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Ausable River Report 6/1-6/5


New member
Good Morning Ladies, Gentlemen, and fish molesters,

ON Sunday I returned from a 5 day trip to the West Branch of the Ausable River with my pops and good friends. Many fish were brought to hand, quite a few HOGS, and of course, hundreds of the 8-12'' 'Ausable Specials." This is going to be a long report so either set it aside for a later date when time allows, or grab a cup 'o' joe and enjoy!

I left Boston on Wednesday at 2am and met up with m father and friends at Exit 9 on the northway...Tired and drowsy, we added one to the convoy and continued on our way...By the time we reach exit 30, 6am was as dark at 10pm, and it began to rain, and rain hard. The lighting between the mountain tops was spectacular and rivaled any firework show I have ever seen.

Being that the Ausable was PLAGUED with copious amounts of precipitation over the last 2 months, rain was the last thing we need ont his trip, that was 'fo sho'...As we pulled off 9N at the Stewarts in Keene to quench the thirst of the vehicles, the skies again opened up. The East Branch looks PERFECT, (a few rocks were out of the water in jay that we have been using as an indicator for the last 11 years) so we knew this rain only started NOW, and didn't dump on this impoundment the night before. THANK GOD!

We arrived at our cabin at the Wilderness Inn II, Beechwood, at 630am to unload our cargo, which consisted of just grip and a few snacks. One of our buddies packed as if armaggedon was a few hours away, so while he removed the 78 zip ties and rachet straps from his (4) tupperwares on his tow behind cargo rack, the rest of us rigged up the rods and tied on our "go to flies" for the Ausable...

We made our way to Holiday Lodge for breakfast and again reunited with our favorite waitress :) She knew our drink orders and for the most part, what we wanted for breakfast. Once we scarfed down the Philly Omelletes, coffee, and a glass of Cranberry Juice, we made our way down to the lower West Branch. With the water still running at 2,000+, we knew the theme of the day would be "banks, fish banks"...

Fortunately, since the lower west branch (particularly within a mile from the confluence) does not experience the elevation change that of the middle (bush country) and upper WB, despite the water flow, it was perfectly manageable. We were able to reach those middle pockets that were not even attainable with a 14' Spey rod 2 weeks prior during the 2-Fly weekend...

We all quickly began to hook up. Fish were EVERYWHERE! All the normal beadheads and streamers were taking fish after fish!!! We continued our trek by foot up the lower WB, plucking fish out of every pocket...Some fish caught were some FAT browns. Beautiful! Some pockets revealed only one fish, while a lot of them held up to a dozen willing participants!

We fished for the day on this section, when we had to call it quits for dinner. We made our way to Lake Placid (as Paul at the Wilderness is closed on Wednesdays) to the Howard Johnson...If your planning on going on a long hike or over night trip where food is limited, I reccomend you visit this establishment prior. You will load up on your WEEKLY caloric and fat intake in one meal...Before your body starts eating its own fat if you happen to be hiking and lack food, it will FEAST on the surplus of fried shrimp, mac and cheese, and chips and salsa before hand that you consumed there! The salad lacked freshness and crunch as well...Fishing all day, this was fine, however for a nice dinner out in Lake Placid, I would avoid this place...

With WINDS HOWLING like mad, we left dinner knowing dry fly fishing tonight would be non existant. However, we made our way to one of your favorite dry fly spots ont he WB, the Monument Section. As we left our vehicles, the black flies swarmed us like a school of piranas, biting with no remorse....Fortunately, it was getting late anyway and most of us needed to see a man about a horse, we with a dozen bites already, we hoped int he truck and headed back to the cabin. Here, we watched TV, exchanged flies, shot the shit, and contructed/repaired our leaders/tippet for the following day...As the paint peeled off the both bathroom walls and our fly rods rigged up, we headed to bed.

UP at 6am to be the first ones to breakafast. Again, we had a wonderful breakfast as USUAL...We squared up and made our way NORTH, to the St Regis. This morning, Evan Bottcher, one of Hungry Trout's guides tagged along with us! He, as well as us, were all excited to hit the Regis. It is our annual THursdya trip...Just a change of scenery and a day to catch fish on a new impoundment.

