February 2011

The Real Survivor Island

WOW!!!! I fished in an impromptu ice fishing derby yesterday at Long Pond near Smithville Flats, NY yesterday and I have to say that was the most incredible weather I have ever fished in. The average wind speed was 40-50 mph with gusts to 60-70! Not near but complete white out conditions at most times and near at all times. My friend skip was using his Fish Trap, Voyager model, ice fishing shelter and I have to tell you I was more than impressed that it survived intact over 8 hours in those conditions. My fish trap is a little older and a little tattered, so I thought I would just use and test a ice sled, with a fold out wind break built into, that I have been prototyping. The little sled worked flawlessly and made an incredible difference when you were behind it but the holes were filling in so fast with snow that  it was nearly  impossible to jig. There were four of us and we huddled up in Skips sheltered and worked about 8 tip ups. 3 fish were caught, two pickerel and one nice bass about 3 pounds. All day I thought of how the troops at Valley Forge or on Admiral Perry’s expedition felt as we hunkered in. Several times I thought that we had reached escape velocity. To summarize, we were border line insane to be out there but years of experience and good equipment allowed us to fish in relative comfort. All my inventions I have been working on in the ice fishing related field worked perfectly under what I consider the ultimate in  rigorous  test conditions and was the real reason that I fished in this arctic nightmare. The only thing we were missing yesterday was a visit from a Polar Bear or Penguin and I thought I saw a Yeti but it turned out to be a member of  another group that was fishing nearby. I am now working on getting my inventions manufactured and available for your purchase via my website and in stores for next season. Fish hard, fish often and don’t fish in what we did yesterday.

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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 (www.flyfishtheadirondacks.com) 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 www.flyfishtheadirondacks.com

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 www.flyfishtheadirondacks.com

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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I have been involved in college classes a lot recently(Rodney Dangerfield) and time on the ice has been suffering. I have missed nothing according to my scouts. The reports coming in from a hundred miles of the river are not good with the walleyes being few and far between. Just my one friend in his secret honey hole is catching fish but he catches them when I am next to him with the same lure and bait. The ice is so thick that it will probably be here till June. I am starting to think trout fishing but it may be July before the ice is gone up there. Did get a report of a big northern, 40 inches, nice fish for the river. Never give up.

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There are fish being caught!!!

Even though I my friend Mark and I have been a tough time catching fish it doesn’t mean that fish are not around. I have another friend reporting in that 6 miles down river he is limiting out every morning. He is fishing a place he found and that is a bit of a struggle to get to but he has it all too himself as a result. He has invited me me to fish with him but my vehicle is highly visible and recognizable and as a result I don’t want to have his honey hole exposed. It goes to show you though that with some leg work new spots not fished by others can be found. Fish hard!!!!

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