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Trout Power 2016 at Sagamore

2016 Trout Power Creel Study at Great Camp Sagamore

South Inlet Revival: An Adirondack Comeback Story from Freeflow Motionworks on Vimeo.

It’s an Adirondack comeback story.

If a tree falls in the Adirondacks and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound? We don't know the answer to that great existential question; what we do know is that, if it’s spring in the Adirondacks and the black flies are out, brook trout are biting, even if no one is there to catch them. Let’s change that!

This Father's Day weekend, join us at Great Camp Saga-more for a conservation creel study, fly-fishing event. The weekend will run from Thursday-Sunday, and feature folk music from some of the region’s best musicians, a nature slide show by Eric Dresser and craft beer, courtesy of the Adirondack Pub & Brewery in Lake George.  JP Ross Fly Rods and Trout Power will be leading the event this year, as we explore over 10 miles of rarely fished waters in search of wild brook trout.

Twenty years ago, the South Inlet watershed of Raquette Lake suffered from high acidity caused by acid rain, leaving few aquatic bugs and even fewer trout. Recently, however, this otherwise pristine ecosystem has begun to rebound, and offers the potential to be one of the great Adirondack comeback stories of all time.

During the last decade of the 19th century, Dr. Arpad Gerster chronicled the region’s once-great fishery in his now-classic “Notes Collected in the Adirondacks.” Today, thanks to the gradual reduction of acid rain, the water-shed is showing signs of natural renewal. To help document this revival, we’re looking for conservation-minded anglers to spend a long weekend at Sagamore, helping us to document this recovery. This program offers the opportunity to learn about the history of the camp and the region, to mingle with like-minded (that is, crazed) fly fishermen and women who love wild fish, and to explore this great and important wilderness area.  We need your help!

Of course, this wonderful four-day weekend does come with a few strings (or at least a little fishing line) attached;

By participating as a member of Trout Power 2016, you will be asked to catch, document and release your catch for this inaugural creel study. In conjunction with the New York State Museum, Trout Power and Trout Unlimited, we will be following special protocols to sample and photo-graph the fish we catch, and then let them go. Part of our goal is an effort to determine if real heritage-strain brook trout are in these waters, so we need to be calculating and scientific. JP Ross will teach you the methods that we’ll be using as you sign up for the sections of river that you will discover and document.

for more info on the data collection and why we are doing this..  read here. 

Do some fish grow bigger in certain sections of the water-shed? Do some fish look different in others? That’s what we hope to find out, and your efforts will provide the answers. In fact, that’s what a creel study is all about. Rather that catch and kill these beloved fish, the idea is to catch and release your “trophies” after documenting them in your Trout Power Note Book.

Beyond this “work,” though, you’ll have a chance to rest, relax, and enjoy a nice meal and some evening activities, all of which are included. The program starts with arrival at Sagamore on Thursday evening in time for dinner. Fish all day Friday and Saturday after a group breakfast (we’ll offer the chance to pack lunches for those who will be far out of camp), then rendezvous back at camp at the end of the day to upload your data and see how others did. Afterwards, relax and chat with colleagues over a cold Adirondack Brewery beer, then sit back and enjoy some real live folk music, or a slide show of amazing nature photos, presented by world-renowned photographer, Eric Dresser. Really, does life get any better than that?

Cost for the event is $475/person, and includes all meals and lodging from Thursday night through Sunday morning, along with all of the evening activities. Thanks to our sponsors, we’re also tossing in two complimentary glasses of beer or wine per night. Space is limited; sign up now!

For information and booking Email:
Phone:  315-354-5311 X21

more info at



Trout Power 2016 at Great Camp Sagamore in Raquette Lake, NY, in the Adirondack Mountains.
Trout power is an initiative created and trademarked by JP Ross & Company LLC.

Weekend Schedule:

Thursday, June 16
4:00 -- Check-in
5:00 -- Optional guided Tour of Camp
6:30 -- Dinner
7:45 -- Program session overview and protocols

Friday, June 17
8:00 -- Hearty Lumberjack Breakfast
9:00 -- Protocol Review
9:30 -- Report to Assigned Locations or Beats
11:30 -- Report back and check in results (Optional)
12:00 -- Lunch in dining hall or optional pack out
1:00 – Report Assigned Locations
3:30 -- Report back and check in results.
5:00 -- Happy Hour; 2 complimentary drinks (beer or wine) per eligible guest
6:30 -- Dinner
7:30 -- Eric Dresser nature photography

