I recently spent a vacation with my girlfriend in the Adirondacks in New York. We were fortunate to experience great weather, views and river flows all week. The water was at Spring levels and in the low sixties on the West Branch of the Ausable, which is where I spent a few hours fishing each day. The West Branch of the Ausable River reminded me a lot of the Savage and the North Branch Rivers with endless rapids, chutes and pocket water areas. The first few days I tested the water with snow shoe rabbit winged dries, which have a storied history on these waters. After numerous rainbows and wild browns in the typical size range you catch on the Gunpowder, I switched to lots of weight and large nymphs. The river rocks were covered with shucks from stoneflies and isonychia nymphs, in sizes #10-12. In my most exciting hour of the week I hooked and lost three huge browns; a seventeen, eighteen and twenty two inch brown. Once I got dialed in on hot patterns, I was catching a lot of eight to thirteen inch browns and rainbows. I barely scratched the surface after exploring different access points over the week, and didn’t see another angler until my last day of the trip.
Aside from the fishing, there was a lot to see and do in the Lake Placid, Ausable Forks and Wilmington areas. Numerous waterfalls along the Ausable were great for pictures and Whiteface Mountain offered serious views of the mountains. Days could be spent hiking on well traveled trails leading to deep glacial “ponds,” which harbor huge brook trout, browns, rainbows, steelhead, and landlocked salmon. The region is less than 200 miles from the Canadian border, and offered a pristine experience and endless places to explore. The fishing in this part of the state is totally underated.