The month of August saw exceptionally good fly
fishing on the West Branch of the AuSable. The first good hatches of Isonychia
Bicolors began hatching the last two weeks of August and the continuing cool nights
kept the water temperatures at an ideal range, in the mid sixties. This resulted
in good hatches and ideal fishing conditions, which are continuing into September.
You can look for excellent hatches of Isonychia for the entire month and right
into October. There are also good hatches of caddis and olives coming off during
the same period along with an abundance of very large Stoneflies that can be fished
both in the nymph stage as well as dry. For best results, fish the riffles, pockets
and faster currents of the streams where the majority of these insects hatch.
The catch and release section of the stream has produced well but its magnetic
attraction to tourists and occasional fly fishing enthusiasts has resulted in
it being greatly overfished. The good side of the equation is that it has lessened
the pressure on the better sections of the river and resulted in some great fishing
opportunities for those more adventurous fishermen who donÕt mind walking a little
and exploring the more remote sections of the stream. The best fly fishing water
on the West Branch is downstream of the village of Wilmington for a distance of
about two miles, the section of fast water below and above the old AuSable Forks
paper mill dam, and the section of fast pocket water one mile upstream and downstream
of the Whiteface Mountain Ski Center bridge about a mile outside the village of
Wilmington. DonÕt forget to stop at the Adirondack Sport Shop in Wilmington and
pick up a free map of the river listing all the pools.
One great thing about
September fishing (incidentally, itÕs the best month of the season) is you donÕt
need a lot of different patterns. Four patterns that will produce consistently
the entire month are the AuSable Wulff, the Isonychia Bicolor parachute, the dark
dun Haystack pattern and a small parachute olive dun size 16. One other fly I
might recommend is the olive body Usual. This is another pattern that I originated
about twenty years ago that has proven extremely effective over the entire season
and especially so when the small olives are coming off.
Once more a reminder
that September is by far the best month of fly fishing on the AuSable as well
as the other Adirondack streams. The trout are fattening up for the winter. TheyÕre
full of fire and feed readily as the water temperatures cool more to their liking.
Add to this the beauty of the region in the fall and the fact that there are far
fewer people on the stream and you have the ultimate in fly fishing conditions.
For up to the minute information on the hatches and stream conditions, call
the Fishing Hot Line number at (518) 946-2605. AUGUST
FLY FISHING UPDATE
last week of July has seen some exceptional fly fishing on the West Branch of
the AuSable. Although the stream has been low, nighttime temperatures have been
in the forties and low fifties, keeping the water temperature around the mid sixties.
As a result, there are some good hatches of early morning Caddis and very good
late evening hatches of caddis as well as lots of large Stoneflies that the fish
so readily rise to. There is some excellent morning fishing from five until around
nine and great evening fishing from about seven til ten. You can expect good hatches
of micro caddis and large Stoneflies (both nymphs and dries) late into the nighttime
hours. It is important that you concentrate your efforts on the fast water sections
of the stream and stay away from the flatter and slower moving water that is less
productive during the hot summer months. When fishing the West Branch, the best
fishing water is from the dam in Wilmington downstream for a distance of about
two miles. Another very good section is that area from the Whiteface Mountain
Ski Center bridge upstream to the High Falls Gorge. This is fast tumbling currents
and produces many large trout during the summer months.
patterns are the AuSable Wulff, the small caddis (sizes 16 and 18) and the large
dry orange Stoneflies (sizes 10 and 12). Another good producer is the small (size
16) beadhead Stoneflies in olive and rust colors.
on in August, look for the Isonychia Bicolors to begin coming off the river during
late afternoon hours. A size 12 dark haystack is a good imitation or a dark dun
parachute to imitate both the swimming nymph and the adult Isonychia.