Saturday, June 18
8:00 -- ADK Guide’s Breakfast
9:00 -- Report to locations
12:00 -- Lunch in dining hall or optional pack out
1:00 – Report to locations
3:30 -- Report Back and check in results
5:00 -- Happy Hour; 2 complimentary drinks per guest
6:30 -- Dinner
7:30 -- Concert with Sagamore’s Folk Musicians

Sunday, June 19, Father’s Day
8:00 -- Breakfast
9:00 -- Review of data and collective discussion
10:00 -- Following discussion, depart camp

For information and booking Email:
Phone: Before May 9: 315-240-7568 After May 9: 315-354-5311 X21


You should expect…

  • To meet fun people
  • Shuttle service in JP Ross Company Jeeps
  • A dirt road to get to the Great Camp that is probably muddy but easy to navigate
  • Cold beer or non-alcohol beverages
  • Wine and cheese
  • To dress casually every day and all the time
  • Beautiful vistas of Sagamore Lake and the surrounding mountain range
  • Full use of Sagamore canoes and boats
  • Wonderful buffet meals in the historic Dining Hall
  • To hear the dinner bell calling you to meals.
  • To snack on a black fly or two (accidentally of course)
  • To catch fish, but don’t expect a 4-lb state record brook trout.
  • A lake that is becoming more productive and may well hold heritage strain lake trout which are rarely caught.


Suggested Items


  • Bug Dope
  • Optional Bug Net, or BUFF®
  • Waders — we prefer non-felt waders to reduce the risk of spreading “rock snot”. Cleats preferred, as these rocks are round and slippery.
  • Digital Camera with SD card for easy image transfer
  • Back Pack for day use and packing snacks, water and a lunch
  • A whistle
  • We’ll have small notepads, but feel free to bring one

    Notes Collected in the Adirondacks: 1895 & 1896

    Author: Arpad Geyza Gerster Edited by Sidney S. Whelan Jr.
    Hungarian-born Arpad Gerster was a 19th-century Renaissance man, an artist, writer, musician, keen observer of the natural world, early conservationist, pioneer of thoracic surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and the author of Rules of Aseptic and Antiseptic Surgery, the text-book that set the standard in the United States for maintaining a sanitized operating room.

    He was a linguist who spoke six languages and the possessor of consider-able wit, humanity and knowledge, usually untainted by the mawkish sentimentality of the age in which he lived. This memoir of events surrounding the doctor’s hunting and fishing vacations at the family’s Adi-rondack home, Camp Oteetiwi on Big Island in Raquette Lake, provides a fascinating look at camp life here in the late 1800s.  Dr Gerster writes in his books of adventures he had on South Inlet and references the falls at the base of the river many times as being one of his favorite and best fishing holes.

    In his notes he documents camping trips he made, spending many an night alone in a tent as seen above, on the banks of South Inlet on the now known as Carriage Trail which goes from the Sagamore road all the way down the river past the old power station and to the falls in the river.

    Dr. Gerster also mentions of adventures he took to Lost Brook or the headwaters of South Inlet above or upstream of Sagamore Lake. It is this section that is still very wild and very rarely fished at all. It is believed that if there are Heritage Brook Trout left, they may be in this section of river, waiting for you to catch and release them and document their existence.


    The Great Camp Sagamore

    Sagamore Lodge (now Great Camp Sagamore) was built by William West Durant on Sagamore Lake from 1895-1897. Prior to Sagamore, Durant had constructed two other rustic camps: Pine Knot, purchased by Collis P. Huntington and now the Huntington Memorial Outdoor Education Center [3] on nearby Raquette Lake; and Uncas, which was later sold to financier J.P. Morgan on Mohegan Lake. All of Durant’s camps are still in use today, and each is a National Historic Landmark. Two of these camps Sagamore and Uncas —are within the South Inlet watershed that we will be fishing.

    The camp is divided into two separate complexes roughly a half-mile apart: the Upper Camp, or worker's complex, and the Lower Camp, or guest complex. Guests of the Durants (or later, the Vanderbilts) would not have frequented the worker's complex, as the buildings at the Upper complex are much more utilitarian than those in the Guest complex, and without the embellishment of the buildings designed for entertaining. Sagamore served as a sylvan setting in which the richest families in America could relax, entertain and still feel close to nature. All of this, however, was accomplished without having to leave the comforts of civilization behind.