The Regis was CRANKING, so out came the 250gr streamer express!!!!! Making our way out to our favorite pockets was IMPOSSIBLE, so we fished the banks...A few fish were had right at the campground. Nothing like it NORMALLY is, but fish nonetheless...THe water was ALSO bathub water...at 68 degrees ALREADY(god damn St Regis 11 mile conoe area and top release dam), it is only a matter of days before it is unfishable. You know its warm when the fish are WARM tot he touch and smallies landed exceeded the number of trout landed. Despite the high water and warm water temps, Evan managed to bring to hand a BEAUTIFUL HOG from the second set of Falls below the campground...It was on one of his own streamer creations too...Perfect way to end the morning at the Regis.... Due to the unfavorable fising conditions here, we then made our way to the Saranac...

With the Saranac river lying within a HUGE watershed, this river comes up fast and goes down SLOW...Our favorite spot, the Sam T bridge, was home to 4 foot breakers through the center of the pool...Again, we made our way to the banks and swung streamers...Tons of small trout were had. Nothing even exceeding the 13-14'' mark, but fish nonetheless...We normally are able to coax some 16''+ browns to thand with olive matukas here, however we knew as we appraoched the river, this was not going to be the case.

Smallmouth and Perch were caught as well..Again, this river was warming very fast...We left here at 230ish and made our way back to the lower WB for a few casts before dinner..A few nice fish were landed in the few minutes we had...We dropped Evan off at home and then made our way to the Wilderness for dinner... Beef burgundy tickled our fancies as well as the apple pie...The staff here is ALWAYS friendly and welcoming, its jsut a great place!!! THey gave us our lunches for Friday and morning vouchers, and we were on our way... We went to whiteface after dinner...All you need to know here is over 80 fish were landed here EASILY, some really nice browns too..EVERY POCKET had multiple fish...It was just UNREAL!!!!! I also lost my SIMMS hat over the falls due to the high wind....DOH!

Again breakfast the the Holiday lodge was great as well as the friendliness of the staff! We left breakfast and made ourt way to the Monument...I first crossed and fished from the side accross fromthe road... Since the last 2 floods, the road side of the monument changed drastically. Some spots NO more pools, and some spots new pools emerged...With the opposite side reminaing deep and somewhat the same, I employed a streamer through both pools...I proceeded to land 8 fish..Some pushing the 16-17'' mark... Once i exhaust both pools, i made my way up to my dad and his buddy, where they were fishing his favorite spot (first bend baove monument)...He calls it Matuka Bend...The olive matuka NEVER fails him here, and it sure didn't that morning...4 BIG fish came to hand swinging a matuke down and across...ZINGGGGGGGGGGG!

We then left and put in at lower basset flats (beginning of the notch)... We were surprised by the lack of fish here...With only a dozen and a half fish landed in a 300 yard stretch, it was a bit strange...SOem fish pushing 12''...lol At the middle part oft he notch, where the hikers cross the river on the rope, our buddy Sam landed a MASSIVE MASSIVE brown...exceed 19'', the rainbow warrior was repsonsible for taking this brute...The lower notch, which was fish byt he other half of the group, revealed many more fish....Ryan landed another massive fish, an 18'' rainbow..A beautiful fish...We concluded fishing this section with lunch. We made our way to Nancys, (the hungry trout fly shop)...We walked in and were warmly welcomed as usual and scarfed up some of our favorite flies we were running out of...We also ran into my former high school teacher, dave pede!!! He was up, as well as us, for the Trout Unlimited week...We all were staying at the Wilderness..We shot the sheet with nancy for a while, and then made our way down to the Flume parking lot.... Myself, as well as the other 2 youngest dudes opted to walk ALL the way up to whiteface and work our way down..My dad and his 2 buddies opted to fish the hungry trout side, and wlak up halfway...

Well, we got to "lower whiteface/head waters of the hungry trout waters" and began to fish..Right way we all hooked up...NICE browns...THEN, it wa slights out...We found a whole that was aboslutelty LOADEDDDDD with fish...NO JOKE, we landed over 65 fish, out of a 10X15 pocket...I could not believe it...ONce we got all the little guys out of the way, the big boys came out to feed...We got quite a few fish exceed the 15" mark, with 2 or 3 approaching and exceed 18''....It was AWESOME!!! once Sam gets me the underwater video, I will post it....It was awesome!!!

