: Hike-in fly fishing
10-08-2007, 06:21 AM
I just reread Rich Osthoff's 'Fly Fishing in Rocky Mountain Backcountry' and have a yen to try something similar. A couple questions pop-up:
Does anybody have a favorite hike-in destination in new England? I've done the Oswegatchie - Five Ponds area (canoe upstream and hike), Megalloway, Parmechene lake tribs (day hikes from camp), Allagash and St John's (canoe). It'd be fun to hear of another route, preferably with a 15+ mile hike-only access into fishable waters.
How viable is the fishery Osthoff talks about nowadays? The book is 10 years old, and much might have changed. Has anyone done a hike-in trip to the Winds or any of the regions he talks about?
Thanks in advance.
10-08-2007, 08:50 AM
Not New England, but just across from New England's West Coast (Lake Champlain) you have the High Peaks region in the Adirondack Park. Perhaps 6? hr drive from Woods Hole. I used to hike into Avalanche Pond and Colden Pond as well as some high beaver flowages. The acid rain really clobbered some of the higher ponds, but I've heard second hand that the reclamation has gone well in some. AI would think a float tube would be your best bet. In the same area you have the Saranac River and the West Branch of the Ausable. You should PM Jim M. , he lives just south of there.
10-18-2007, 03:04 PM
also inspired by Osthoff's book. awesome info in there despite not being necessarily up to date. alot of the high lakes up here go through cycles, a small fish turn to big fish, possibly spawn, overpopulate, back to lots of small fish. some lakes have no natural spawning and some experience fish kills. all these factors plus some tight lips make info difficult to find. but its worth doing some research.
Ive done 5-6 trips into the Winds to fish various areas and can attest to the current health of the trout fishing there. probably my favorite fishing. hike in w/ all your gear and food. choose an area w/ a cluster of lakes and streams and just spend ur days exploring there are many fish and some very large ones. go as long as possible. my longest has been 5 days, not nearly long enough. good luck
10-31-2007, 12:59 PM
I spent about a decade dedicated to the study of still water backcountry ponds in the ADK's and Maine. The ADKs have some exceptional brook trout ponds. I tend to stay away from the high peaks region though. There is quite a bit more traffic there then other parts of the ADK's. The acid rain had two impacts. On the western ADKs they killed quite a few ponds and many remain too acidic for trout to this day. However many have come back. The other impact is that those that did come back and had invasive species issues have been reclaimed via the acid rain (funny thing is that the state calls it natural reclaimation), stocked with native strains and are now brook trout only ponds. The state also reclaims many of the ponds in NY and restocks them with native strains. Brook trout only ponds offer by and far the best trout fishing IMHO, especially if you flyfish. The pond needs at least 3 years to bring the fish to at least 12 inches. You may not catch as big a fish in them as those with shinners and such but you will catch nice fish 12"-16" and many many more. Float tube is a must if you intend to flyfish. You have the option of trail walking or bushwhacking. Bushwhacking you will go about 1MPH as opposed to 3MPH on a trial in the NE. The NE woods are much thicker then out west. I find NE backcountry adventures to be very different then out west.
11-06-2007, 11:27 AM
Me and a friend have read and reread Osthoff's book and he is "the real deal" as he glossed himself in the book. We hiked in and did the St. Joe's river in Idaho near the Idaho/Montana border about three years ago, which he details in a chapter in his book. Unbelievable backcountry area by the way. He notes in the book that he went in the late 1980's-early 1990's, and it was our experience that trip that the average was about 2" smaller than he was talking about, and we didn't crack 18", where he talks about a few 20" fish. This was in four days of hard fishing. I've always wondered about his book becoming dated, but this is the only example I've found so far, and I've now fished a bunch of the locations he outlines in the book. For the most part, his info is honest and spot on.
I have spent some extensive time in the Winds, averaging 7-8 days a year for the past 16 years. My friend and I spent some time poring over 7:5 topo maps for the Winds and thought we had finally figured out a "secret" string of golden trout lakes he details, but does not give the location in his book (about page 100 I think). My freind ordered some flies from Osthoff and got him talking and he admitted to us that we were right. He was very explicit in requesting that we don't make it "public knowledge" so I apologize if I can't lay it out here.
