Trout Camp and Breakfast Beers

The Adirondack Mountains encompass about 5,000 square miles with over 3,000 bodies of water and 1,200 plus miles of river. These mountains, rivers, lakes, ponds and streams are some of the most amazing places on earth and this story takes place in them.

I’m currently working on tying flies, searching maps, and hitting Google for research on my upcoming canoe fishing trip in the Adirondack Mountains. This leads me to thinking of past trips and adventures.

Every year, Memorial Day weekend finds me in the same slice of Adirondack heaven. It’s a short drive from my house. I start down the road where it’s paved, houses line the streets and people are about their business. The drive (a very familiar one) always seems to lift the spirits. First it’s the sight of Woodies, a place that every local knows to get camp wood. You see the Adirondack Park sign. Shortly after it’s a turn down a well-worn road. You start to see the mountains and you can feel a great lift off your shoulders. You become more in tune with your surroundings, every mile down the road. The first bridge with North Creek flowing gets your mind thinking of the trout that you’re chasing this weekend.

As the drive continues around the base of Oregon Mountain you can feel the excitement building. Then as you drive across the river and hit the dirt road it’s at that moment that you are now where you want to be. A slow drive down the meandering road along the river has you wondering what campsite you will take this time. It’s an amazing place, free roadside camping and all the black flies you could ever want. This little gem tucked in the Southern Adirondacks with its abundant water is full of life, yet removed from the rest of the world.

It’s at this point without fail I start day dreaming of brook trout (salvelinus fontinalis). Will they be hitting dry flys? Will this be a streamer trip? I start to wonder should I be nymphing, decisions. Reality sets in as you cross Brayhouse brook and see an open campsite. It’s here that my family and friends have come to know as “our spot”. We try for this camp spot every Memorial Day and more often than not we get it. This year we changed it up and moved over to the main river.

I’m very systematic about getting camp set up. Without fail I start with setting up the camp kitchen and move on from there. The last thing I set up is my hammock. Hammock camping is my preferred method of camping. Now, don’t get me wrong a tent has its place but a hammock is just so much more comfortable.

With camp set, it becomes time to string up the fly rod and get out on the water. The action of stringing a fly rod in itself is a necessity to fish. But, during this act you find a place that your imagination takes over and that 20 inch trout comes to life.  That evening the water is alive and bugs are out in full force. These small 4-6 inch brookies are hitting anything that hits the water and for a brief moment the rest of the world melts away. As with anything in life there is a price for this amazing dry fly action. Our friends the black flies are here to say hello. One must assume that when the Adirondacks were created the gods thought it would a great way to keep people away. Let’s give them black flies so that, they don’t abuse this great wilderness. I’m pretty sure that’s the conversation that was had. It’s one of those nights where you realize it’s not dark yet, it’s just all the flies surrounding you; looking to take your soul back to the deep woods. Ah, the good life, wild trout, camp and a million black flies.

This first night I spent alone. Many friends and family would join me over the course of the next few days but tonight was mine. As the sun faded and night took over, the camp fire gave me companionship and a way to let go of civilization for a while.

The morning brought friends and some stream exploring. I was given the opportunity to showcase this slice of the ADK to a good friend and His son, who had never been to this section of the park before. We kicked rocks in the stream to see what lived in its depths. Then we took some doors off a jeep and rode the dirt to tour the wilderness in style. I also got a new rod the “Rock Hopper” to test out.

Showing someone a place that’s steeped in your traditions & in your lifestyle takes you back to where it all began and what it’s all about. This gives you a youthfulness that we look for every time we are on the water. After a little tour some fishing and deep conversation, it was time to say goodbye.

The evening brought some time by the river and some pondering about life and of course fishing. More friends showed up to camp, eat and fish.

The morning sun came and it was time for coffee. I was first up and cooked up some bacon and eggs that turned into breakfast sandwiches. You notice at camp, food always tastes better. What we will never know, is it the cook, the food, the fire or just being at camp?

With the canoes loaded we headed down the dirt road to find the flat water of the river. The river with all its splendor, pulls you back in time before cars and the hustle of today’s world and once again you’re lost in the wilderness.

This river’s flow takes you to some beaver dams and with my kid like youthfulness I attempt to jump them. Success was had and the paddle continued. Fishing was slow or better put, the fishing was good it was the catching part that was the struggle. After a little paddle we finally came to section of river that just looked fishy. You know the spot; rocks, shade and current. A perfect combination. I got my orange bead head wooly bugger out and cast. I let it troll as we paddled. I let my paddling partner know this is a great spot, we are going to find fish here! (Confidence) No sooner do I say this and my Rock Hopper is bending and I have a fish on!! The excitement gets me going. I let out a “Ya Baby” and the fight was on. Well, for an 11 inch brook trout on a 5 ½ foot rod the fight was on.

As I got this trout to net I was pumped. It was an absolute beautiful 11 inch brook trout a trophy for this river. What better way to celebrate than with a beer. Yes, it was 9:30 am, and I was celebrating an 11 inch trout with a breakfast beer. In the words of a friend of mine we will call Mike, “You can’t drink all day if you don’t start in the morning”.  I can’t make this stuff up. A quick picture of this natural work of art and we continue on our way.

The day continued; we made it up stream and more fish were brought to net. We paddled and enjoyed a few more beers. The weekend continued more people came to camp and more fish were caught but it was that one fish that lives most in my memory of that weekend. It was that one fish that made the weekend a success, or maybe it was the people?

Weeks have past and as I sit in the office I can’t help but think of the next adventure, reminiscing of days past.  I can hear it, the mountains are calling. With that it’s time to get out and fish!!



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