A brief update on
the Catch and Release area of the stream: The faster sections will continue to
produce but most of these fish present are stressed from over catching and the
number of fishermen who flock to this area. On the plus side, however, that section
draws fishermen and tourists alike and takes the pressure off the better producing
sections of the river. I recommend finding other areas where there are more native
fish and more space between fishermen to pursue your sport.
those wishing up to the minute updates, feel free to call the hot line fishing
number (518) 946-2605. Those visiting the region for the first time, stop in at
the Adirondack Sport Shop and pick up a FREE map of the river and Fran Betters
or his competent staff of instructors and guides will be happy to tell you the
better sections to fish. This service is FREE to all requesting it.
month of June on the West Branch saw spectacular fly fishing with reports of many
fish in the fifteen to twenty-three inch range taken, both on the catch and release
section and the area downstream from the dam in Wilmington. The first week of
July has proven almost as good with hatches of Potamathus (creme variants) and
olives coming off as well as some sporadic hatches of light cahills. Despite some
recent heavy rains, the river level remains fishable and water temperature is
staying below 70 degrees. The fishing is excellent during early morning hours
(5:00 AM until around 9:00 AM) and again during evening hours (7:00 til 9:30 or
10:00). Caddis have proven most effective with the tan caddis (tan body) and the
golden caddis being most effective. Look for these hatches throughout the remainder
of the month as well as some large Stoneflies which will come off during late
evening hours. Golden Stoneflies (dry) in sizes 10 and 12 should produce well
into the month of August.
For those fishing the slower sections of stream (which is not recommended during
this period) use small emerger patterns or small size 16 light olive bead heads.
A bit of advise here. The majority of the larger trout taken during this period
will be in the faster sections of the stream. Fish the currents, pockets and riffles
with caddis, AuSable Wulffs, and haystacks for best results. Best sections of
the river during the last couple weeks of July are the section downstream of the
dam in Wilmington and the section between the Whiteface Mountain Ski Center bridge
and the High Falls gorge. ÊFor those visiting who donÕt have a map of the stream,
stop in at the Adirondack Sport Shop in Wilmington and get a FREE map of the river
with all the pools listed. IÕll be happy to direct you to the better fishing spots.
Either myself or one of my four certified casting instructors will be happy to
give you a free fly casting lesson if needed. DonÕt pass up the fly fishing during
July. It can be most productive on fast moving streams like the West Branch.
Ausable River Update - June
month of June so far has been one of the best ever on the West Branch of the AuSable.
Hatches began coming off the first week in June and have been heavy all month
to date. The Green Drake was a few days late - last year they came off the lower
section of the river the eighth of June and this year, because of the colder temperatures
in May, they didn't appear on the lower section until the 12th. They moved upstream
at their usual rate of about a 1000 yards a day and at this writing (June 25)
there are still some spinners coming down late on the upper section of the stream
in the Wilmington notch. This coming week, light Cahills are starting to come
off below the dam and there are good hatches of light sulphurston notch. This
coming week, light Cahills are starting to come off below the dam and there are
good hatches of light sulphurs as well as some olive duns.
The hot producing flies this week are the light olive Usuals, the creme Caddis
and creme Haystacks been producing well. For the more adventurous fisherman or
woman not wishing the crowds, the sections of stream downstream of the Dam in
Wilmington offers the best chance for a trophy fish or native fish. Lots of large
trout in these fast water pools andtied on size 14 hooks. The Ausable Wulff is
still accounting for the majority of the big fish on both the AuSable and the
Saranac rivers. The rivers have been heavily stocked this year with two and three
year old fish ranging from 12 to 18 inches and there have been some phenomenal
"catch and release" section of the river, despite the over abundance of fishermen,
there have been some phenomenal catches. The Potamathus (large Creme Variant)
will be the next big hatch and can appear any time now. A large creme variant
or creme haystack in sizes 12 or 10 is the answer when this happens.
When visiting the
area for the first time, the West Branch Fishing club is holding FREE Barbecues
and Fly-Casting Clinics on Saturday afternoon. You are welcome to attend or just
stop in a the Adirondack Sport Shop in Wilmington and Fran will be happy to give
you a free map of the river listing all the pools as wt the Adirondack Sport Shop
in Wilmington and Fran will be happy to give you a free map of the river listing
all the pools as well are also invited to watch a custom fly rod in the making
at his shop and get a free casting lesson.
any questions on hatches or if you just want stream information or tying instructions
on a certain pattern, you an call the Fishing Hot line Number at (518) 946-2605.
Fran will be happy to assist you. Watch Fran tie one of his famous AuSable Wulffs,
Haystacks or the Usual. These flies were originated here in the Adirondacks by
Fran and continue to be the top producing flies on the river. He is in his shop
seven days a week most of the time until eleven or twelve in the evening, working
on custom rods and tying flies.