    In 1901, financial difficulties forced Durant to sell Sagamore.[4] The camp was purchased by Alfred G. Vanderbilt, who expanded and improved the property to include flush toilets, a sewer system and hot and cold running water. He later added a hydroelectric plant and an outdoor bowling alley with an ingenious system for retrieving the balls. Other amenities included a tennis court, a croquet lawn, a 100,000 gallon reservoir, and a working farm. Vanderbilt died in 1915, a victim of the Lusitania sinking, leaving Sagamore to his widow Margaret Emerson, an avid sportswoman who continued to occupy the camp seasonally for many years.

    In 1955, Mrs. Emerson transferred the property to Syracuse University, which operated the camp as a conference center until New York State offered to buy the estate. Acquisition by the State would have required demolition of the historic buildings, because of the "Forever Wild" provision of the New York State Constitution. To avert this, the Preservation League of New York State arranged with the State to take title, transferring the property with deed restrictions to a not-for-profit institution that would provide suitable occupancy. Camp Sagamore has continued to function as a conference and education center ever since.


    Anyone who doesn’t like black flies clearly doesn’t like to catch big brook trout...

    Late May/early June is the peak of black fly season in the Adirondacks, and the intensity and aggressiveness of the swarms of these small, dark-colored biting bugs varies greatly from one location to another and from one year to the next. Yet, although campers, canoeists and hikers tend to despise these pesky vermin, birders and fly fisherman in the know tend to hope that there are flies aplenty, since these swarms are basically meat on the wing for migrating birds and of course, trout.

    Also known as buffalo gnats, black flies form a group of true flies that are recognized by their small size, dark color, and arched back. Like many other flies in this category, the adult black fly depends on nectar and other sweetened flu-ids for the bulk of its nourishment. Only after the female mates and her eggs become fertilized does she require specific proteins contained in the blood of a mammal or bird. After a single meal of warm blood, these nutrients are absorbed and distributed to her developing eggs.
    There are several dozen species of black flies in the Adirondacks, and each prefers to target different hosts at this time of year. Most strongly favor various species of mammals rather than birds, as birds tend to eat black flies. A few species of black flies are known to parasitize only a single type of host, however many investigate any larger, living entity that they detect even though they may opt to refrain from biting after crawling around on the creature’s skin for a brief period of time. Occasionally, a person outside will have numerous black flies buzzing around his/her head without landing, or biting. These individuals are likely black flies looking for a blood meal from another larger mammal, rather than from a human.

    Researchers have discovered that the female black fly initially relies on its eyesight to locate a potential host. Be-cause of this, the black fly is active during the day, unlike other insects like mosquitoes that are primarily nocturnal.

    Several hours after sunrise and an hour or two be-fore sunset are especially favorable to this small and delicate creature as the air is usually more humid during this period when the sun is close to the horizon. Overcast days and times when a mass of muggy air has settled over the region are other occasions when black flies are active throughout the day. As soon as the air becomes warm and dry, dehydration can seriously impact this small fly. Hiking during the heat of the day when the relative humidity drops to under 30% is the ideal time when black fly season is at its peak.
    Courtesy of Adirondack Almanac: Tom Kalinowski

    It’s a cup of tea

    Weathered rocks and soils, the land-use activity and the type of trees and plants growing within the watershed will influence the types and amount of dissolved and suspend-ed material found in a lake or stream. Color may also be affected by the concentration of natural dissolved organic acids such as tannins and lignins, which give water a tea color. These are formed when plant material is slowly bro-ken down by organisms into very small particles that are dissolved into water. Tannins that are yellow to black in color are the most abundant kind found in lakes and streams and can have a great influence on water color. Lakes that are surrounded by coniferous forests (evergreens such as pine, spruce, hemlock and fir trees) are generally brown in color because pine needles that fall to the ground are very slow to degrade. This is also true of lakes surrounded by wetlands, where plants decompose very slowly. Naturally occurring organic compounds such as tannins and lignins, derived from the decomposition of plant and animal matter, can give surface water and groundwater a tea-like yellow-brown hue, as well as a musty smell, is known for its "root beer" color.

    The brown coloring comes from tannins leaching into runoff water from tree roots and decaying vegetation. This coloration is common, and can be observed in places like swamps or stagnant ponds. A person can produce it by placing some leaves in a bucket of water and letting it set for a few weeks.

    Fish of the same species often change their coloring based on their environment. For example: brook trout caught in a clear lake may look more silver than brook trout caught in the waters around Sagamore. The dark tannin-infused, tea-stained water causes adaptations in trout toward deep dark and very vibrant colors, so they do not stand out to prey like mink, osprey, or other species. Many anglers find that fish caught in environments like this are prettier than fish caught in crystal clear water, due to their natural adaptations.


