Best Adirondack Fly Patterns – Sirloin & Ausable Ugly

Hi there. My name is Andrew Ilnicki and I’m a good friend of Wayne’s, aka Papa Bear. I’m going to be guest writing some of his Bear Treks with a slightly different perspective in mind… fly fishing.

While the ol’ master doesn’t claim to be much of a fly fisherman, many friends  in his circle with whom he fishes have taken up the practice and art of fly fishing long ago.  It’s no secret that Rich Garfield ( is the featured guide for the Adirondack Retreats property, with good reason.  He is perhaps the finest fly fishing guide in the Adirondacks, certainly one of the most well known in the area.  So with that, I’m going to begin a new segment here on Papa Bear’s Outdoors that covers the best fly patterns to use when fishing the Adirondack Region of northern New York.  Acknowledging his impressive reputation and accomplishments using his own custom tied nymphs and streamers, we’ll begin with Rich Garfield’s infamous Sirloin and Ausable Ugly.

The Sirloin

The Sirloin is an effective all-purpose bait fish imitation that begins to undulate as soon as it hits the water.  I first purchased one of these killer streamers nearly a decade ago from a fly shop right in the town of Wilmington.

Garfiled says of this ridiculously effective streamer:

[I] often go to this pattern in the early season, high water, late season… and when I am confident that there is a large fish holding and not taking any other presentation… I often will refer to a #2 Sirloin as the “Decision Maker”.

The last time I fished Papa Bear’s fabulous stretch of water on “the secret stream” it had just rained for the first time in weeks.  The river rose considerably and the fish had gone from a state of actively feeding to extremely tentative.  The Sirloin was one of the only patterns that would get these huge wild browns to move.  One tactic I used to tempt these fish off their boulders was to rip the fly quickly in front of them on successive casts, then on the third cast I’d sort of dead drift the streamer over where I knew the trout were laying… sometimes with a slight twitch of the rod tip. Just as Rich said above — they’d finally make their decision.

To learn more about the Sirloin streamer pattern, view photos of fish caught, and to purchase some of your own – visit Rich Garfield’s website at

The Ausable Ugly

Like the Sirloin, I’ve had this infamous pattern stocked in my box for over a decade.  Garfield can often be seen in his videos with nothing BUT Uglies in his fly box.  He’s that confident in its prowess.

Garfiled says of this all purpose nymph:

The Ausable Ugly is a fish catching pattern representing many forms of aquatic life when fished in differing presentation methods….dead drifted, quartered downstream and retrieved across, twitched upstream and many more presentation methods.

One of the best characteristics of the Ugly, like so many recognized classic nymph patterns — is that it doesn’t represent any one kind of aquatic life, yet it represents SO MANY different kinds of patterns all season long.  Tie on a #8 Ausable Ugly in practically any situation at any time of the year, and you’ll see action. Check this video out for proof.

Again, to learn more about the Ausable Ugly fly pattern, view photos of fish caught, and to purchase some of your own – visit Rich Garfield’s website at

Next week — I’ll have another update with some of my other personal favorite searching patterns for the great rivers and streams of the Adirondack Mountains of northern New York.

Tight lines!

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