not getting up as early as planned was OK because we were going to check out some more new water that took some hiking to get to. This was a beautiful stretch of water that I am sure held some very nice fish. I can’t wait to get back and fish it again with a clear head and a full stomach. We zeroed on this stretch of water and quit early due to wanting breakfast. Lesson learned. After breakfast that day we stopped by one of our regular spots and were shocked to see no one was in it. We then proceeded to put a hurting on a bunch of chubby brown trout which made us feel a little better about the morning. That evening I made the same mistake as the first evening and just fished too fast but found a couple fish to play.

We learned some new spots and a couple new techniques. One that was very cool and I am looking forward to doing again next year. Overall it was a great trip and in review I learned even more than I thought I did. The fish might have kicked our ass this year but we will be back for them next year if not sooner.

Again if you want to spend some time on the Ausable River give The Hungry Trout a call. Between great lodging, a fully stocked fly shop, excellent guides, and a Bar/Restaurant on site you can’t beat the place.

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Everyone has different levels of experience and abilities.  There is no getting around that. When planning an outdoor adventure you need to remember this and be honest about it.  You also need to remember you might not be as good as you once were.  This is true for many aspects of your trip.

When you set up a trip with a guide they may ask you questions trying to judge your abilities. Based on the answers you give them they then plan out said trip.  This is why honesty is important.  Any good guide is going to have a plan b and probably a plan c. However, if you weren’t honest on the phone plan b and c might not be any better than the original plan.

This is especially important if your trip includes fishing back country out of the way waters and you have to hike to get to them.  You might have had no problem hiking for miles fishing in your younger or lighter years.  If those days have gone by and you don’t have time to get back into shape be honest. Tell your guide if you have trouble getting around or if you have knee problems.  Ask them if they can still put you on fish with out long walks to the water. If you don’t you may arrive and quickly find out you are not up for what the guide has planned.

This recently happened to me. I was told by a gentleman that him and his sons were used to hiking 3 to 6 miles in search of wild trout.  They wanted to fish somewhat remote areas where they wouldn’t see many people if any at all.  I was excited to book this trip as it is one of my favorites.  I started planning months before they trip and had 4 streams mapped out for the two days they would be fishing with me.  One of these streams required some bushwacking as there are no worn down trails and the other included a half mile walk from the truck followed by multiple waterfall climbs.  After fishing these two spots on day one I knew that my plans for day two were out the window and it was time to scramble and come up with a plan d.

The original stream for day two involved a few miles of step grade and big boulders.  This left me scratching my head as I needed easy walking wilderness fishing.  As you probably already know those don’t go together that often.  I scraped together a plan and we did our best on day 2 actually landing the biggest wild brook trout and wild brown trout of the weekend.  At the end of the day I was left feeling like two of my four guests weren’t happy with the results of the day.  I don’t like that feeling at all and of course went home and tried to figure out what I could have done different.

The answer was nothing. If had taken them any where that was easier walking it would have involved stocked fish and/or an urban environment.  Two things they didn’t want. In the end given correct knowledge of their ability I could have planned out the days a bit different as to not beat them up so much on the first day. I could have also explained ahead of time that I could put them on some big fish with easy walking on day two but we would be fishing in the middle of town. If they were honest with themselves that might have been alright with the idea.

Here is a list of some of things you should be upfront about when talking to your guide before the trip.

  1. What time you are willing to get out of bed. – Many guides want to be on the water before sun up.
  2. Your physical ability – Can you hike all day or would a boat be a better option.
  3. Your fishing ability – Don’t say you can cast an indicator rig 70 feet unless you can. This will come out very quickly.  A good guide will put you within your casting range of the fish.
  4. What you are expecting to catch. Make sure your expectations align with what the guide is planning to fish for. If you want 20 inch wild brook trout in a small stream it’s probably not going to happen.
  5. Any food allergies. Especially if the guide is providing food.

 

Just be honest with yourself and your guide. It will make for a much more enjoyable trip.

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It has been almost a month since Jamie and I went on a guided fishing trip with the one and only Matthew Delorenzo. Matt works for the Hungry Trout Resort and took us on their Brook Trout Adventure to their  private Twin Ponds area. I had been wanting to do this trip for 20 years and this year I decided was going to be the year.

We requested Matt as our guide because after following him on Facebook for a couple of years I thought his personality would fit us well. I was right. He is a great guy and a lot of fun to fish with. He has great knowledge of the waters and the fish as well. An added bonus is his expert loon call.

It was going to be a bright clear hot day so we needed to start early and met Matt at 5 am. It was far from ideal trout fishing weather. He drove us to the ponds where we put the canoe in and he explain what our strategy for the day would be. In true Adirondack fashion we would be trolling streamers on sinking line. I was excited as I have always wanted to troll for brook trout and I have always wanted to catch a big brook trout.

We did exactly that. Our second fish of the day was a 5 pound monster that Jamie landed. It was also the only fish he landed but he wasn’t complaining. I landed 8 catching a nice 3 pounder as my last fish of the day. I had caught the biggest brook trout of my life 3 times that day. It was awesome each time a bigger one came to the net.