    It’s Science:

    We’ll be collaborating with the New York State Museum, supplying genetic samples (in the form of fin clips) for a study on the population genetics of wild brook trout in New York. Our efforts will help the State to determine the an-cestry of the brook trout in this watershed, which in turn will help to inform management and potential protection for the current population. It’s an important tasking we taking on.


    Eric Dresser

     With over 40 years of experience in the field, Eric Dresser has developed many strategies for getting up close and personal with his wildlife subjects. His love and passion for our natural world can truly be seen in his photographs. Eric is an internationally published photographer who specializes in wildlife and landscape photography from the northeastern United States and Canada. His magazine credits include Adirondack Life, National Wildlife, The Nature Conservancy, Birds and Blooms, NY Conservationist, Ontario Out of Doors, US Forest Service, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, L.L. Bean Catalogues and many more. His photos have appeared in magazines and books in Germany, France, Wales and Italy. Eric is also a staff instructor for the Adirondack Photography Institute and teaches individual photo workshops on his property west of Camden, NY.

    Eric's first book "Adirondack Wildlife" became available in 2009. Eric describes his work thusly:

    "Capturing photos of wildlife and wild places has been a passion of mine for the past 30 years. . . . I hope that [my] pictures will inspire an appreciation of nature in others. Our wilderness and wildlife need to be pre-served, for they are the true barometer of our own future."

    Whether you are an aspiring photographer or a wildlife observer, you are sure


    Angles of attack… flies for the Adirondacks.
    Excerpts from the book Adirondack Flies by JP Ross

    Adirondack Caddis: This fly is really nothing more than an Elk Hair Caddis with an Adirondack twist. The first time I saw a fly like this was in my fly shop. A gentleman who taught me a lot about fly fishing had a fly very similar to this. He called it the “West Canada Caddis.” I actually have found added success by taking this fly a little further with its colors. Fran Betters, a famous Adirondack fly tyer, used to tie all his flies with hot orange. It is important that this is not fluorescent orange, or hot pink, it is hot orange.


    The Royal Wulff and White Wulff: No book about the Adirondacks and its flies would be worthy of mentioning without the Royal Wulff. Although the Wulff Series of flies was de-signed by Lee Wulff in the Catskills, he made these flies for fishing in Canada and in heavy water. The Adirondack region is filled with free-stone streams with large boulders and glacial erratics; and so the bushy Royal Wulff and White Wulff can easily tame its white water. However, don’t be fooled. The Wulff is just as effective underwater as it is on top of it. My friends and I have named a few techniques after the Royal Wulff - the “drag back” and the “skate back.” Both are done by drawing the fly back to you after a drift, clearly not imitating any normal action of a dry fly, but yielding high amounts of fish to the net nonetheless. I also include the White Wulff simply because of its visibility against the dark tea stained waters of the Adirondacks. Seeing your fly is half the reason you think it’s effective.


    The Muddler:  The Muddler Minnow is one of the oldest documented flies in history. The original muddler minnow tied in Europe has an enormous head and is extremely untamed and untrimmed. Funny how the fly did not really become civilized until it came to the Americas where it was trimmed to the bullet head that is now so recognizable.

    The Muddler Minnow can be tied in many ways. It can be weighted with a lead wire underbody and fished as a streamer. It can be greased and fished almost like a bass popper too. It also can be tied with a cone head and fished like a sculpin or deep streamer.

    The Marabou Muddler is a variation of the traditional muddler. The traditional muddler has a turkey wing.


    Olive and Chartreuse Soft Hackle:There is a special tributary to Raquette Lake that I try to fish every spring. It holds very large brook trout for its size and I always find myself amazed how many fish per area it can hold. On a nice, hot spring day, you might swear that you can actually hear the alders and the willows budding. On that day, a green stone fly will hatch. It’s bright green with clear wings. It is this fly and this time of year that made me design this fly. Usually the brook trout just nip or do their usual thing and make a seasoned angler wonder if his hook point is missing or even broke off because of the mis-sets and short hits. I knew I needed to design a fly that looked like a drowned green bug. I also needed a fly I could swing, because that usu-ally ensures a good hook set. The olive soft hackle and other variations of color have taken many large brook trout and large smallmouth in the Adirondacks.

     to book the event please call Great Camp Sagamore...

    For information and booking Email:
    Phone:  315-354-5311 X21

    more info at