FLY FISHING UPDATE
- Fran Betters
FLY FISHING UPDATE
month of May in the Adirondacks was one of the coldest on record. There was literally
no dry fly action on the river until the very last week. The Hendrickson hatches
that normally arrive the end of the first week in May did not appear until the
third week. Although the dry fly fishing was nonexistent most of the month, bead
heads were the predominant takers of trout during this period. During one ten
day period in the middle of May, I tied 1,000 beadheads and sold all of them in
my shop. Lots of nice trout were taken but the poor quality of fishing during
the month can be viewed as good news for those visiting the river in June.
The first week of June saw good hatches of Hendrickson still on the river and
as of this writing (June 8th) the March Browns are beginning to come off and some
excellent fly fishing is taking place right now. Lots of trout from 12 to 18 inches
were taken this past weekend. The most productive flies were and still are the
AuSable Wulff, the Haystacks in sizes 12 and 14, and the Usual in sizes 14 and
16. You can expect the Green Drake hatch to come off within the next couple of
days. Last year, it appeared on the sixth, seventh and eighth with the Coffin
spinners returning a few days later. By the tenth or twelve , we should have some
very good hatches of Green drakes. The most productive imitation of the Dun Drake
is a large size 10 or 12 Haystack tied with a light olive body. The best imitation
for the spinner or coffin fly is a large Haystack with a white body or the old
Bergman Coffin fly. I usually tie and sell around four or five hundred of these
during the week to ten days that the Drake is on the river. Remember all of you
visiting the river that the fly first emerges on the lower section of the stream
and gradually makes its way upstream, giving the fly fishermen lots of water and
time to fish the hatch. Many large trout are taken in the late evening hours by
the fisherman who is wise enough to stay on the river into darkness. Those who
leave the stream early will miss the large spinner fall and the rises of the larger
After the Green Drake hatch, you will find good hatches of olives,
grey foxes and lots of caddis to give excellent dry fly fishing during the entire
month. June is the month of prolific fly hatches - the time for catching that
A little advise here. Since the introduction of the five mile
catch and release section, it has been inundated with scores of new fishermen.
There are lots of stocked fish in that section but also wall to wall fishermen.
If you want a chance to catch a trophy fish or native fish, I suggest the section
downstream of the dam in Wilmington or the Bush section from AuSable Forks upstream
for a distance of about five miles. Also the section below the old paper mill
dam in AuSable Forks is an excellent choice to catch the early hatches. Feel free
to stop in the Adirondack Sport Shop and get a FREE map of the river, which will
show all the pools. I'll be more than happy to direct you to the best fishing
spots. For those of you who tie your own, tie up lots of Haystack patterns, AuSable
Wulff patterns, Usuals and AuSable Caddis. If you need these flies, I carry an
adequate selection (over 100,000 flies in stock) and gear my tying to those patterns
that are coming off the water.
Right now, the fishing is great and I expect
this June to be one of the best ever. There are lots of large trout in the river
and the hatches should be better than ever this year. Hot line number to call
for up to the minute information is (518) 946-2605.
Branch of the AuSable River is in excellent condition for opening season. The
first hatches of Hendrickson should be coming off around the eighth to the tenth
of May and good hatches of caddis all month. Perhaps some early March Browns near
the end of May and also some Light Cahills. Best patterns to fish for the entire
month are the gray Hendricksons in sizes 12 and 14 and gray caddis in 14 and 16.
Your most consistent fly patterns for the early part of May will be the AuSable
Wulff in sizes 12 and 14, Hendrickson emergers and Hendrickson deadheads. Bead
head patterns in sizes 12 and 14 produce well before the trout start hitting dries.
The AuSable Caddis is deadly the entire month (probably the best all around
pattern to use the entire month and actually throughout the entire season.) Best
sizes are 14 and 16. The Catch & Release section (five miles) draws fishermen
like a magnet to this area so if you want more privacy, the best sections to fish
are downstream of the dam in Wilmington. Keep in mind that the early hatches come
off downstream first and then work their way upstream.
While in the area, stop
at my shop and get directions for the best fishing spot for the time you are here
and the most appropriate patterns to use for that period.
A new series of small
bead head patterns developed especially for the Catch & Release area have proven
especially productive last season. Stop in and pick up a couple of these patterns
to insure a more enjoyable and productive trip.
The consensus of opinion among
many of the old timers who have fished the AuSable for many years is that the
last year was the best year of fishing on the river they have seen in the past
twenty. Lots of big trout were caught and released so this year should be a banner
year as well.