If you want to catch big brook trout but don’t have the time or the gear to hike back to a remote pond you need to book this trip. It doesn’t get any better. The ponds are in the middle of no where but you will be taken to them by vehicle. You will most likely leave catching the biggest brook trout of your life. It is well worth the money spent. Jamie and I have already booked our trip for next year with Matt. Next year he will be stuck with us for 3 days.

I don’t normally endorse other guides but in this case Matt is not direct competition even though we both guide in New York State.  We guide different waters and even if he did also guide on the Salmon River in would still have written the same review.

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Yesterday I learned a lesson that I already knew.  When fishing a new water you never really know what you are going to catch or in my case break off. It could be a species you didn’t know exist in the new water or it could be a fish much larger that expected.

I left work and headed to check out some thin blue lines I had located on Google maps running through public land not far from my house. Living in the area for 29 years I had never been down this road but the Google Street view looked like one or more of these small streams might hold trout. I knew they would at least hold chubs and fall fish so there would be some action. The first stream was a dead end as it was very shallow and was only about 3 feet wide. The second stream looked much better.

I pulled to the side of the road where it was obvious others had parked before me. From the truck I could tell I was going to be making a few casts so I grabbed my St . Croix 8 foot 4 weight and my vest from the back of the truck. I climbed down onto the culvert pipe that dumped water into a nice wide pool. Watching for a couple minutes I noticed a few bugs coming off the water but nothing rising. I decided to tie on my go to size 12 elk hair caddis.

As my first cast landed on the water I purposely piled fly line in front of me allowing the fly to drift straight away from me drag free. The fly drifted the length of the pool untouched so I started to strip it back to me. As the fly started to move upstream what I believe to be a very large brown trout attacked the flie on the surface coming partially out of the water. Now is where the problem starts.

For the last 6 months I have been fishing steelhead with 10 to 13 foot float rods. When the float drops you reach for the sky fast and as hard as you can. I always tell clients you can’t set hard enough. You have a lot of line out and a long very flexible rod all of which you have to transfer the hook setting power though. I had not given thought to the fact that I needed to remind myself that was no longer the case.

I had thought about tying on a new leader or at least new tippet but I didn’t. After all I was only expecting to catch 6 to 8 inch chubs or if I was lucky brook trout of the same size. That leader from last summer would surely hold up to those little fish.

As the fish I estimate to be between 1 to 2 pounds attacked my fly I slammed that hook home. The rod bent just long enough to feel the weight of the fish as the tippet broke and my heart sank. All of my mistakes ran though my head immediately. I knew better. I retied and began casting again even though I knew that fish still had my fly stuck in it’s mouth and wasn’t going to bite again.

I did manage 2 fall fish in my next dozen or so casts. I kept trying to convince myself it was a big fall fish and wasn’t a big deal it broke off. The problem was and still is I saw too much of the fish. It was definitely a trout.

There was some good that came from this day. I now have a new spot to fish that is close enough to fish when  I only have a couple hours. I also will never forget when trying new water you never know what you may catch. Always prepare for the best or the worst depending on how you look at it.

If you haven’t already, change the line or leaders before you head out with gear you haven’t used in a while. 

Today i went to another stream I hadn’t been to in many years but I know is full of rainbow trout.  I was prepared this time for a big fish but unfortunately only found little ones.  That was okay though. In about an hour I landed 5 fish and missed or lost more.

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First off I would like to say good luck to all of those headed out for opening day tomorrow. As I write this I am sure on some streams there are people already lined up waiting for midnight to start casting.

Opening day is a holiday for many. For those that have to work they will most likely spend the day doing their job while secretly planning their attack for Saturday.  I am sure there are some that will even call in sick if they haven’t already.

I am going back to work tomorrow after being out for 3 weeks due to having my gallbladder removed. I know going back to work on opening day is crazy but I have guide trips Saturday, Sunday, and Monday so I needed to be back to work before I can be guiding.  Also there is the fact that my home water, the Salmon River, is open for trout fishing all year. We have been chasing giant rainbow trout, steelhead, all winter long and will continue to do so through April. In fact the bite just started to really get good while I have been out of work and unable to fish so I am really looking forward to this weekend. I do still have a couple dates open but my April is close to being fully booked.

In between working and guiding for steelhead this month I will be organizing my fly vest and tying more flies. Just waiting for May when I will hang up the steelhead gear and start chasing brookies, rainbows, and browns. I have already been following the line blue lines on my topo map and searching for new places to try. There is a beaver pond I have been meaning to hike to for two years now and this is going to be the year I finally do it. I have never been a still water fly fisherman but that is going to change this year.

I am also planning a trip to my favorite trout stream the West Branch of the Ausable river. I introduced my friend Jamie to it last year and he had a blast even though we were only able to fish one evening. This year we are planning a 4 day trip filled with trout and craft beer which happen to be two of my favorite things.

I am looking forward to seeing the Facebook and Instagram posts tomorrow as the mild winter has left most streams in prime condition for the opener.  Even the Tug Hill streams that normally have snow lined banks are in great shape as all the snow has already melted and run off.  Again good luck to everyone that is fishing tomorrow or this weekend.

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