We went there that summer (2005) and it was awesome!! One of the hardest hikes (28 miles and three separate drops/gains of over 1,500 feet) I have ever been on but the camping and fishing were spectacular. By far my best Winds trip to date. Caught some beautiful goldens and saw some bigger ones cruising about 20 feet beyond my casting range. There's a string of three lakes with a long outlet stream and several waterfalls, and we caught goldens all over. Our base camp was on a larger cutthroat lake right at the inlet about 50 feet down from a large waterfall, and we caught more 14"-18" cutts sight fishing than I care to try to remember. I guess my point is that Osthoff's info is straightforward, generally accurate and if your willing to do some homework and exploring, there are some gems to be found in that book. He definitely peppers his writing with "clues".
The Winds in general is probably among the finest hike in fishing destinations in the U.S. I have spent time in plenty of back country/backpack areas all over Idaho, Washington, Utah, Montana and Wyoming and I always find myself dreaming about the Winds. Pretty much no matter where you put in, the first days hike is absolutely brutal. There is just not an easy way in. The other days are no picnic either, but I think the sheer remoteness and difficulty in hiking in cleans alot of the "tourists" out. The horse outfitters are known to gouge everyone in sight and are more pricey than other areas. That's cheating anyway right?? The lakes are deep, enough bugs are present, the water is crystal clean and the fish are healthy. Most of the lakes on the west side are relatively open in terms of vegetation along the shores, and walking along the bank with a hopper and sight fishing to cruisers during the summer has been my norm. For whatever reason (wind probably), the east side lakes generally have trees right down to the shore, and finding an isolated rock or casting corridor can be difficult.
Anyway, sorry for the book. I just love the Winds and obviously think highly of them. If anyone is serious (not just looking for general info) about planning a trip, I would be happy to help with general tips or planning on where to put in and what kind of gear to take. Just give me an email or a PM. Please don't ask about the golden lakes - that information is there for you to discover. Good luck. Josko, I owe you one so let me know when you are serious about the Winds and you are ready to go and I will hook you up with all the info you need.
12-21-2007, 11:18 AM
'Geordie' check your PM.
12-30-2007, 02:50 PM
Sorry I am a bit late on responding to your request for info. Its been a busy Christmas season. I live in southwestern NH and have done some hike-in fishing in the White Mts. You might want to start with Steven Smith's, "Ponds and Lakes of the White Mts" published by Back Country Publications. You can find cheap used copies on Amazon. It is written with both hikers and anglers in mind. It includes detailed maps, size and elevation of the pond, and clear descriptions for each destination. It even rates the difficulty of each hike. I have fished Lonesome Lake, Kinsman Pond, Black Pond, and Shoal Pond and a few others. It is also worthwhile to hike the Franconia Brooks trail. It is a relatively flat terrain surrounded by 4000' +peaks. Once you get past Franconia Falls (and the crowds it attacts) you will find several miles of fishable water all the way to 13 falls tent site where you can spend the night. There is nothing too big to catch maybe 12 - 16 inches at the most, but you will be in some incredible backwoods country. Some of the ponds are not easy to fish with all the vegetation surrounding them. For many you will need a float tube. I did not have one so it limited my ability to catch. I am sure if I could've got out farther I would have had more success. The state stocks some of the more remote ponds, but they keep that info quiet. If you don't feel like doing much hiking, the Swift River which follows the kacamagus Hwy or the upper Saco both have some nice stretches where you can find your own
private pool. Good luck!
01-08-2008, 12:23 PM
Oswegatchie/5ponds is a nice trip... and the Adirondaks offer a lot of options as well but I've had mixed success and seems to be a lot of variance year to year. My favorite hike in brook trout fishing is in the Tunk Mtn. area of Maine and Downeast Maine in general. There are hundreds/thousands of oppt'ys to drive down endless logging roads and then hike into remote ponds, lakes, and streams.