Needless to say, we never made it far, so we called my dad and just had him pick us up at the whiteface lot...Easier than walking ALL the way down the river...As for him and his buddies, they absolutely crushed them...VERY few fish under 15-16''...All fish were SLOBS...BIG BIG browns...By the time they were almost at the flume lot byt he trucks, they had an audience of blood thirsty spin fishermen trailing them...Thats what you get when you start hoot'n and hollering! You attract unwanted attention!!! Oh well, it was dinner time anyway!!!!

Seafood platter was the theme of dinner, as well as the delicious salad bar...After dinner, we quickly shedded unwanted weight at the cabin, and then made our way to the monument for some dry fly action...FINALLLLLLLY, the wind died down, and we were able to take fish on dries...March browns did the trick...As it got dark, a few of us gathered at the gard-rail, while my dad and sam still satyed in the water just above the falls...We were yelling, "set now", "ok, good cast, SET!"...It was awesome!!! However, with no winds, the black flies were out lurking..Fortunately, nancy as BLACK FY SPRAY, called ZOFF....the stiff in incredible and WORKS GREAT!!! Seems thatt he regular "off" attracted the darn things...ZOFF kept them at bay!

Saturday morning we made our way to the lower nothc, jsut above high falls gorge...3 of us fished down, and 3 fishe dup to the notch...Some nice fish right at that bend were had, with Ryan taking the cake on that... After that, with not many fish caught, we made our way to the LOWER wb , much lower than previously fished...Fished started out slow, but as we makde our way further upstream, it picked up and it was hisotry after that...Everyone landed 20+ fish EASILY, with another 10 to 20 long line released!!!! It was unbelieveable...We also took to hand some AWESOME browns....Beautiful colors...Some even had RED fins...Just beautiful fish... We concluded the day with swinging streamers behindf the bus depot, landing a few more, giving another fly fisherman some tips and flies, and headed to dinner!

PRIME RIB BABY!!!!! It was cooked to perfection and absolutely delicious!!!! We then made our way to the covered bridge...OH LORD...Over 100 fish were taken on a combination of dries and nymphs...Absolutely rediculous...(see pics of fish in water)...the pool under the bridge was literally stacked waist deep with fish...Needless to say, it was a HOOT! With thie surplus of fish, also came the surplus of MEAT HUTNERS>..4 guys were there as we got there, and kept everything they caught...grrrrrrrrrrrrr...oh well, not sense on jumping on that soap box now...

Sunday morning, we had our final breakfast at the Holiday Lodge..A sad morning it was as we exchanged hugs with Nancy and the waitress...We promied we would be back next year!!! I cant wait...

We headed back down to the spot were we endeded up the day before, lower wb, and wet a line for a few hours before we left...MORE fish, within the same section, came to hand...A few bice ones as well..2 actually snapped me clean off...ZINGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG...DOH! I was even running 8lb!!!! Oh well!!! We finished up the morning with over 40 fish landed between 6 of us...We departed at 11am... Another year in the books

Just wanted to take the time to thank Paul at the Wilderness for making our stay warm as always...The staff is great and very welcoming...We look forward to coming back every year!!! Nancy at the Hungry Trout is awesome!!!!!!! Having known her for a few years, she is a very kind person and is always willing to help out her "boys" from New Jersey...VERY accomodating and its always a sad time as we make that left across from her shop to head home...See you at the Somerset Show Nancy!!!! Also, thank you for calling the DEC on those two canadians who kept returning to their hotel to dro off their creel an come back for me...Im hoping they got bagged!!!!

And thank you to Holiday lodge and the AWESOME waitress (sorry, we never got your name)!! We can't wait to come back next year!!!!! Thank you again, -your boyz from Jersey...

There ya go guys...Now, i will warn you, there are a lot of pics. ..But I like them all :) So, deal with it...haha Enjoy the pics guys!!! Thanks for reading!!!!!




















































































There aren't many WILD fish..the small brookies shown are the only wild fish....Many wonder why the ausable is SO special, afterall, 99% of fish are STOCKED fish...I guess its the scenery that keeps people coming back for more...

Thanks for the replies guys!!!

I was using my 5 wt...Never broke out the 4wt...I will post a pic of it though on another impoundment from last week